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The Particle Odyssey: A Journey to the Heart of Matter Hardcover – September 19, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0198504863 ISBN-10: 0198504861

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198504861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198504863
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #970,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Incorporating much new material, this revised version of the authors' The Particle Explosion (1987) details the history of particle physics, expounds the "state of the art" as it now stands, and points to some of the unanswered questions that are now beginning to be addressed. Both Close and Christine Sutton are professional physicists at Oxford University, and Michael Marten is a science photographer and journalist. Their well-written text succeeds in explaining complex scientific concepts for lay readers without oversimplifying them or patronizing the audience. The color illustrations are dazzlingly attractive and complement the text. Captions on the bubble chamber photos are a great help in unraveling the particle interactions shown. This superb explication of fundamental physical science is highly recommended for academic and public libraries.
Jack W. Weigel, Ann Arbor, MI
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

`A brilliant inside view of the frontiers of modern physics and cosmology and the quest for the ultimate building blocks of matter. "The Particle Odyssey" really brings the whole enterprise to life. An impressively comprehensive and readable book.' Ian Stewart, author of "Flatterland" and "What Shape is a Snowflake?"

`In short, The Particle Odyssey is a beautifully illustrated and eminently readable introduction to high-energy physics. It provides and excellent answer, for both the high-energy physicist and the general reader, to the party question that high-energy physicists sometimes find difficult to answer - what is it exactly that you do?' Ken Peach, Nature

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Customer Reviews

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See all 10 customer reviews
The book is thick with information, but is written in an accessible style.
Michael B. Brand
Going back and forth between pure genius, sheer luck and huge investments to gather experimental proof of theoretical projections is a wonderful human journey.
Vincent Carlier
Anyone with even a passing interest in particle physics would do quite well to have this amazing, remarkable book.
S. A. Felton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. Brand on December 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The book is aimed at the intelligent layperson. It would be too basic for a physics professional or even for a physics graduate student. However, it is not basic. Anyone who is not seriously interested in particle physics will quickly bog down and find it boring. For those who are "seriously interested" it will most likely feed their interest. The book is thick with information, but is written in an accessible style. It is roughly 50% text and 50% photos (some full page, most quarter page or smaller), but this is not a coffee table book. The photos support the text and include captions that explain the photo (not merely summarize the text). Throughout the book, the photos demonstrate significant events (eg, Röntgen's first X-ray, the apparatus Chadwick used to discover the neutron, Anderson working with his cloud chamber, Lawrence's first cyclotron) or show portions of the large accelerators or detectors with descriptions of the components pictured.
As the authors state "This book is the story of how a century of discovery and invention has brought us to our modern understanding of the subatomic particles and the nature of the material Universe." Four chapters (3, 5, 7, 9) provide "individual portraits of all the major particles" so far discovered. Chapter 3 covers the basic structure of the atom: electrons, protons, neutrons, and photons. Chapter 5 covers particles discovered in cosmic radiation: positrons, muons, pions, kaons, the lambda, the xi, and the sigma. Chapter 7 covers particles or phenomenon discovered in accelerators: the neutral pion, the neutral cascade, antimatter, resonance, omega-minus, neutrinos, and quarks. Chapter 9 covers the particles discovered in modern accelerators: charmed quarks, tau, bottom quarks, gluons, the W and Z particles, and top quarks.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Felton on December 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I want to write a review of this book because there are only two
other reviews. A book of this quality deserves many reviews to encourage
people to at least look at it.
Particle physics is extremely abstruse, really only for physicists
and people who like knowledge for its own sake. Many particle physicists
do the best they can to explain their subject in "English," but I don't
think that laypeople (incl. myself) can really grasp the subject w/o
going through the rigors of deriving its basics and knowing how
to use its tools, like QED and QCD, etc. (and I don't!).
So personally I may be moving away from studying the subject, but
I'm very glad I came across "The Particle Odyssey." They say a picture
tells a thousand words - truer words could be spoken as concerns the
book. The reader (even the peruser) can learn an incredible amount at
whatever level he/she is at, just by looking at the pictures and reading
the concise descriptions. We see pictures of the founders of modern physics,
their inventions, also great shots of particle accelerators and particle
tracks, and much more. The book would make a superb coffee-table addition.
It could entertain, even blow the minds of people who looked at it, maybe
spark some interest in younger people, and as I said, anyone can learn
something at the same time (perhaps unlike a familar coffee table favorite,
"A Brief History of Time"!).
The text is about as easy to read, given the complicated subject,
as possible, thorough, and enjoyable. Together with the pictures, the
authors cover the subject (and I do feel qualified to say this) more
than thoroughly.
Anyone with even a passing interest in particle physics would do
quite well to have this amazing, remarkable book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alden R. Stradling on September 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The reason I got into physics in the first place was the combined allure of subatomic strangeness and huge machines at the edge of technology and cleverness. This book distills those attractions in beautiful descriptions and stunning photography. If I ever needed reaffirmation in my choice to become a particle physicist, this book would surely do the trick.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on August 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Can you imagine a coffee table picture book on particle physics?

That's what this is, and it's beautiful.

Particle physics began in the 1890's, when the early experiments of Thomson discovered the electron. Things moved slowly, the proton during the teens's. The newtron and several other particles in the 1930's. And that's basically where physics was when I got my physics degree more years ago than I like to remember.

Then beginning in the late 1960's the world of particle physics exploded. There are more than three dozen known particles. New theories about the formation of the universe have come about. What happened at the big bang, what particles existed in the first few nanoseconds? The development of testing machines undreamed of not so many years ago have begun to answer some of these questions.

The title of this book is well chosen. It has been an odyssey. To the outsider, not working in particle physics, it has been mysterious. Newly discovered particles with names like quark, newly discovered attributes like charm, color, and strange have made it impossible to keep abreast of the developments.

Here in one easy to read, beautifully illustrated and rather short book is the whole story laid out in a way that conveys just what you want to know.
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