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60.7 nanoseconds: an infinitesimal instant in the life of a man Paperback – May 28, 2016
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About the Author
Gianfranco D’Anna is a Swiss-Italian physicist and author, living in Bern. In his novels he brings to life the human comedy behind the quest for reliable knowledge, while at the same time conveying his love of science and imagination. His first two books «Il falsario» (Mursia, Milano 2010) and «L’elettrone dimezzato» (Dedalo, Bari 2015) have been translated into German and French. «60.7 nanoseconds» is his third novel.
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Top Customer Reviews
60.7 nanoseconds: an infinitesimal instant in the life of a man (by Gianfranco D’Anna)
This is a very enjoyable book to read. At about 150 pages, it can be read quickly, and the reader can learn a lot about this exciting episode in physics. This book presents how this discovery came to light (no pun intended here with “light”), the many tests they did before “coming out” with the news, the suspense produced then, and how they dealt with various developments afterwards.
Years ago, I did follow some of these news in various web pages devoted to science news; but those presentations were fragmented, using the typical short “sound bytes” used in modern journalism. Also, one “episode” was presented in one news article, and the next “installment” of that story would randomly appear a few days or weeks later, and so on and so forth for months or years. Most people cannot piece together these small episodes published in small snippets here and there, and thus most readers cannot form a coherent picture of what happened in that collaboration. Just some vague blur in the mind, vaguely recalling a few news articles, but likely missing many other news articles on the same discovery.
This book strings together all these fragmented pieces that were accessible to all via various science news and blogs, and weaves a fascinating story connecting these otherwise-disconnected pieces, making everything far more coherent and flowing like a nice story. Of course, the connections are fictitious, but seem to me to be very highly plausible, given how science collaborations operate in the real world. The author is a physicist, like myself, and he is very familiar with the way research works.
This wonderful book could be compared to a house or a building. These need columns and foundations firmly rooted in the ground. This skeleton must be very robust and strong, to keep the structure standing. Of course, the walls connecting these different columns can be configured and placed using various different arrangements, depending on the preference and taste of the designer. This could be seen as the “artistic license” all architects enjoy when designing and placing walls, windows, staircases, etc. Various possible configurations can be created by the architect, but all of these must be built around strong columns and a solid foundation, deeply rooted in facts. Similarly with this book, the artistic connections take advantage of the strong columns rooted in the historical events occurring back then.
Most people might have forgotten many of the facts surrounding this discovery, because the usual presentation in science news web pages is fragmented and somewhat dry. While the warm story in this book becomes very vivid, quite alive, with many human touches, and makes the whole episode far easier to remember and to connect, weaving together the various pieces into a coherent and exciting story.
If you are interested in how science discoveries are made, tested, and eventually disproven, this book will prove to be invaluable. If you are interested in science and scientists, this book will provide a very nice, exciting, and entertaining story, which will be remembered for a long time. These are the memories we carry over the years. This does not happen when I read the many pages on science news on the web, which I tend to forget, because are fragmented, and without the human component which makes the events more memorable.