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A Palette of Particles Hardcover – March 11, 2013
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Few will resist [Bernstein's] accounts of the history, flamboyant geniuses (many of whom he knew personally), and basics of protons, neutrons and electrons that make up the familiar world. (Kirkus Reviews 2013-01-01)
Casting subatomic particles across a metaphorical painter's palette, Bernstein blends science, history, and anecdote (including his own work on staff at Harvard University and Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study) to reveal the lively, often bewildering world of particle physics...Bernstein is an unabashed romantic, fondly recalling the tabletop experiments of the mid-20th century (he's worked in the field for more than 50 years). Later discoveries, especially the Higgs--coaxed to visibility with powerful accelerators and computer analysis--remain, in the author's estimation, coldly 'abstract.' For Bernstein and for readers, the true wonder lies in how each discovery reveals yet another mystery. (Publishers Weekly 2012-12-17)
[Bernstein] pares away most of [the mathematical] complexities, thereby allowing general readers to share in the excitement of epoch-making science without shouldering the burden of rigorous analysis. Not merely lucid, Bernstein's exposition is refreshingly human, sprinkled with anecdotes revealing the piquant personalities of pioneering scientists including Einstein, Pauli, and Gell-Mann. A must-read for armchair physicists. (Bryce Christensen Booklist (starred review) 2013-02-15)
Physicist Jeremy Bernstein pays homage to the subatomic, tinting particles according to era of discovery. So electrons, neutrons and neutrinos are assigned primary colors; the muons through to quarks, secondary colors; and the Higgs boson, neutrino cosmology and squarks, tachyons and the graviton, pastels. The abstractions come alive as Bernstein meshes history and science with anecdotes on everyone from Murray Gell-Mann to Richard Feynman. A colorful chronicle backed by 50 years in the field. (Nature 2013-03-01)
The real appeal of A Palette of Particles...[is] Bernstein's infectious love not only for the mysteries of physics but also for the minds behind the magic. The stories and photos of physicists in action--especially that of Wolfgang Pauli and Niels Bohr, two venerable fathers of physics, bent over to watch the spinning of a child's top--bring physics to life in a way that equations simply can't. (Mary Mann Bookslut 2013-03-01)
[Bernstein] brings to this popular history of particle physics the advantage of having been around when some of that history was being made. Bernstein, now in his 80s, knew Wolfgang Pauli, who hypothesized the existence of the neutrino in 1930, a quarter-century before it could be confirmed...Bernstein covers the material in a sprightly manner, with only the occasional equation that will reveal the beauty of it all to the reader who can grasp it...It turns out that Bernstein's sober and lucid introduction to particle physics has an almost mystical quality, even if the author shows no interest in that kind of cosmic thinking. (Scott McLemee Inside Higher Ed 2013-02-27)
Overall, it is a pleasant, short read, and a reminder of the past century-and-a-half crusade at the forefront of modem physics.
(A. M. Saperstein Choice 2013-08-01)
Top Customer Reviews
Avoiding mathematics, the account is always interesting and anecdotal.
There is a useful set of appendices including an account of the modern investigative tools used, and what could lie ahead in particle physics,
A great buy at Amazon's low price.
good book! i recommend it to anyone looking to educate themselves and have a good read.
Definitely worth the buy
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A quick tour of the subatomic particles. Does not go short of the details though. It gives quick introductions to spin, color, charge, and other properties which allowed for the... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Hendrick Mcdonald
A well written treatise on a complex subject for the average reader, with only a basic understanding of particle physics. Read morePublished on January 6, 2014 by kenneth drew
I was hoping for a discussion of subatomic particles that would help make the world of particle physics more accessible to a general but interested reader. Read morePublished on January 1, 2014 by Joel Austin
This is a well written book. It is not easy to follow since it is presenting complex material. The author does this with a minimum of math. Read morePublished on August 10, 2013 by James Weichel