From Publishers Weekly
Aristotle famously wrote that nature abhors a vacuum, but as Oxford physicist Close illustrates in this concise study, that depends on what you mean by a vacuum or a void. Greek and medieval philosophers gave philosophical arguments against the existence of the void, but an artificial vacuum was finally created in 1643 and quickly used to investigate atmospheric pressure. Scientific exploration of a vacuum's properties and applications took off in the 19th century, although ancient ideas like the concept of an ether that pervaded empty space masqueraded as serious science until Einstein explained them away via relativity. Close (Lucifer's Legacy
) is a particle physicist at heart, and he hits his stride as he explains why scientists now don't think a void is really empty at all, but is teeming with particles popping in and out of existence and pervaded by a contemporary version of the ether, called the Higgs field. Close misses opportunities to make this a more rewarding interdisciplinary study that would attract a broader readership, and science buffs will find it redundant with other books in their collections. The moral of Close's book should be, as Nietzsche said, that when you look into the void, it really is looking back at you. 20 b&w illus. (Feb.)
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"It's a nice read for people with little background knowledge"--New Scientist
"Close is a particle physicst at heart, and he hist his stride as he explains why scientists now don't think a void is really empty at all, but is teeming with particles popping in and out of existence and pervaded by contemporary version of the ether, called the Higgs field."--Publishers Weekly
"The Higgs boson remains the missing ingredient of the remarkably successful standard model of particle physics that describes interactions between the sub-nuclear elementary particles to an impressive precision, and The Void
provides an introduction to the underlying concepts. It is nice to think that the explanations may help the physics community share its extraordinary excitement and anticipation with others."--The Times Higher Education Supplement