Cover image for The particle odyssey : a journey to the heart of the matter
The particle odyssey : a journey to the heart of the matter
Close, F. E.
Personal Author:
New edition.
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
240 pages : illustrations (some color), portraits (some color) ; 30 cm
General Note:
Rev. ed. of: The particle explosion. c1987.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QC793.2 .C58 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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During the 20th century, scientists discovered WHAT the Universe is made of; as the 21st century begins, they are preparing experiments to find out HOW it came to be like this. This great adventure, which will involve a metaphorical journey back in time to within a billionth of a second of the BigBang, is the latest stage in the quest to understand the nature of the matter that makes our Universe and the forces that govern it. The Particle Odyssey takes the reader on a spectacularly illustrated journey to the heart of matter. In clear, non-technical language the authors describe the key experiments and fundamental discoveries which have led to our current understanding of the origins and nature of the material universe. There are individual 'portraits' of all the major subatomic particles, from the electron to the top quark. The authors describe the history of experimental particle physics: its origins in the discovery of X-rays in 1895; the dissection of the atom by Rutherford and others; the unexpectedrevelations of the cosmic rays; the explosion of new particles in the 1950s and 60s; the discovery of quarks and the rise of the 'standard model' in the last part of the 20th century. And they also look at the great challenges that face physicists today - where did antimatter go? what is darkmatter? can there be a theory of everything? - and the experiments they are devising to explore them. The Particle Odyssey brings together and presents with style over 100 of the best images of particle 'events' - mysterious, abstract, often beautiful pictures of the tracks of subatomic particles as they speed, curve, dance, or explode through cloud and bubble chambers, stacks of photographicemulsion, and the giant multi-element detectors of modern experiments. Here are spiralling electrons, the tell-tale 'vees' of strange particles, matter and antimatter born from raw energy, energetic jets of particles spraying out from the decay points of quarks and gluons. A further 250 pictures,many taken specially for this book, illustrate the laboratories, experiments, and personalities of over a century of particle physics.

Author Notes

Professor Frank Close, OBE is a particle physicist and broadcaster. He spent several years working at CERN, home to the largest particle accelerator in the world. He is the author of a number of popular science books, including Too Hot to Handle and Lucifer's Legacy (OUP 2000) Michael Martenis Founder and Director of the Science Photo Library, and author of a number of illustrated books, including The New Astronomy (CUP 2000). Dr Christine Sutton is a physicist and broadcaster, based at Oxford University. She is on the board of the British Association for the Advancement of Science andin 2001 was awarded the European Physical Society's first Outreach Award .

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 The world of particle physics
2 Voyage into the atom
3 The structure of the atom
4 The extraterrestrials
5 The cosmic rain
6 The challenge of the big machines
7 The particle explosion
8 Colliders and image chambers
9 From charm to top
10 The 'whys' of particle physics
11 Futureclash
12 Particles at work
Table of particles
Further reading/acknowledgements
Picture credits