A layman's textbook on modern physics, theoretical and practical. While some basic knowledge is required of the reader, the authors review the fundamentals, including elementary particles (there are more than electrons, protons, and neutrons now), cosmology, and periodicity, as well as survey recent advancements in the field. A second section examines the effects of radiation on living organisms (Beta rays, DNA, mitosis); here, too, the authors offer a crash course for the nonspecialist. Cosmic rays, neutrons from the soil, nuclear reactors, and the uses of atomic power in such projects as radioisotopes, space travel, and merchant shipping are explored in subsequent chapters. The book is ambitious in scope, but sound and straightforward in its presentation. Yet one suspects the optimism that the authors radiate about nuclear potential; for example, the pitfalls of atomic energy must be more thoroughly scrutinized than the authors have done in their discussion of thermal pollution.