PARTICLES: An Introduction to Particle Physics by Michael Chester

PARTICLES: An Introduction to Particle Physics

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Unlike Engdahl and Roberson in The Subnuclear Zoo (1977), Chester takes a historical approach to particle physics, beginning with the vague speculations of ancient Greeks and building up to the quark, perhaps the ultimate basic particle, and all its whimsically named sets of properties. Proceeding from one model of submicroscopic reality to another--Rutherford's ""solar system,"" Bohr's fixed orbits with ""jumping"" electrons, Schrodinger's wave mechanics, and so on--Chester leads the reader gently into today's ""bewildering array"" of particles and almost equally bewildering attempts to make sense of them. (Not incidentally, this method also illustrates the necessarily imperfect nature of all models.) By the end, different classifications of particles (hadrons and leptons, bosons and fermions, and others) and the four forces (strong, weak, electromagnetic, and gravitational) are clearly defined, and readers have been introduced to such intriguing notions as ""virtual"" protons that are not ""real,"" electrons moving backwards in time (Feynman's view of a positron), and particles which by definition can never be detected. As any subnuclear model can only hope to approximate reality, any book at this level can only hope to suggest the concepts involved in particle physics. All the better then that we now have two, quite differently organized, introductions.

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 1978
Publisher: Macmillan