There are a number of popularizations on this subject on the market, but this is one of the very best. The author, a professor of biophysics at Columbia, achieves just the right degree of simplification to be clear and interesting without the sacrifice of essential material. No attempt is made to cajole the reader into believing that here is the whole story of the atom, but enough of the basic ideas are presented to round out a pretty clear picture, even for the young adult with next to no scientific background. This book does as good a job in its field as the Einstein-Infeld The Evolution of Physics did for the quantum theory and relativity. Professor Hecht must be a topnotch teacher, if one can judge from the clear, logical progression of theory and experimental evidence that he derives from a complex subject.