THE SUBNUCLEAR ZOO: New Discoveries in High Energy Physics by Sylvia & Rick Roberson Engdahl

THE SUBNUCLEAR ZOO: New Discoveries in High Energy Physics

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A sort of juvenile Key to the Universe (see Calder, p. 315), pared down and simplified to the point where one begins to question the optimistic tenet that any subject can be treated at any level and, specifically, that a verbal presentation of particle physics can contribute to any sort of meaningful understanding of ""what things are made of."" The authors start off, in fact, with the admission that that fundamental question can't be separated from the question of how things move, and time and again they come up against concepts which ""can be explained only by complex higher mathematics in which equations must be used instead of words."" Even on the verbal level Engdahl and Roberson's explanations are uneven, with very simple matter carefully defined, but only the unelaborated phrase, ""the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium atoms,"" to explain the nuclear reaction taking place on the sun. However, actual misstatements and howlers are deftly avoided-no mean feat in this area. And if this is not science education, in the sense of presenting basic concepts on which further understandings can be built, it does introduce some intriguing concepts (such as antimatter) in an untaxing way that could stimulate further study. Add to that a sort of superficial demystification of currently hot topics (charmed, colored, and flavored quarks) that are likely to be encountered in the daily news.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1977
Publisher: Atheneum