Book: Gordon Kane 1 Jan 1994

The Particle Garden

Our Universe as Understood by Particle Physicists

The clearest survey of particle physics, including the theory, its experimental foundations, its relations to cosmology and astrophysics, and its future.

This nontechnical survey by Kane, professor of physics at the University of Michigan, is an engaging and fast-forward tour through today's looking-glasslike state of particle physics-the physics of subatomic particles: electrons, quarks, photons, bosons and company.

The first five chapters, we are told, require no knowledge of the subject; but for chapters six through 13 (the end), hold on to your hats. The "garden" metaphor in the title is only loosely stitched throughout the text, which is so well presented that popularizing constructions of this kind are unnecessary to keep the reader alongside the author's detailed, necessarily abstruse exposition.

Topics covered include a history of particle physics, the Standard Theory, "grand unification" and beyond and the relation of particle physics to cosmology and astrophysics. These coherent lectures for nonscientists are a pleasure to read and reread for the layers of understanding that contemporary physics requires of the generalist. The hefty glossary is a plus.


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