Detective thriller meets astrophysics in this adventure into neutrinos and the scientists who pursue them.
For more than 80 years, brilliant and eccentric scientists around the world have been searching for the incredibly small bits of matter we call neutrinos. Trillions of these ghostly particles pass through our bodies every second, but they are so pathologically shy that neutrino hunters have to use Olympic-size pools deep underground and a gigantic cube of Antarctic ice to catch just a handful. Neutrinos may hold the secrets to the nature of antimatter and what the universe was like just seconds after the big bang, but they are extremely elusive and difficult to pin down - much like the adventurous scientists who doggedly pursue them.
In Neutrino Hunters, renowned astrophysicist and award-winning author Ray Jayawardhana takes us on a thrilling journey into the shadowy world of neutrinos and the colorful lives of those who chase them.
Demystifying particle science along the way, Jayawardhana tells a detectivestory with cosmic implications - interweaving the tales of the irascible Casanova Wolfgang Pauli; the troubled genius Ettore Majorana, who disappeared without a trace; and Bruno Pontecorvo, whose defection to the Soviet Union caused a Cold War ruckus. Ultimately, Jayawardhana reveals just how significant these fast-moving particles are to the world we live in and why the next decade of neutrino hunting will redefine how we think about physics, cosmology, and our lives on Earth.
©2013 Blackstone Audio (P)2013 Ray Jayawardhana
If you are not already in love with the neutrino hunters who are spread all around the globe, trying to understand how matter came into existence, after this book, you will be. You won't be able to help falling in love with:
- The simple way in which Jayawardhana walks you through the science
- The wonderful history he provides of a few scientists (see end of review for his history of Paul Dirac**)
- His EXCELLENT explanations of the experiments going on right now (and making news!)
- And his ability to convey the implication of all of it -- the history, the science, the testing.
Neutrinos themselves might hold the answer to how everything we see today, every last bit of matter, might have come into existence. Neutrinos might have been the key regulator to ensure that you exist today to read this book. Often the articles, even the short blurbs from PopSci sites, require the reader to have at least some education in physics. Jayawardhana will give you all the prerequisite education you need to understand the new and exciting experiments that have been making the news as of late. I will post links to articles below.
**One of my favorite asides in the book was Jayawardhana's depiction of Paul Dirac, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933, but was so shy, he tried to refuse the award so he didn't have to go the ceremony. He hated personal attention that much.
Physicists seemed to appreciate his physics but were often annoyed because when they met with him in person, he would barely say anything. Colleagues coined the term "the Dirac" to define the fewest number of words a person could mutter per hour while still taking part in the conversation.
Loved this book!
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