The Particle Odyssey: A Journey to the Heart of Matter

Frank Close

With over 300 pictures, the vast majority in full color, The Particle Odyssey takes us on a breathtaking journey into the realm of subatomic particles.

Over a hundred of the finest photographs ever taken of particle ‘events’ are collected here, depicting the mysterious, abstract, and often beautiful photographs of the tracks of subatomic particles as they speed, curve, dance, or explode through cloud and bubble chambers, stacks of photographic emulsion, and gigantic multi-element detectors. Spiraling electrons, the telltale vees of odd particles, matter and antimatter formed from raw energy, energetic jets of particles spewing out from the disintegration points of quarks and gluons, all of these and more are depicted in the book.

The graphically written account of the pivotal experiments and fundamental findings that lead to our current understanding of the nature of the universe provides a fitting complement to the images. All the major subatomic particles are shown, from the electron to the recently found top quark. From the discovery of X-rays in 1895 to the dissection of the atom by Rutherford and others to the unexpected discoveries of cosmic rays to the discovery of quarks and the establishment of the “standard model” in the late 20th century, the authors trace the history of experimental particle physics. Further, they investigate the most pressing issues in modern physics, such as: where did antimatter go? We need to know more about this mysterious “dark matter.” Can we have an all-encompassing theory?

The Particle Odyssey is the ideal present for scientific nerds, as it will fascinate anyone curious about the inner workings of the atom.