"Close's writing is beguiling, mingling personal and historical anecdote with carefully measured doses of exposition in such a way as to guide the reader painlessly into rather deep intellectual waters." — Nature "Life, intrinsically related to asymmetries, is the theme of this book, and Close offers us an absorbing and scientifically correct account of symmetry and its deep implications." — CERN Courier
This thought-provoking work by a physicist and popular science writer explores the origins of asymmetry from the molecular level to that of the universe at large. Frank Close takes the readers on a tour of asymmetry that ranges from the development of human embryos to the mysterious Higgs boson, or "God particle," and ongoing research at Switzerland's CERN laboratory.
Moving from Isaac Newton's work on gravity and motion in the seventeenth century to thermodynamics and James Clerk Maxwell's laws of electromagnetism in the nineteenth to Max Planck's and Paul Dirac's quantum physics in the twentieth, Professor Close turns finally to contemporary physics and the power and limitations of the current theory of everything. The cycle in which one theory of everything is first challenged and then replaced by another is continuing right now.
“Close is a lucid, reliable, and enthusiastic guide to the strange and wonderful microcosmic world that dwells deep within reality”
— Frank Wilczek, Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics, MIT, 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics
NEW Material Explains the principles behind the Hadron Collider as well as the potential it presents Considers the recent development of the Electroweak Theory as a law of nature Explores the mysteries uncovered and the ones that may be in store with regard to top and bottom quarks
Keeping still-pertinent contents from the original volume that caught the world’s attention in 1983, this fresh edition of the Cosmic Onion includes extensive new material to reflect new views of the universe. Providing explanations that explore the foundations of 21st Century science and future directions, this work offers ready access and unique perspectives to more typical topics such as the forces of nature, atoms, the nucleus, and nuclear particles.
It also travels down paths that only a true pioneer and educator can venture, such as a discussion of what Professor Close refers to as the Eightfold Way including the findings, surprises, and new questions emerging from the latest work with accelerators.