Frank Close

The New Cosmic Onion

You've probably heard about the opening of the Large Hadron Collider, (and its unfortunate breakdown). You may have wondered what it is supposed to find out, and why particle physics requires such expensive equipment. If so then The New Cosmic Onion: Quarks and the Nature of the Universe by Frank Close might give you some of the answers.

The book starts with the discovery of X-rays and radioactivity, and moves on through the unravelling of the nature of atoms and their nuclei. By the 1930's we had electrons, protons and neutrons, which would seem to be sufficient, but the ever larger particle accelerators which were becoming available kept on showing the existence of new particles. By the 1960's it looked rather a mess, but the theory of the 'Eightfold Way' and then of quarks managed to make sense of it all. Close looks at the successes of quark theory, and describes the discovery of new generations of quarks - strange and charmed, bottom and top. He also examines the progress of particle physics in recent decades, including Quantum chromodynamics, Electroweak unification and supersymmetry.

The book is aimed at those wanting a better knowledge of particle physics, rather than at the popular science market as such - Close is wary of ideas which seem too speculative such as string theory and even cosmological inflation. There are a large number of tables and diagrams, which I felt rather interfered with the flow of the text, and might make the book seem rather intimidating at first glance, but I felt that anyone who was keen to learn about the subject wouldn't find it too difficult.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 232 pages  
ISBN: 1584887982
Salesrank: 698475
Weight:0.84 lbs
Published: 2006 CRC Press
Amazon price $24.97
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 232 pages  
ISBN: 1584887982
Salesrank: 564810
Weight:0.84 lbs
Published: 2006 CRC Press
Amazon price £29.01
Marketplace:New from £28.22:Used from £23.71
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Paperback 232 pages  
ISBN: 1584887982
Salesrank: 660001
Weight:0.84 lbs
Published: 2006 CRC Press
Amazon price CDN$ 52.62
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 46.94:Used from CDN$ 29.94
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Product Description

Not since Newton’s apple has there been a physics phenomenon as deliciously appealing to the masses as Frank Close’s Cosmic Onion.  Widely embraced by scientists and laypersons alike, the book quickly became an international bestseller. Translated into seven languages, it propelled the author to become a worldwide celebrity as well as an inspiration to a generation of scientists. The book’s title itself has entered popular usage as a metaphor for the layers that can be peeled away to understand the foundations of the physical world, from dimensions and galaxies, to atoms and quarks.

“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.