By Jeremy Bernstein
From molecules to stars, a lot of the cosmic canvas could be painted in brushstrokes of fundamental colour: the protons, neutrons, and electrons we all know so good. yet for meticulous aspect, we need to dip into unique hues—leptons, mesons, hadrons, quarks. Bringing particle physics to existence as few authors can, Jeremy Bernstein the following unveils nature in all its subatomic splendor.
during this swish account, Bernstein courses us via high-energy physics from the early 20th century to the current, together with such highlights because the newly came upon Higgs boson. starting with Ernest Rutherford’s 1911 rationalization of the nucleus, a version of atomic constitution emerged that sufficed until eventually the Thirties, whilst new debris started to be theorized and experimentally proven. within the postwar interval, the subatomic international exploded in a blaze of unforeseen findings resulting in the speculation of the quark, in all its unusual and charmed diversifications. An eyewitness to advancements at Harvard college and the Institute for complicated research in Princeton, Bernstein laces his tale with piquant anecdotes of such luminaries as Wolfgang Pauli, Murray Gell-Mann, and Sheldon Glashow.
Surveying the dizzying panorama of up to date physics, Bernstein continues to be confident approximately our skill to appreciate the secrets and techniques of the cosmos—even as its mysteries deepen. We now understand that over 80 percentage of the universe includes topic now we have by no means pointed out or detected. A Palette of Particles attracts readers into the thrill of a box the place the extra we find, the fewer we appear to know.
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Extra resources for A Palette of Particles
Can economics alone get people and groups to surrender their sovereignty? And if not, what else has helped to do that job? This is the grim subject of the next chapter. Chapter Five WAR: WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? If we think how many things besides frontiers of states the wars of history have decided, we must feel some respectful awe, in spite of all the horrors. Our actual civilization, good and bad alike, has had past wars for its determining condition. —William James Ah, Tahiti. The lush island whose carefree natives the painter Paul Gauguin used as icons of primitive bliss.
They happen naturally in an economy with a currency, a stock exchange, and a bond market. The Northwest Coast Indians didn’t have a capitalist economy, or even a currency, yet they managed to play the same basic non-zero-sum games capitalists play. How? Through the great enemy of Adam Smith aficionados: centralized planning. ” He held the allegiance of a clan, maybe a village. He orchestrated the building of salmon traps or fish cellars, and he made sure that some villagers specialized in, say, making canoes that other villagers could then use.
Its neurons are people. The more neurons there are in regular and easy contact, the better the brain works—the more finely it can divide economic labor, the more diverse the resulting products. And, not incidentally, the more rapidly technological innovations take shape and spread. As economists who espouse “new growth theory” have stressed, it takes only one person to invent something that the whole group can then adopt (since information is a “non-rival” good). So the more possible inventors—that is, the larger the group—the higher its collective rate of innovation.
A Palette of Particles by Jeremy Bernstein