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Antimatter by Frank Close

Antimatter (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Frank Close

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128None93,676 (3.79)2
Authors:Frank Close
Info:OUP Oxford (2009), Hardcover, 176 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Read in 2013, Non fiction, Science, Physics, Antimatter

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Antimatter by Frank Close (2009)

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If you want to find out about antimatter, but you don't have the background in physics and mathematics to deal with the heavy stuff, this is the book for you. In a very clear and readble style (sometimes even too chatty for my liking) Frank Close gives a great overview of the question (and some criticism of Dan Brown). It reads like a thriller. ( )
  CharlesFerdinand | Sep 15, 2010 |
Short and (authoritatively) to the point, even though it necessarily talks about quantum field theory to some extent. Apparently written in part to assure laypeople that the next "benefit" from the military won't be antimatter-based bombs.
  fpagan | Aug 18, 2009 |
(posted on my blog: davenichols.net)

Physicist Frank Close offers a short but enlightening look at a frequently misunderstood aspect of physical reality in his book Antimatter. In about 150 pages, Close delivers a solid summary of the historical and current research into the nature of the tricky particles, especially the positron.

As a physics buff, albeit a non-technical one, Close's descriptions and narrative are easy to follow and not overly-detailed. He keeps close to his main points, explaining the nature of antimatter and exposing some of the latest experiments into its properties, without overburdening the reader with dense technical interjections. While I thought I understood antimatter prior to reading this book, Close provided a strong overview that supplements the understanding of most any popular physics reader, myself included.

Close explores many of the theories surrounding the symmetries between normal matter and antimatter, as well as offering some thoughts on why we might see a universe which appears to be largely devoid of antimatter. While a small handful of antimatter particles have been created in labs around the world, as well as a few dozen antihydrogen atoms, the mysterious lack of antimatter in the universe remains one of the questions needing a great deal of further research to explain. Close uses the Tunguska event to explore the possibility that a chunk of antimatter could have caused the currently unexplained explosion in 1908 (Close determines it was not antimatter, but leaves the question open until the latter chapters). The author also debunks most of the antimatter properties and usages found in Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, as well as the idea that antimatter is likely to supplement traditional sources of energy found on the planet.

Popular physics readers have good cause to pick up this tightly-focused book, and will almost certainly learn things about antimatter that aren't covered in many sources. A solid, very quick read that can be knocked out in an afternoon, I recommend this book to anyone interested in physics wanting to gain a reasonable understanding of this mysterious and interesting subset of the science. Three and one-half stars. ( )
  IslandDave | Jun 20, 2009 |
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'What happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object?' My father didn't beat about the bush when it came to the mysteries of the universe, and as Isaac Newton hadn't been satisfied with just one law of motion, or Beethoven with one symphony, so Dad had more than one question: 'How do you store a substance that destroyed everything it touched?'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199550166, Hardcover)

Of all the mind-bending discoveries of physics--quarks, black holes, strange attractors, curved space--the existence of antimatter is one of the most bizarre. It is also one of the most difficult, literally and figuratively, to grasp.

Antimatter explores this strange mirror world, where particles have identical yet opposite properties to those that make up the familiar matter we encounter everyday, where left becomes right, positive becomes negative, and where--should matter and antimatter meet--the resulting flash of blinding energy would make even thermonuclear explosions look feeble by comparison. Antimatter is an idea long beloved of science-fiction writers--but here, renowned science writer Frank Close shows that the reality of antimatter is even more intriguing than the fiction. We know that at one time antimatter and matter existed in perfect counterbalance, and that antimatter then perpetrated a vanishing act on a cosmic scale that remains one of the great mysteries of the universe. Today, antimatter does not exist normally, at least on Earth, but we know that it is real, as scientists are now able to make small pieces of it in particle accelerators, such as that at CERN in Geneva. Looking at the remarkable prediction of antimatter and how it grew from the meeting point of relativity and quantum theory in the early 20th century, at the discovery of the first antiparticles, at cosmic rays, annihilation, antimatter bombs, and antiworlds, Close separates the facts from the fiction about antimatter, and explains how its existence can give us profound clues about the origins and structure of the universe.

For all those wishing to take a closer look at the flip side of the visible world, this lucidly written book shines a bright light into a truly strange realm.

"Beautifully written... This book will inspire a sense of awe in even the most seasoned of physics readers."
--Amanda Gefter, New Scientist

"This is a must read for fans of science and science fiction alike." --John Gribbin, www.bbcfocusmagazine.com

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:45 -0400)

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Explaining the science behind one of physics' most extraordinary discoveries, Close shows how, through understanding antimatter, we can shed light on some of the deepest mysteries of the universe.

(summary from another edition)

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