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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics by Martinus Veltman (World Scientific) provides a comprehensive overview of modern particle physics accessible to anyone with a passion for wanting to know how the universe works. We are introduced to the known particles of the world we live in. An elegant explanation of quantum mechanics and relativity paves the way for an understanding of the laws that govern particle physics. These laws are put into action in the world of accelerators, colliders and detectors found at institutions such as CERN and Fermilab that are in the forefront of technical innovation. Real world and theory meet using Feynman diagrams to solve the problems of infinities and deduce the need for the Higgs boson.

Martinus Veltman is a Nobel Laureate physicist who was born in 1931 in Waalwijk, the Netherlands and studied at the University of Utrecht . After serving as a fellow at CERN, Geneva , Switzerland , he became Professor of Theoretical Physics in Utrecht and later at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

In Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics Veltman discusses in lay terms such features of elementary particles as the standard model, detection, the CERN neutrino experiment, and quantum chromodynamics.

The book also contains many thumbnail sketches of particle physics personalities, (Niels Bohr, Ernest Rutherford, James Clerk Maxwell, Paul Dirac, Wilhelm Röntgen, Marie Curie-Skiodowska, Pierre Curie, to name the earliest few) including contemporaries, as seen through the eyes of the author. Illustrated with pictures, these candid sketches present rare, perceptive views of the characters that populate the field.

Veltman offers an incredible insight from an eyewitness and participant into some of the greatest discoveries in 20th century science. From Einstein's theory of relativity to the elusive Higgs particle, this book will fascinate and educate anyone interested in the world of quarks, leptons and gauge theories. Veltman does not assume any background in the mathematical methods of quantum mechanics, so leaves out the equations and hopes readers will trust him. Students and lay people will find Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics superbly enlightening.

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