Antimatter: The Ultimate Mirror

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This book introduces the world of antimatter without using technical language or equations. The author shows how the quest for symmetry in physics slowly revealed the properties of antimatter. When large particle accelerators came on line, the antimatter debris of collisions provided new clues on its properties. This is a fast-paced and lucid account of how science fiction became fact.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...Fraser's absorbing narrative retraces the effort to unravel the structure of subatomic matter—and antimatter—from Planck, Einstein, Heisenberg and Dirac to Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann; he imparts a keen sense of the colorful personalities and discoveries..." Publishers Weekly

" up-to-the-minute account of a developing field of knowledge. Recommended for those who want to know what is going on in this exciting area of physics." Choice

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Antimatter is the fuel of science fiction, propelling, for example, Star Trek's U.S.S. Enterprise, but its study is also a burgeoning branch of modern science. Fraser, a physicist at the CERN European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, here offers a thoughtful, no-nonsense account of the strange world of antimatter. Scenarios of an as-yet-undiscovered antimatter universe that mirrors ours don't hold up to current scientific scrutiny, he reports, but he speculates that huge amounts of antimatter might be locked away in black holes. "One of the most intellectually challenging theories" of physics, he notes, is Russian scientist Andrey Sakharov's hypothesis that the universe was initially composed of equal amounts of matter and antimatter, and that various forces and asymmetries tilted the balance in favor of matter, making antimatter virtually extinct in the visible universe. Written for the serious layperson, Fraser's absorbing narrative retraces the effort to unravel the structure of subatomic matter--and antimatter--from Planck, Einstein, Heisenberg and Dirac to Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann; he imparts a keen sense of the colorful personalities involved, and of their thought processes and discoveries, without ever introducing math or burdensome technical detail. In 1996, scientists at CERN made headlines by synthesizing the first atoms of antihydrogen. Antiparticles, once a laboratory curiosity, have become a frontline research tool used in the discovery of new particles, in particle-antiparticle collision experiments that generate temperatures almost as hot as the Big Bang, and in PET (positron emission tomography) scans in medicine, brain research and materials science. And the quest for elusive antimatter out there, explains Fraser in this lucid book, will get a boost when the International Space Station deploys an alpha magnetic spectrometer to search for nuclear cosmic antimatter. Illus. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
From The Critics
In this first paperback edition, Fraser (European Laboratory for Particle Physics, Geneva, Switzerland) lucidly explains how Dirac's 1928 prediction of the existence of antimatter transformed science fiction into serious quantum science. Includes photos of leading scientists, centers, equipment, and results in the field. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521893091
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Gordon Fraser works at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, Geneva, Switzerland, where he is Editor of CERN Courier, a monthly magazine covering all aspects of particle physics. He has been a Visiting Lecturer in Science Communication at several universities.

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Table of Contents

1. Science fiction becomes science fact; 2. Mirror worlds; 3. An imbalanced kit of electrical parts; 4. The quantum master; 5. Positive proof; 6. The back passage of time; 7. The quark and the antiquark; 8. Broken mirrors; 9. The cosmic corkscrew; 10. Antiparticle collision course; 11. Setting a trap for antimatter; 12. Glue versus antichemistry; 13. Antimatter in action; 14. Antimatter of the utmost gravity.

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