The Charm of Strange Quarks: Mysteries and Revolutions of Particle Physics / Edition 1

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The Charm of Strange Quarks discusses the excitement of quarks, dark matter, and extra dimensions. It tells of a force so weak that humans cannot experience it, yet responsible for our very existence... A particle (the quark) not visible directly in any experiment, yet known to be the prime constituent of the atomic nucleus... A particle (the neutrino) so ephemeral it can traverse the diameter of Earth without interacting, yet physicists can make beams of them and cause collisions... Matter dark and unlike anything we experience on Earth, yet a major constituent of the universe...

These and similar mysteries are part of the revolution that has made particle physics a forefront science. Too often, however, the excitement of these ideas seems hidden behind complex presentations. This book conveys the excitement and a basic understanding of this fundamental topic.

Very recent developments in particle physics and cosmology are included. For example, some of the great mysteries of physics may be resolved if we postulate that there are extra dimensions of space, unseen by humans (this may involve string theory and black holes). Recent astrophysical experiments suggest that the expansion of the universe may be accelerating.

One remarkable aspect of modern physics is that the smallest objects in the world and the largest (the universe) are intimately tied together. Our knowledge of cosmology and astrophysics tells us about fundamental particles and forces, and vice versa.

A very lively chronology of the events of modern particle physics shows not only the learning process but also the missteps that occur in real research, and how even correct new ideas move only gradually from the status of fringe speculation to accepted view.

Some appendices will make the book more readily useful in a classroom setting and will interest teachers and other readers too.

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Editorial Reviews

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"… Recommended as a supplementary text for introductory college courses or for advanced high-school courses; science teachers will find it useful for updating their knowledge in an ever-expanding field of physics research." Physics Today

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780387988979
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 6/16/2000
  • Edition description: 1st ed. 2000. Corr. 2nd printing 2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The November Revolution 1
2 The Elusive Trail to the Standard Model 11
3 The Mystery of Flavors 45
4 Carriers of Force 71
5 Anything that Can Happen Will Happen 85
6 Precision Detectors Lead to Great Discoveries 95
7 Creating Extremely High-Energy Collisions 121
8 Astrophysics Meets Particle Physics 143
9 The Status of the Standard Model 169
10 A Historical Perspective on Particle Physics 189
App. A The Greek Alphabet 209
App. B: Glossary 211
App. C How Detectors Work 223
App. D Basic Physics Concepts Applied to Particles 235
App. E. Suggested Reading 285
People Index 293
General Index 295
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