In Search of the Ultimate Building Blocks

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From 1960 until 1990 theoretical physicists and experimentalists worked together to probe deeper and deeper into the basic structure of matter, moving closer to an understanding of the ultimate building blocks of the universe. Gerard 't Hooft was closely involved in many of the advances in modern theoretical physics that led to improved understanding of elementary particles, and this is a first-hand account of one of the most creative and exciting periods of discovery in the history of physics. Using language a layperson can understand, this narrative touches on many central topics and ideas, such as quarks and quantum physics; supergravity, superstrings and superconductivity; the Standard Model and grand unification; eleven-dimensional space time and black holes. This fascinating personal account of the past thirty years in one of the most dramatic areas in twentieth-century physics will be of interest to professional physicists and physics students, as well as the educated general reader with an interest in one of the most exciting scientific detective stories ever.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I like this book: it is bold and strong; Professor 't Hooft has been a leader in the world of theoretical physics, and the knowledge and opinions he transmits are testaments of that. This book is great for students of physics and for well-seasoned researchers looking for a bigger picture....I applaud Professor 't Hooft for his willingness to write this provocative book." American Scientist

"The story is told with a confidence that comes only from deep the reader a sense of the exemplary, century-long cooperative effort that created the modern science of particle is easily accessible to the nonphysicist." New Scientist

"It gives a remarkable account of the interior dialogue of particle theory." Physics Today

"I recommend this book to professionals and some members of the general audience that have an interest in the concept of elementary particles as seen by the eyes of this author." Otto M. Friedrich, Jr., Science Books & Films

"Gerard t'Hooft has made outstanding contributions in theoretical particle physics, and if this attempt to explain his subject to a lay audience is a guide, he could become an excellent populariser, too....With analogies and anecdotes, t'Hooft skillfully enters the world of particles....the reader is now invited to enjoy t'Hooft's first-hand account of the great revolution in gauge theories in which he played such a singular role, culminating in his personal thoughts on string theory, black holes, and more." Frank Close

"...provides a lucid explanation of the motivations behind these theories and of their advantages and disadvantages, along with speculations about the possible form of a true theory of everything." Robert H. March, Physics Today

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521550833
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2010
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

An apology; 1. The beginning of the journey to the small: cutting paper; 2. To molecules and atoms; 3. The magic mystery of the quanta; 4. Dazzling velocities; 5. The elementary particle zoo before 1970; 6. Life and death; 7. The crazy kaons; 8. The invisible quarks; 9. Fields or bootstraps?; 10. The Yang-Mills bonanza; 11. Superconducting empty space: the Higgs-Kibble machine; 12. Models; 13. Colouring in the strong forces; 14. The magnetic monopole; 15. Gypsy; 16. The brilliance of the standard model; 17. Anomalies; 18. Deceptive perfection; 19. Weighing neutrinos; 20. The great desert; 21. Technicolor; 22. Grand unification; 23. Supergravity; 24. Eleven dimensional space-time; 25. Attaching the super string; 26. Into the black hole; 27. Theories that do not yet exist … ; 28. Dominance of the rule of the smallest.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2004

    An outstanding book!

    This book is the greatest book that I have ever read. Gerard't Hooft is one of the most famous leaders in YM theory.

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