Nucleus: A Trip into the Heart of Matter

Overview

The discovery of the nucleus transformed the past century and will revolutionize this one. Nuclear physics is one of the most exciting—and useful—branches of science. In medicine, it helps save lives through innovative medical technologies, such as the MRI, and in nuclear astrophysics, state-of-the-art theoretical and computer models account for how stars shine and describe how the chemical elements in the universe were formed.

Now in its second edition, Nucleus tells the story ...

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Overview

The discovery of the nucleus transformed the past century and will revolutionize this one. Nuclear physics is one of the most exciting—and useful—branches of science. In medicine, it helps save lives through innovative medical technologies, such as the MRI, and in nuclear astrophysics, state-of-the-art theoretical and computer models account for how stars shine and describe how the chemical elements in the universe were formed.

Now in its second edition, Nucleus tells the story of the nucleus from the early experimental work of the quiet New Zealander Lord Rutherford to the huge atom-smashing machines of today and beyond. Thoroughly revised and updated, the book includes the most current information on the radio dating of Earth and other planets in the Solar System, heavy-ion therapies, quark-gluon plasma and its relevance to black holes, and clarification of ab initio calculations of atomic nuclei.

Lavishly illustrated and with lively prose and captivating details, this book unravels the scientific mysteries that surround the subject of the nucleus. Anyone with even a passing interest in science will delight in this guide to the nuclear age.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Sesame
Beautifully produced. In every lavishly illustrated page, every fascinating aside (did you know, for instance, that there are more atoms in a single glass of water than there are glasses of water in all the earth's oceans?) the book demonstrates the central role of nuclear physics in our exploration of nature.
Choice

In this competently written, well-illustrated, and attractively composed book, the history of nuclear physics is explained in a clear but sophisticated manner... They have done a very good job presenting the material; illustrations, figures, and photographs are superior in quality to other available works.

Nuclear Physics Review
The authors have produced an attractive book... The relaxed, informal style is easy on the reader and the story is told in a way I find appealing.
Astronomy

A valiant attempt to convey the history, subject matter, and applications of subatomic research, and then place them in the context of astronomy... Anyone with an interest in the subject matter will want to read Nucleus several times, and the authors make the experience enjoyable.

Choice
In this competently written, well-illustrated, and attractively composed book, the history of nuclear physics is explained in a clear but sophisticated manner... They have done a very good job presenting the material; illustrations, figures, and photographs are superior in quality to other available works.
Astronomy
A valiant attempt to convey the history, subject matter, and applications of subatomic research, and then place them in the context of astronomy... Anyone with an interest in the subject matter will want to read Nucleus several times, and the authors make the experience enjoyable.
From The Critics
Four European nuclear physicists present a work of popular science that explains the evolution of the scientific understanding of the nucleus of an atom. Profusely illustrated, the work discusses both the basic concepts of nuclear physics and the origins of the concepts in the work of philosophers and scientists. Chapters discuss the discovery of radioactivity, the laws that govern small particles, nuclei measurement, the contents of nuclei, applications of nuclear physics (the bomb is downplayed), the nuclear architecture of things from the hydrogen atom to the neutron star, and the nuclear processes of the Big Bang. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421403519
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2012
  • Edition description: second edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,428,648
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Ray Mackintosh is a professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at The Open University. Jim Al-Khalili is a nuclear theorist, author, and broadcaster. He is a professor of physics at the University of Surrey, England, where he also holds a chair in the public engagement of science, and the author of Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed and Black Holes, Wormholes and Time Travel. Björn Jonson is a faculty member in the Department of Fundamental Physics at the Chalmers Institute of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden. Teresa Peña is an associate professor at the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, Portugal.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Foreword 9
Introduction: Our world and its infinite variety 10
1 The size of things: From the immensity of space to the invisible world of the nucleus 14
2 The discovery of nuclei: How a new world was revealed by radioactivity 22
3 Particles or waves?: Strange laws at the heart of matter 36
4 Measuring nuclei: Determining the shape and size of minute objects 46
5 Strange nuclear material: The contents of a nucleus 56
6 The nuclear landscape: The variety and abundance of nuclei 70
7 Applications of nuclear physics: Interactions with everyday life 84
8 Nuclear architecture: From hydrogen to neutron stars 98
9 Cosmic furnaces: The stars and the birth of elements 108
10 Our violent origin: Cosmology and the nuclear processes in the Big Bang 124
Further reading 132
Glossary 133
Subject index 137
Name index 143
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