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Hidden Worlds: Hunting for Quarks in Ordinary Matter

Out of Print

By: Timothy Paul Smith

192 pages, 45 illus

Princeton University Press

Hardback | Dec 2002 | #142722 | ISBN: 0691057737
Out of Print Details

About this book

No one has ever seen a quark. Yet physicists seem to know quite a lot about the properties and behavior of these ubiquitous elementary particles. Here a top researcher introduces us to a fascinating but invisible realm that is part of our everyday life. Timothy Smith tells us what we know about quarks - and how we know it.Though the quarks that make science headlines are typically laboratory creations generated under extreme conditions, most quarks occur naturally. They reside in the protons and neutrons that make up almost all of the universe's known matter, from human DNA to distant nebulae, from books and tables to neutron stars. Smith explains what these quarks are, how they act, and why physicists believe in them sight unseen. How do quarks arrange themselves? What other combinations can nature make? How do quarks hold nuclei together? What else is happening in their hidden worlds? It turns out that these questions can be answered using a few simple principles, such as the old standby: opposites attract. With these few principles, Smith shows how quarks dance around each other and explains what physicists mean when they refer to "up" and "down" quarks and talk about a quark's

Smith gives us a series of extremely readable and well-chosen analogies to explain the science. His relaxed style makes for an enjoyable read... [A] useful addition to the popular literature on particle physics. -- Alan Martin New Scientist Hidden Worlds is a satisfying account of the physics of quarks... Smith, a practicing nuclear physicist, conveys a clear picture of contemporary research and gives a well-articulated perspective from which to view modern nuclear and particle physics. Particularly noteworthy is the fine balance between the discussions of theory and experiment... Although the science background needed to understand the material is slight, this is a rather more sophisticated book than many popular accounts of modern physics... A thoughtful book for undergraduates or interested laypersons. Choice


LIST OF FIGURES ix ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xi CHAPTER ONE: Hidden Worlds: The Search for Quarks in Ordinary Matter 1 CHAPTER TWO: The Rise and Fall (for the right reasons) and Rise Again of the Quark Hypothesis 15 CHAPTER THREE: The Players and the Stage 33 CHAPTER FOUR: The Nature of the Evidence 51 CHAPTER FIVE: Measuring a Rainbow 68 CHAPTER SIX: Particle Taxonomy and Quark Soup 90 CHAPTER SEVEN: The Shape of Things 109 CHAPTER EIGHT: Three Quarks Plus 131 CHAPTER NINE: Digging a Little Deeper 148 CHAPTER TEN: A New Age of Exploration within the Hidden World 161 GLOSSARY 165 INDEX 175

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Timothy Paul Smith is Assistant Research Professor at Dartmouth College and was previously a Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Bates Linear Accelerator Center.

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