Friday, 28 August 2015

Particle Physics - Brian Martin

A Beginners Guide physics book, companion to Quantum Physics Beginners Guide also aimed at the interested non-physicist. Brian Martin begins the book with an introduction to the known fundamental particles (I.e. indivisible constituents of the world of matter and energy) and the forces that exist between them. Tables and diagrams provide simple pictorial models and summaries of the otherwise complex ideas. particle physics Brian Martin

 Chapter 2, Theory and Experiment, begins by giving the philosophy behind the scientific method, namely postulating theories (ideas) in such a way that the competing theories can be tested by experiment, and the 'best' theory deduced from the results.

There is an historical overview of how current ideas developed, from the discovery of the wave-particle like nature of electrons and photons, then the discovery of the atomic nucleus and, later on, its constituents: protons, neutrons ... and their constituents - quarks.

 The book describes the production, scattering and detection of elementary 'waveicles' (my term! particle is a misleading name for anything that exhibits wave-particle duality and the intrinsic uncertainty of the quantum/relativistic world).

 Chapter 3 goes into more detail about the waveicle accelerators and beams they produce for scattering experiments.

While Chapter 4 details the construction of different types of detector and the waveicles and energy ranges they are suited to most accurately measuring.

 Chapter 5 introduces the theory of Hadrons and their quark constituents. This is where 'particle' physics becomes rather colourful, and the concepts of conservation laws and symmetries lead to very colourful representations of the processes that occur in scattering, production and decay of hadrons and their quark constituents.

 Subsequent chapters describe the theory of strong interactions in terms of QCD - Quantum Chromodynamics and gluons.

Weak interactions that don't obey the usual conservations laws, and lead to decays of heavier quarks to lighter are elucidated.

 Finally there is discussion of the heaviest quarks, the unification of the electric and weak interactions into the ElctroWeak interaction; the alleged mystery of the origin of mass (more anon) and ideas that lead beyond the Standard Model, and the implications in astronomy.
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