Sunday, January 11, 2009

Atom

Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos
© 1997 Isaac Asimov
300ish pages

Last week I wanted to read a little science, and my eyes fell upon -- as luck would have it -- Atom by Isaac Asimov. The book is an informal introduction to the world of subatomic physics, but written with a historical perspective. Asimov does not simply introduce the reader to electrons and quarks and muons and so on: he tells the history of scientific research dealing with subatomic physics and links it to studies in other fields (electromagnetism and planetary science, for instance). Even though he introduces a historical narrative into it, he is still able to explain the significance of various concepts. It is both informal and detailed. Although Asimov's style is clear and he does a good job of explaining matters, my concentration kept leaping to my impending return to university life, and so I did not give this book the attention it deserved. I will return to it, I think.

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