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Antimatter [Paperback]

Frank Close
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

7 Jan 2010
Antimatter explores a strange mirror world, where particles have identical yet opposite properties to those that make up the familiar matter we encounter everyday; where left becomes right, positive becomes negative; and where, should matter and antimatter meet, the two annihilate in a blinding flash of energy that makes even thermonuclear explosions look feeble by comparison.

It is an idea long beloved of science-fiction stories - but here, renowned science writer Frank Close shows that the reality of antimatter is even more fascinating than the fiction itself.

We know that once, antimatter and matter existed in perfect counterbalance, and that antimatter then perpetrated a vanishing act on a cosmic scale that remains one of the greatest mysteries of the universe. Today, antimatter does not exist normally, at least on Earth, but we know that it is real for scientists are now able to make small pieces of it in particle accelerators, such as that at CERN in Geneva.

Looking at the remarkable prediction of antimatter and how it grew from the meeting point of relativity and quantum theory in the early 20th century, at the discovery of the first antiparticles, at cosmic rays, annihilation, antimatter bombs, and antiworlds, Close separates the facts from the fiction about antimatter, and explains how its existence can give us profound clues about the origins and structure of the universe.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (7 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199578877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199578870
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


To miss out on books like this is to miss out on a grasp of the astounding nature of the universe, (Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian)

This compact book is a wonderful source of information on antimatter and offers us a meticulously researched account of the nature, properties and applications of the often overlooked entities in the fantastic antiworld around us. (Chemistry World)

About the Author

Frank Close, OBE, is Professor of Physics at Oxford University and a Fellow of Exeter College. He was formerly vice president of the British Association for Advancement of Science, Head of the Theoretical Physics Division at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and Head of Communications and Public Education at CERN. He is the author of several books, including The Void (OUP, 2007) and the best-selling Lucifer's Legacy (OUP, 2000). He was the winner of the Kelvin Medal of the Institute of Physics for his 'outstanding contributions to the public understanding of physics'. His other books include Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction (2004), The Cosmic Onion (1983), The Particle Explosion (1987), End (1988), Too Hot to Handle - the race for cold fusion (1991), and The Particle Odyssey (OUP, 2002). In 2013 Professor Close was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for communicating science.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Introduction 16 Aug 2009
This book acts as a perfect introduction to not just the world of antimatter, but also something of particle physics.

Close begins by discussing the legend of antimatter. A bizarre group of particles, often finding their way into Science Fiction, yet antimatter is real, it can exist, despite being annihilated on contact with matter. Close debunks what is false, and introduces the reader to the reality of antimatter, and the accompanying particle physics. A far from simple feat, having read several books previously which left me puzzled by Feynman diagrams, or simply what the particles are, Close takes a slower, gentler approach and succeeds in making the whole subject easily accessible.

The appendixes are very interesting too, offering some deeper insights into Antimatter, although some mathematical understanding may be necessary and can be left.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Books which attempt a popular review of a highly specialized subject are notoriously difficult to write. The experts will find little in them that is new, and the general reader will encounter much that is obscure and baffling.

This having been said, Frank Close has done a creditable job presenting the subject of anti-matter.

I personally was intrigued by some technical facts cited (eg anti-protons can be cooled with electrons) and amused by several popular explanations (eg How a space explorer should communicate with super-intelligent inhabitants to ascertain that their territory is not made of anti-matter: a wise precaution before attempting to land.)

An excellent book. I am glad to have it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pro antimatter 11 Mar 2010
Thought provoking, informative and entertaining..a great little book. Especially liked the small section on the Dirac code...clearest explanation I have seen. A great example that truth is stranger then fiction when it comes to physics..the real stuff is even weirder than the pseudo-science..
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best physics books I have ever read! 30 Aug 2011
By A. Nim
I am a 17 year old student, currently doing my A levels.
I found this book extremely well written, every single detail was easily understood.
I have read various physics books to help me develop my knowledge as an aspiring physics undergraduate.
Frank Close does a magnificent job! and is probably one of my favourite physics books.
Going through the derivation of antimatter, the history, what antimatter tells us and the theoretical possibilities of its discovery.
I learnt so much from this book, once you start reading it you won't want to put it down!
Recommended to those who wish to have much more knowledge on the topic of antimatter!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and enlightening 4 Mar 2010
By bunsby
As a complete physics ignoramus I was a little concerned that I'd soon be lost when reading this book. Fortunately, Close does an excellent job of explaining the hard science behind antimatter without a: excessive deviation, or b: patronising and misleading metaphorical illustration. For such a short book it contains enough concrete explanation to keep you thinking, and enough anecdotal material about the history of this branch of particle physics to keep you entertained.

I had to read a few parts twice - notably the explanation of E=MC2 (yes, I'm that ignorant!) but I got up to speed fairly quickly (for the purposes of the book's use of that formula, at least).

Close is clearly a leading and very passionate advocate on the subject of antimatter (itself, I gather, only a small part (excuse the pun) of the field of particle physics) and offers a lucid and engaging read, and fairly mind-blowing for a newcomer to popular science like me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far from perfect 19 Sep 2013
By chez198
While this book provides a brief and interesting introduction to antimatter and particle physics in general, it tends to focus too much on the historical aspect of the science, which in my opinion distracts from the explanation. Furthermore, there are too many ambiguous metaphors about 'dancing' which get extremely dreary after a while.

A decent book, but there are many better out there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AntiMatter 12 Feb 2010
By Albear
A very readable, accessible, overview of the topic, but perhaps with not the same clarity as the same author's 'The Void'. The history of antimatter science is well set out, and myths about the use of antimatter firmly disposed of. I enjoyed reading this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulus little book! 4 July 2009
This is a very very nice book!

Althought it is quite a narrow subject (antimatter is only a chapter of particle physics) this book is extremely well written. Someone would expect that it would be a book only for the hardcore enthousiasts of popular physics, but it is not.

It is very easy to follow and very interesting. In the meantime it totally satisfies the more enthousiast reader that wants some more details.

It achieves the perfect balance between easiness to read and serious approach on the subject! This is fabulus is you ask me, as the subject itself is specialized.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, if a bit short of details
Bit short but very concise and clear explanation
Published 15 days ago by jb21g08
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the cosmic onion
Maybe it is time for him to hang up his hat. The cosmic onion was a great read but now he is just writing for writing sake. There is very little content and it just rambles on. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Captain Sensible
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
One of the best books I have read, this one has reinforced my passion for studying physics. Really informative and clear
Published 11 months ago by jose
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book about interesting subject
Good descritpion of something that is very hard to grasp.
This kind of book is very useful for us laymen with more interest than knowledge.
Published 13 months ago by Stefan Hager
4.0 out of 5 stars One Universe
"Antimatter" is a fantastic chapter for everyone with an amateur interest for Particle Physics. With an easy-to-read narrative and no scientific jargon, it debunks the myths... Read more
Published 15 months ago by David Fernandes
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent particle physics read
An excellent book which covers the field of particle physics very eloquently. A must read for anybody who as an active interest in particle physics.
Published 15 months ago by Democratic conservative
5.0 out of 5 stars antimatter
first class very good i would recomend every one to get it,
just enjoy the book
explains it went on to a level that everyone could understand
Published 16 months ago by johnthehat
4.0 out of 5 stars Anti-matter convincingly and clearly expounded.
This is an interesting and easily understood account of anti-matter for anyone curious about this phenomenon. Read more
Published 19 months ago by C N L IRVEN
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a fascinating science book
I liked the way science concepts are explained and the distinction between science and science fiction . Read more
Published 19 months ago by Xavier
4.0 out of 5 stars Clear!
The book is really clear and easy to understand for a begineer and tells very well both the history and physics of antimatter.
Published 19 months ago by J
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