I first became aware of Neutrinos in 1969 thanks to the BBC TV program 'Violent Universe' and the book of the same title by Nigel Calder. I have been intrigued by this enigmatic atomic particle ever since and even named my Laser racing dinghy 'Neutrino' in 1970, although my speed through the water was slightly slower than that of the light speed of the actual particle! As soon as I saw this book by Frank Close a couple of weeks ago I had to buy it and was not disappointed.
As an interested layman with a scientific background the book is at exactly the right level for me. There is some fascinating historical details with some famous particle physicists involved including Pauli, Rutherford and Fermi. But the book is more about John Bahcall, Ray Davies and Bruno Pontecorvo - names which I suspect very few people not directly involved in Neutrino science and the study of the nuclear reactions in the sun will have heard of. This is a serious book written in a very readable way, but there are some lighthearted moments. Like when Bahcall, after hearing news that his calculations had been proved correct after 30 years says 'I feel like dancing, I'm so happy'. Then there are the first two sentences of Chapter 10 'Where were you at 07.30 GMT on 23 February 1987? I was having breakfast when, unknown to me, a burst of neutrinos passed through my cornflakes'. Great stuff!!