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on 23 August 2017
The Very Short Introductions are a major educational resource. There are presently over 500 small books covering a very wide range of subjects. Although short, the Introductions are substantial in content. Everyone would benefit from reading these books to broaden their knowledge and understanding in diverse areas of life. Perseverance with some subjects may be required but be prepared to be surprised, enlightened and enriched.
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on 21 January 2014
This I found to be an excellent introduction to particle physics. The enthusiasm of the author for his subject comes across very strongly and Frank Close, who is a Professor of Physics at Oxford University, is obviously very knowledgeable about particle physics. In what is a short volume (part of the "A Very Short Introduction" series) he covers a lot of ground in a clear manner and without the need for any mathematics. Close was able to explain some concepts to me, a non-physicist, with much better clarity than other authors have achieved. Topics covered include the particles and forces of the Standard Model, anti-matter and the Big Bang. The chapter entitled "How big and small are big and small?" includes some fascinating comparisons which make one appreciate the dimensions, masses and energies of particles.

For my liking, Close devoted too much space, namely a whole chapter, to the different accelerators used to investigate particles, such as cyclotrons and synchrotrons, and explaining the advantages and disadvantages of linear versus circular accelerators. Likewise, the next chapter exclusively covered the detectors used to pick up evidence of particles and particle collisions. This was like a history lesson in the equipment used in particle physics, which to my mind detracted from the main theme of the book. Consequently, I merely skimmed through these two chapters. Of course, this is my personal opinion and other readers may find this sort of information more absorbing than I did.

The final chapter is entitled "Questions for the 21st Century" in which Close speculates on the nature of dark matter, supersymmetry, massive neutrinos, mass (Higgs boson), quark gluon plasmas and the possibility of multi-dimensional universes. As the book was published in 2004, and I have read it nine years later, I'm left wondering what progress there has been in those nine years in these areas, over and above the well-publicised, probable discovery of the Higgs boson.

As well as an index (which is not necessary in the Kindle version I read) the book usefully includes a glossary of terms.
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on 31 August 2016
This is a good book, however, I do feel it needs a second edition. It has obviously been updated circa 2012, but I suspect that this has been done by adding in a paragraphs and sections rather than some more detailed re-writing. For instance, near the beginning it states that nobody knows if neutrinos have mass. Toward the end of the book it states that we have discovered that they do. Frank Close is a good writer and I hope that OUP pay him to write a fully revised text. I think many A level students would find this book useful; the sections on detectors, especially so and I am going to advise them to read this.
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on 9 April 2010
Of this series, this is one of the more lucidly written examples. Prof. Close has a method of drawing you into a fairly informal discussion, but with direct examples to illustrate his points, and obvious authority. His tone is kindly, and reminded me of the way Carl Sagan or Richard Feynman communicated ideas; Methodically, yet elegantly.

The areas key for a basic understanding of the subject are present, and he elaborates on some of the terminology used without losing the reader.

There is only a slight misgiving, in that he strays off course into the realm of speculative string theory and higher dimensions in a rushed manner near the end of the book. This does relate to some of the earlier chapters in a small way (supersymmetry), but limited to two pages, is all too vague so the uninitiated may get confused.

Other than that, it has enlightened me greatly, and along with the VSI to Relativity, gives a nice foundation which can be used to consult more ambitious material.
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on 24 October 2017
An excellent book. As a one-time chemist my scientific background is in atoms and molecules and I'd paid no heed to the smaller components of matter.

Prof Close provides a good overview of the subject at an accessible level. I think I understand more about this subject than before. Which was exactly what I wanted.
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on 5 December 2017
Recommended by the school a Government no longer pays for books for 6th formers. Delivered promptly

Will be able to judge the success in 2 years time
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on 6 June 2017
good book and explains well a lot of the particle physics currently in the new scottish higher physics exam.
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on 26 July 2016
Nice compact book with concise sections so easy to get through when you have a spare few minutes.
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on 24 August 2014
Nice read, even for people who have no underlying science knowledge, well written, easy to read due to well laid out chapters, good introduction to pp
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on 2 July 2015
I found this book very useful, although a glossary would have helped enormously. Gives good coverage of the whole topic but was written before the LHC came on line and therefore is now a little dated. However, I found I could easily understand articles about the LHC and the Higgs Boson having read this.
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