When it comes to
particle physics, many readers or, more often, viewers of various documentaries
don't seem to fully understand the topic. Since this is my first book review
here, I'll get something out of the way – I love astrophysics/astronomy books
way more than I love documentaries because I think documentaries are too
shallow. They are o.k. for broader audience I guess, but people are missing out
on a lot.
I used to watch a
lot of these documentaries, many of which are good, but after I began to read,
my understanding of how the world actually works, on both (sub)atomic and astronomical
level, went from vague notion to actual knowledge. Now when I watch a
documentary, I realize how much viewers are missing out.
If you are
interested in broadening your knowledge, the best way to do it is to start with
a book that's easy to read, interesting, but still rich with information. It
also helps if it's short, but that isn't always a good thing.
The book I can
recommend is Neutrino by Frank Close. You may find the topic somewhat narrow if
you just became interested in astrophysics, but chances are you already heard
there's a particle so small it's very hard to detect. Very, very hard to detect.
This book tells the story of many scientists who contributed to the discovery
of neutrino, most notably Ray Davis, John Bahcall and Bruno Pontecorvo. It is a
story about people as much as it is about neutrino. In fact, it is first and
foremost the story of Davis' and Bahcall's decades-long search for evidence on
This is not some
textbook where you are bombarded with facts. Well, that should be obvious, but
the point I'm making is that the way Frank Close tells the story is so good,
the facts about the neutrino itself simply sink in while you read stories from
people's lives. You don't need to have any previous knowledge about particle
itself to fully understand the book and I guarantee that when you're done
reading, you will be glad that you spend a couple of hours on it, instead of
quick look at Wikipedia or watching a documentary.