In the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang lingers a question at the heart of our very existence: why does the universe contain matter but almost no antimatter? The laws of physics tell us that equal amounts of matter and antimatter were produced in the early universe—but then something odd happened. Matter won out over antimatter; had it not, the universe today would be dark and barren.
But how and when did this occur? In The Mystery of the Missing Antimatter, Helen Quinn and Yossi Nir guide readers into the very heart of this mystery—and along the way offer an exhilarating grand tour of cutting-edge physics.
Helen R. Quinn is professor emerita of particle physics and astrophysics at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center at Stanford University. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, she is the coauthor of The Charm of Strange Quarks: Mysteries and Revolutions of Particle Physics. Yossi Nir is professor of physics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.
"The big mystery about antimatter, as far as scientists are concerned, is why there isn't more of it in the universe. This is a serious and well-researched exposition of particle physics and cosmology that shows how science came upon antimatter and is now trying to understand the asymmetry between matter and antimatter. A nice feature is the occasional inclusion of personal recollections of the development of the standard model and of the scientists involved, which adds charm to the narrative. [O]ne of the best overviews...essential reading for students of physics who want to know what research in theoretical particle physics is doing."--Frank Close, Times Higher Education
"Quinn and Nir have a daunting task explaining . . . one of the most active areas of theoretical physics today. If you like reading cosmologist Steven Hawking's A Brief History of Time, or particle physicist Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe, you will find The Mystery of the Missing Antimatter an absorbing scientific whodunit."--Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History
"The standard model of particle physics is Quinn and Nir's arena for discussing one of its inadequacies: it has yet to answer why in the trillionths of a second after the big bang, there was a tiny numerical superiority of matter over antimatter; if there was not, atoms would not have formed. Addressing nonscientists, the authors describe the nature of this intriguing problem...[This book] will challenge yet reward readers with understanding of a fascinating subject at the frontier of science."--Gilbert Taylor, Booklist
"[For] anyone wanting to know how physics works and physicists think, the writers have made a difficult topic comprehensible as well as compelling."--Joe Mielke, ForeWord Magazine
"[A] remarkable book which provides one of the most satisfying tours of particle physics I have ever read."--Marcus Chown, BBC Focus Magazine
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