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? 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. They explain both the history of antimatter and recent advances in particle physics and cosmology. And they discuss the enormous, high-precision experiments that particle physicists are undertaking to test the laws of physics at their most fundamental levels--and how their results reveal tantalizing new possibilities for solving this puzzle at the heart of the cosmos.
The Mystery of the Missing Antimatter is at once a history of ideas and an exploration of modern science and the frontiers of human knowledge. This exciting, accessible book reveals how the interplay of theory and experimentation advances our understanding and redefines the questions we ask about our universe.
"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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