In Search of the Elusive and Mysterious Neutrino
320 pp., 6 x 9 in, 20 b&w illus.
- Published: February 28, 2023
- Publisher: The MIT Press
The fascinating story of science in pursuit of the ghostly, ubiquitous subatomic particle—the neutrino.
Isaac Asimov is said to have observed of the neutrino: “The only reason scientists suggested its existence was their need to make calculations come out even. And yet the nothing-particle was not a nothing at all.” In fact, as one of the most enigmatic and most populous particles in the universe—about 100 trillion are flying through you every second—the neutrino may hold the clues to some of our deepest cosmic mysteries. In Ghost Particle, Alan Chodos and James Riordon recount the dramatic history of the neutrino—from the initial suggestion that the particle was merely a desperate solution to a puzzle that threatened to undermine the burgeoning field of particle physics to its modern role in illuminating the universe via neutrino telescopes.
Alan Chodos and James Riordon are deft and engaging guides as they conduct readers through the experiences of intrepid scientists and the challenges they faced, and continue to face, in their search for the ghostly neutrino. Along the way, the authors provide expert insight into the significance of neutrino research from the particle's first, momentous discovery to recent, revolutionary advances in neutrino detection and astronomy. Chodos and Riordon describe how neutrinos may soon provide clues to some of the biggest questions we encounter today, including how to understand the dark matter that makes up most of the universe—and why anything exists in the universe at all.
“In the time it takes to read this blurb, over 500 trillion neutrinos will pass harmlessly through your body. This readable and informative book will introduce you to state-of-the-art particle physics and some of the biggest mysteries of the universe.”
James Kakalios, Physics Professor at the University of Minnesota; author of The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics
“Neutrinos are the final frontier of the known particles. They exist, but remain mysterious in many ways. Ghost Particle is an ideal introduction to, and captivating history of, these almost-invisible particles that are zipping through our bodies all the time.”
Sean Carroll, author of The Biggest Ideas in the Universe: Space, Time, and Motion