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Atom Land

A Guided Tour Through the Strange (and Impossibly Small) World of Particle Physics

By Jon Butterworth

Journey into an unseen world—and to the frontiers of human knowledge

Welcome to Atom Land, the impossibly small world of quantum physics. With award–winning physicist Jon Butterworth as your guide, you’ll set sail from Port Electron in search of strange new terrain. Each discovery will expand the horizons of your trusty map—from the Hadron Island to the Isle of Quarks and beyond. Just beware of Dark Energy and other sea monsters!

A masterful work of metaphor, Atom Land also gives form to the forces that shape the universe: Electromagnetism is a highway system; the strong force, a railway; the weak force, an airline. But, like Butterworth, you may find that curiosity is the strongest force of all—one that pulls you across the subatomic seas, toward the unknown realm of Antimatter, and to the very outer reaches of the cosmos.

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Jon Butterworth

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Review quotes
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title
An Amazon Best Book of March—Nonfiction

“Take a tour through the subatomic world with a leading physicist at CERN as he explains the electron ports, boson continents and hadron islands you see along the way.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Butterworth weaves a wonderful metaphor of the world of subatomic physics, sure to engage and enlighten laymen about the world of particle physics. . . . Written at a level accessible to a high school or liberal arts student, it still contains enough interesting material to make for enjoyable light reading for a science student. . . . A highly engaging and entertaining book.”—Choice

“An amusing journey through the obscure world of particle physics . . . illuminates the murkiest of concepts.”—Scientific American

“A charming, informative overview of particle physics . . . make[s] learning about this field almost effortless.”—Library Journal, starred review

“Butterworth expertly handles even the thorniest theories and will satisfy world-weary scientists and amateur physics aficionados alike.”—Publishers Weekly

“A noble . . . effort to demystify quantum physics.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Yearning for a late holiday? Bosonia, the Isle of Leptons and farthest Antimatter beckon in this bracing voyage into particle physics, captained by experimental physicist Jon Butterworth. Ever an original writer, he maps the territory of the standard model and beyond, elucidating in turn wave—particle duality, the quantum field and the subatomic realm, all the way to ripples in space-time and the hunt for the Higgs boson (which, as a veteran of the Large Hadron Collider at Europe's physics lab CERN, he navigates expertly). Sea legs achieved, you’re ready for wilder shores, such as the Dirac—Milne universe.”—Nature

“A magnificent, compelling, and insightful voyage to the frontier of knowledge from a great writer with a deep understanding.”—Brian Cox, author of Why Does E=mc2?

“These are exciting times for fundamental physics, and Butterworth describes with clarity, humor, and enthusiasm the lie of the land at the ultimate frontier. You will not find a better tour guide.”—Times Higher Education
Product Details
Number of pages
Publication date
March 20, 2018