Publication Date: 06/07/2023 ISBN: 9781526618993 Category:

The Matter of Everything

Suzie Sheehy

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication Date: 06/07/2023 ISBN: 9781526618993 Category:
Paperback / Softback


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‘A splendid idea, vividly carried out: I enjoyed this book enormously’ PHILIP PULLMAN
‘A rich history of beautiful discoveries’ ROBIN INCE
‘An all-action thriller, laced with some of the most profound ideas humans have ever had’ BRIAN ENO

How did a piece of gold foil completely change our understanding of atoms? What part did a hot air balloon play in the discovery of cosmic rays? How do we know all that we know about the world today?

It’s not simply because we have the maths – it’s because we have done the experiments.

Accelerator physicist Suzie Sheehy introduces us to the creative and curious people who, through a combination of genius, tenacity and luck, staged the groundbreaking experiments of the twentieth century. From the serendipitous discovery of X-rays in a German laboratory, to the scientists trying to prove Einstein wrong (and inadvertently proving him right), The Matter of Everything takes us on a journey through the history of experiments that transformed our world.

Publisher Review

Vividly described . . . A sweeping but detailed and pacy account of 100 years of scientific advancement, The Matter of Everything has a cheering takeaway. What such leaps lie ahead? What questions seem intractable now that we won't give a thought to in the future? Sheehy mounts the case that - with persistence, curiosity and collaboration - we may yet overcome challenges that now seem impossible * New Scientist * The Matter of Everything . . . brings out the stars of experimental physics, the people who directly observe, hypothesise and build machines firing beams of matter and energy to test theory against reality . . . Give[s] a real sense of the thrill of scientific discovery * The Times * The perfect bedside book for anyone who wants to ponder the remarkable achievements of physics. A rich history of beautiful discoveries -- Robin Ince It's a rare writer that can pluck the biggest ideas in science out of the sky, and bring them down to earth in a way that anyone can understand. In her first fantastic book, Suzie takes on the seemingly unreachable inner life of atoms, and places it directly into our hands. More than just a history of particle physics, this is an interconnected web of experiments, people and stories that are simultaneously passionate and profound -- Helen Arney This is a book about the fundamental problems of physics written from a viewpoint I hadn't come across before: that of the experimenter. Someone first thought of the cloud chamber, or the cyclotron, or the MRI scanner, and that person (or that team) had to build one: you couldn't buy one off the shelf. The actual sequence of experiments, and failures, and more experiments, and success, is a fascinating one, especially for any readers excited, as I am, by the thought of making things. A splendid idea, vividly carried out: I enjoyed this book enormously -- Philip Pullman This fascinating and highly readable book captures the radical excitement of experimental science as it's being made. It's an all-action thriller, laced with some of the most profound ideas humans have ever had -- Brian Eno A wonderful telling of the history of particle physics . . . Suzie has written a book that makes these important stories and ideas from the history of science accessible, and genuinely enjoyable to read -- Alom Shaha A magical tour of the great experiments defining the most incredible century in physics . . . Sheehy seamlessly weaves the science and history with why this matters to all of us: as she expertly illustrates, our quest to understand the tiniest of particles has had an enormous impact on technology, health and society, reaching far beyond the lab -- Andrew Steele, author of AGELESS An impassioned, elegant history of particle physics and its applications. Dr Sheehy adroitly brings together a glittering cast of characters - from the famous giants of the field to the unjustly overlooked scientists whose shoulders they stood on - to tell the story of the most fundamental of all sciences -- Ananyo Bhattacharya, author of THE MAN FROM THE FUTURE A fabulous read, tracing the history of twelve experiments in particle physics from idea to impact, critically through the eyes of the scientists. The stories in and of themselves are fascinating, and together illustrate a larger story about science: the power of international collaboration and competition, the generations its takes for science to translate from the lab to social benefit, the interdependency between basic and applied and the unwritten contribution of many women scientists -- Jonathan Grant, Director of Different Angles and author of THE NEW POWER UNIVERSITY This is storytelling at its very best and why I fell in love with physics. Sheehy's attention to detail shines through every story and yet there's a lightness of touch in the way she highlights the passion, drive, ingenuity and, ultimately, the sheer triumph of science in unlocking nature's secrets -- Jim Al-Khalili A thrilling ride through ingenious experiments that changed the world: this book matters! -- Dr Karl

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