Nucleus: a trip into the heart of the matter

Mackintosh, Ray; Al-Khalili, Jim; Jonson, Bjorn and Pena, Teresa (2001). Nucleus: a trip into the heart of the matter. United Kingdom: Canopus Publishing Limited.



At the core of the atom, enshrouded by electrons, lies the nucleus. The discovery of the nucleus transformed the past century and will revolutionize this one. Nuclear physics is an exciting, cutting-edge science that has helped to save lives through innovative medical technologies, such as the MRI. In nuclear astrophysics, state-of-the-art theoretical and computer models help to explain the powerful stellar explosions known as supernovas, to account for how stars shine, and to describe how the chemical elements in the universe were formed. This illustrated volume describes the evolution of our understanding of this phenomenon. The authors, who include expert nuclear physicists and acclaimed science journalists, tell the story of the nucleus from the early experimental work of the quiet New Zealander Lord Rutherford to the huge atom-smashing machines of today and beyond. They discuss the protons and neutrons which make up the nucleus, why some nuclei crumble and are radioactive, and how scientists came up with the "standard model", which shows the nucleus composed of quarks held together by gluons. The work also tells the tale of the people behind the struggle to understand this fascinating subject more fully, and of how a vibrant research community uses the power of the nucleus to probe unanswered scientific questions while others seek to harness the nucleus as a tool of 21st-century medicine.

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