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Understanding the Universe


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Table of Contents

The Cosmic Onion; The Path to Knowledge; Quarks and Forces; The Higgs Boson; Accelerators and Detectors; Mysteries; Exotic Physics; Cosmology.

About the Author

Don Lincoln is an experimental physicist on the scientific staff of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the world's premier particle physics laboratory. Born in 1964, he received his PhD in 1993 from Rice University, where he was the Lodieska Stockbridge Vaughn Fellow. He then moved to the University of Michigan as a Research Fellow, where he joined the DAE experiment, one of two large international collaborations where the highest-energy research is performed. In 1998, he joined the Fermilab scientific staff. During his tenure at DAE, he has been responsible for a number of multi-million-dollar and very high-tech projects. It was during this time that the DAE experiment (along with its sister experiment) announced the exciting discovery of the top quark. A prolific author, has published over 120 scientific papers in prestigious journals. Don has a passion for public speaking and conveying the meaning of cutting-edge physics research to various audiences. While he has delivered scientific lectures on three continents and in many countries, he has also given over 100 talks to a wide range of audiences, including nonphysicist colleagues, teachers, children of all ages, and many adult groups. He is as comfortable speaking to an audience of hundreds as he is to an audience of one. He is heavily involved with the Fermilab Education and Public Outreach programs and feels that it is the duty of any practicing scientist to share the excitement of their research with others.


Lincoln, a high energy physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), has an infectious love for physics. He also occasionally demonstrates a humorous writing style that successfully engages the reader. On the whole, however, his efforts to explain the basics of quantum physics to the lay reader do not succeed because the material he covers is often too complex to be presented in such a superficial manner, despite the book's 600-plus pages. Readers will be lost in a sea of subatomic particles bosons, leptons, fermions, hadrons, gluons, baryons and they'll be frustrated by the constant refrain that the material is complicated, but they can turn to the works in the bibliography for more detail. Lincoln does do a credible job of explaining some of the early history of physics, and he brings to life some of the excitement associated with multimillion-dollar physics experiments being done worldwide. He also touches on many of the unresolved mysteries of physics: why there appears to be so much more matter than antimatter, whether there are many more than three spatial dimensions and what constitutes the "missing" matter in the universe, to name just a few. By attempting to cover it all, Lincoln produces a very large but largely unsatisfying volume. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

""The author is well equipped to write a book on the topic ... It is not light reading, but worth the effort ... Lincoln is careful to distinguish between what is known versus what is merely dreamed."
.,." Lincoln enlivens the landscape with fresh details, irreverent remarks on the characters, and explanations that are often completely original ..."

Lincoln is a physicist and the collaborating author on numerous research papers at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), where he investigates high-energy particles. A veteran of many popular talks on physics, he charmingly relates the tale of humankind's almost insatiable curiosity about the ultimate nature of nature and the quest to determine the basic particles of matter. His style is engaging and obviously directed to informed lay readers, but the more scientifically minded will find it equally appealing. Still, at over 500 pages, it is not light reading. If digested with the notion that this topic is presented in a broad swath, both historically and scientifically, and not meant to be definitive, the work offers readers an appreciation of the investigative procedure, the accumulated body of research, and the people who did the investigating. Recommended for public and academic collections. Margaret F. Dominy, Drexel Univ. Lib., Philadelphia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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