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3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  288 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Neutrinos are as near to nothing as anything we know, and so elusive that they are almost invisible. Frank Close tells the story of the neutrino, explaining their growing significance, and looking at how neutrino astronomy is at the threshold of enabling us to look into distant galaxies and to finding echoes of the Big Bang.
Hardcover, 181 pages
Published December 9th 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published October 14th 2010)
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Aug 16, 2013 Zofwonderthemighty rated it really liked it
As expected, I was completely out of my element here. Too much Science. However, I understood enough of it to see what was going on. Kind of. Here's brief outline.
Neutrinos are byproducts of beta decay, a type of radioactivity were mass turns into energy or something. So these scientists were examining this and they found that something was wrong- their was some particles missing from the transformation. Paulis, a scientist back then (early to mid-20th century) had an idea that there was a massl
Oct 27, 2015 Peter rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
A reasonably detailed and (as far as I can tell) well-rounded account of the discovery, proof, and application of neutrinos in 20th and early 21st century science. In addition to explaining what neutrinos actually are and how they behave, the author also describes the life and work of the many key scientists who contributed to the field.

The fact that they were discovered at all is remarkable, and is a testament to the dedication of a tiny handful of people. This fact is brought forward very clea
Feb 17, 2011 Dale rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, nonfiction
The neutrino is a pesky critter: nearly impossible to detect and changing flavor at the drop of a hat. Enrico Fermi and Bruno Pontecorvo were the first to realize that neutrinos must exist (based on conservation of spin), but it was to be a long time from those first conjectures to the first definitive detection of a neutrino. There are actually three flavors of neutrino (corresponding to the three leptons: electrons, muons, and tau particles), plus their anti-neutrino counterparts. It turns out ...more
Jul 01, 2015 Cade rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
This book weaves together two different books. One is a qualitative description of what neutrinos are and how they behave. This makes interesting reading, and it is the reason I originally picked this book up. However, the other part of this book is an exciting historical account of the way scientists have thought about, sought, and found neutrinos. This aspect of the book reads as easily as a fictional narrative, and this is what made this book a page-turner that I had trouble putting down. Non ...more
Mar 28, 2011 Randy rated it liked it
Only two chapters in.. but Close is immediately, obviously a wonderful story teller.

This is (apparently) the story of Wolfgang Pauli, he of the Exclusion Principle, and Ray Price. Pauli for being the visionary who realized neutrinos must exist. Price for being the experimentalist who observed them, after decades of effort, and in the face of much naysaying.

I'm very pleased with the depth of the science, and also the lack of math and higher physics. It's an easy read, yet very informative.
Jul 11, 2012 Supreeth rated it liked it
Neutrino is one of those books which you go on reading solely for the purpose of finishing it. Though the book starts off on a very exciting and promising note, it goes on to bore you with its technical and irrelevant details. But if you're somebody who's extremely passionate about Neutrino astronomy or someone who would do anything to satiate one's curiosity, this is the right book for you.. But on the bright side, the book has a lot to offer. The language is clear, lucid and the author is succ ...more
Oct 18, 2015 Kaye rated it liked it
This book was decent, but I felt like the language could have been tighter. Close repeated himself quite often, and the flow of the ideas didn't always seem the most sensible when it came to presenting the history of the search for neutrinos. However, the science descriptions were very good, so this is a decent read.
Andy Iverson
Jan 05, 2014 Andy Iverson rated it really liked it
This books narrates the story of how we know what we currently know about neutrinos. As a byproduct, it also teaches exactly what it is we know about neutrinos. This was an easy-to-read book, which is quite an accomplishment for such a sciency piece of work. There was no math or anything. I was honestly a bit disappointed that it didn't go very in-depth on any complex concepts, especially the weak force and symmetry breaking (it essentially says "some people found out symmetry breaks"). But that ...more
Noah Soudrette
Nov 28, 2011 Noah Soudrette rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I picked up this book because of all the recent news about the possibility of faster-than-light Neutrinos. I had decided to read all I could about them. About two years ago I had begun reading Frank Close's book on antimatter and in looking at his bibliography saw he had a book on Neutrinos. Since his book is the only non-textbook about said particle, my choice was simple. This slim volume is cleanly written and a relatively easy read for the layman. There were only a few times where I became ad ...more
Andy Love
Jul 02, 2012 Andy Love rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a short book, but a comprehensive one, covering the initial conceptualization of neutrinos, the original attempts to actually detect such an evasive particle and the incredible improvements in detection in the modern era that have validated our models of the solar interior and the details of supernova explosions, and may provide new insights into gamma ray bursts and the core of the Milky Way. It's both interesting and inspiring to read about the immense effort involved in discovering ne ...more
Delson Roche
Feb 20, 2015 Delson Roche rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Fast to read, easy to read and even without a science background, one can pretty much catch up with everything. Very well written.
May 27, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: summer-13
A great work of popular science writing, just the right level of depth. Close tells the story of the elementary particle known as the neutrino and the many scientists who studied it. At its least interesting, it reads like particularly friendly physics textbook. I most enjoyed reading about the one most dramatic experiment in neutrino history, which involved building massive tanks of cleaning fluid in the deepest caverns of abandoned mines to detect neutrinos emitted from the Sun while eliminati ...more
Zoffix Znet
Nov 10, 2013 Zoffix Znet rated it it was amazing
As other books by Frank Close, this one shines as a chunk of purest gold. The book elucidates incredible perseverance and belief of key individuals who played role in the discovery of a neutrino (the subatomic particle). You are taken on an exciting journey that begins with Wolfgang Pauli proposing neutrinos and, reflecting onto how elusive they are, offering a case of champagne to anyone who finds them. Over the course of the book, the neutrino gets found, the champagne gets delivered, and the ...more
Feb 12, 2012 Gabriel rated it really liked it
This was a nice, brisk survey of the history of neutrino physics up through about 2005. It does not include any discussion of the most recent innovations in the field - hints for non-zero theta-13, plans for untangling the mass hierarchy or hunting for CP violation, etc. - but it is easily timely enough for the interested lay-person or even students in the field. The book is fast-paced and lucid, though as a professional physicist it is hard for me to really gauge its accessibility.
Jun 01, 2011 aimee rated it really liked it

Frank Close does a pretty good job of explaining not only what neutrinos are (remarkably strange little critters), but also how they came to be posited and proven, over the space of decades.

And in telling the story of the neutrino, he also ably tells the story of the scientists behind it, including at least one unexpected (well, when he set out to write the book) protagonist.

Thoroughly recommended. I'm going to be seeking out more of his work...
Considering the recent discovery of faster-than-light neutrinos, it seemed like a good idea to brush up on the subject. A concise and clear guide to the neutrino, and the men who discovered this particle. Though it profiles these brilliant men, biography does not get in the way of explaining the discovery process and science of these mysterious particles. I was also surprised to find out how many Italians there were in particle physics.
Mar 24, 2011 Madison rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this concise explanation of what neutrinos are and how we came to know about them. My favorite snippet of the book was an interaction between the neutrino scientists and nuclear power plant managers, with the people at the power plant insisting that no neutrinos escape the plant, believing the scientists are enquiring about an environmental contaminant instead of a harmless particle.
Jan 30, 2013 Rachael rated it really liked it
A quick tour through the history of neutrino theory and experimentation, as well as a forward look. Close gets lightly into the physics, some of the odd side stories of the characters involved and descriptions of the experiments. Not a heavy duty book by any means, but does touch on nucleosynthesis, some basics of weak interactions and tries to describe neutrino oscillations.
Dec 23, 2015 Woolstar rated it it was amazing
A good history of the scientists and projects involved in forming the theory and practical observations that have led to what we know so far about the neutrino. Some times knowledge is gained quickly, sometimes very slowly. Most interesting that chemists consider detecting one atom of argon in an enormous tank of cleaning solution "easy".
David Fernandes
Jun 17, 2013 David Fernandes rated it really liked it
Frank Close wrote a tribute to the scientists and institutions that made an one century quest through Radioactivity, the Sun and Particle Physics in order to reveal the nature of the neutrino. With a free of scientific jargon and a captivating narrative, "Neutrino" unveils the mysteries of a particle essential to understand our Universe.
Sep 09, 2011 Robert rated it liked it
Narrow topic, but an interesting book, especially the frustratingly long effort to reconcile observed electron neutrinos from the Sun with reality. Has a rather repetitive recap at the end that ends up recapping some of the recap which rather bogged things down. I definitely know more about neutrinos than I did before though.
Feb 01, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
Only about two chapters in, but this book pulled me in like no non-fiction book ever has before. I look forward to each pages turning. fascinating.

UPDATE: Finished this book, and wow! It was incredibly well written, concise, and informative. Fun to read, even though it was all sciency, and easy to understand.
Barry Alexander
Sep 19, 2013 Barry Alexander rated it liked it
More of a concise history of the people involved with the discovery and formulation of theories of neutrinos. The detail is either going to be appreciated or bother as it can be quite dry sometimes. Never the less I enjoyed learning more about neutrinos and path taken to understanding them.
Julian Onions
A very good summary of all that's known about neutrinos, which turns out to be not a whole lot. There is still so much we don't know about them, and in spite of their brief time in the limelight last year when they seemed to be breaking the rules, they are still very mysterious.
Sep 03, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
An engrossing and entertaining history of the invention and discovery of the neutrino. As with most "popular" books about science, clarity would have improved with a little mathematics, but that is prohibited by the publishers of these works, alas.
Jun 01, 2015 James rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
I enjoyed the book and like many people found it to be short, concise and very readable. I did not find the book to be overly technical or require a degree in physics to follow the story. Quite an impressive particle to pass through matter.
Alan Dean
Sep 21, 2012 Alan Dean rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
This is a wonderful walk through the story of the neutrino. Not very dense on maths or the physics, it could be read and enjoyed by most most readers with even a passing interest in physics.
Dec 02, 2012 Ikiryo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cosmology
Very clear and comprehensible insight into the world of neutrinos, how they were first discovered and the amazing journey that led to its introduction into the standard model of physics.
Mar 26, 2011 Gary rated it really liked it
Shelves: physics
As per usual close's books are short, informative and excellently written. If you have any interest in neutrinos or physics in general you should get this book and enjoy!
John Parrish
Nov 17, 2015 John Parrish rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Great book, fairly easy read for a pretty complex topic.
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Francis Edwin Close (Arabic: فرانك كلوس)

In addition to his scientific research, he is known for his lectures and writings making science intelligible to a wider audience.

From Oxford he went to Stanford University in California for two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow on the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. In 1973 he went to the Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire and then to CERN in Switzerland fro
More about Frank Close...

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