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Particle Physics For Non Physicists: A Tour Of The Microcosmos

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  338 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Professor Steven Pollock of the University of Colorado at Boulder delivers twenty-four lectures on particle physics.
Audio Cassette, 200 pages
Published by Teaching Company (first published 2003)
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Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The choice is yours. You can let the popular media and the Mystics continue to tell you that particles physics is woo and mysticism or you can listen to this highly accessible lecture and realize what particle physics is all about and learn why neutrinos are so important, what c-p violation means, and what makes up the universe at the most fundamental level.

The lecturer doesn't tell you anything without first telling you the context and how we know what we know. I still don't understand what a
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating overview. Dr. Pollock is clear and decent about explaining the intuitive side of a mathematical field.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh, this was pure delight. A very accessible and clear description of particle physics that brought order and clarity to the particle zoo that kinda already filled my head from reading other, less well organized guides to the same rough territory. It is clear that in addition to being a physicist, Prof. Pollock is an avid educator and an excellent lecturer (how he times each of his lectures to come out at 30 minutes is beyond me), keenly aware of the boundaries and (lack of) intersection of the ...more
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-non-fiction
About the best book i have listened to on particle physics. Despite being branded as a course, the lectures make a better book on particle physics for normal readers than almost any popular books. This is possibly one of the best early courses for anyone studying the standard model.

The author has a knack of keeping extremely complicated things extremely simple. He covers many grounds in a relatively short time but while rarely appearing superficial. His description on various particles, their
Nicholas Dummer
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've spent the last few weeks listening to this at work. It is a great synopsis of our current understanding of particle physics (up to 2009 so it doesn't include the discovery, only the theory of the Higgs). I enjoyed the discussion of the history and Pollock's stories about some of the physicists. At times, he really makes an effort to tell the story which is so often lost in such technical subjects such as these. I highly recommend this to anyone with the slightest interest in fundamental ...more
Alex Shrugged
The lecturer has an easy-going personality. He seems a little young. He avoids math, but he gets into jargon, defining and then using the names of the various sub-atomic particles. I had no problem keeping them straight since I've heard the names before. If you are a first-timer to this subject, you might have to listen to some lectures twice to make sure you don't get lost later on.

Warning: The lectures were produced in 2003 before the Large Hadron Collider found the Higgs Boson in 2012. The
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-courses
This is hard to rate, because I'm not sure how much of the difficulty of this topic is due to its complexity, and how much is due to my density. I feel like I learned a lot of physics nomenclature, and now I can impress my friends with terms like lepton and W boson and renormalisation... But I still don't really get what any of it is, fundamentally. I don't think electrons are tiny dots, but the lecturer described them that way. He also gave at least a whole lecture saying how good the standard ...more
Prajwal Paudyal
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The fundamentals into the fundamentals. The book demystifies the building blocks of the world as postulated and discovered by the standard model. I only realized the book was older when Higgs boson was mentioned and the fact that its discovery was predicted a long time ago. It was my first reintroduction to physics after what I had learned in high school. Now Im curious enough, I'll pursue a few more books just to keep informed. Great job by the author Dr. Pollock.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: heard
This kept me engaged the whole time, and I felt I was able to keep up with the material throughout the course. Pollock keeps math out of it, which was good for me as I was mostly listening to this while cycling.
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just the right book for me. I love the subject but am unlikely to sit down with a pencil and paper to do the math (it's only an interest, not a job). This allows me to grasp the ideas and have a crude understanding of what is going on in there. Pollock is an entertaining instructor.
Lolo Rose
Aug 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Didn't quite finish... He wasn't breaking things down exactly.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Much easier to understand that the Elegant Universe. Though, truth be told it was still confusing and the thought of studying physics for fun sounds very daunting past the first couple of lessons.
Frank Davis
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well delivered, easy to follow and absolutely fascinating. I was captivated from beginning to end.
Grumblebum Trumper
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Some of the later material has been surpassed since publication but is still an excellent series of lectures on the history of and grounding in Particle Physics.
Ralph Trickey
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
Excellent introduction
My only quibble is that it's a bit dated. That doesn't change any of the material, but it ends before the LHC was online and has missed a few of the latest developments.
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating topic, explained well. It sparks my curiosity and desire to problem solve.
Craig Dean
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating listen, really accessible but interesting.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible, science, physics
One of the best overviews of Particle Physics.
Andy Boyan
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Everybody should read this. Especially anyone in any of the social sciences. Excellent excellent.
Kevin Dobill
Mar 06, 2017 marked it as partially-read
Shelves: audiobook
Halfway through, finished volume one. Very cool, but at this point is getting deeper - I am still wowed by Everything is Made of Atoms.
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very accessible introduction to particle physics. I have a reasonably good grasp of Newtonian physics, and have previously attempted to learn more about particle physics online. I think I knew more than the general public about particle physics, but still not very much at all. I felt like this series of lectures did an excellent job of presenting both the basics and some slightly more advanced topics in particle physics in a way that could be grasped by someone with a decent knowledge ...more
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Just started on this audio series in an effort to accumulate more knowledge not needed for my daily life.

The summary of the book is published as follows:

Would you like to know how the universe works? The science that has found many of the answers to that profound and age-old question is particle physics: the study of those impossibly tiny particles with unbelievably strange names:bosons and leptons, quarks and neutrinos.


I've just completed section 1 and wanted to summarize that there is ALOT
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-read
Fantastic audiobook - teaches a layman's conceptual understanding of what the stuff the makes up the Universe is, what we know about how it works, how we discovered what we know, and some of the important things we don't know. - all leading to the Standard Model used by physicists to describe it all. Kind of troubling how big some of the gaps seem, extremely impressive how much has been discovered.

Explained very well, without hardly any math, and ought to be accessible to just about anyone. This
Lenka Příplatová
I have enjoyed listening to this course even though I already have some superficial level of understanding of particle physics. It is not a book for professionals in the field or anything close to the field, but for the people with limited knowledge of physics and mathematics, it is a concisely retold story of each particles of nature with historical excursion into its theoretical prediction and discovery stripped of all the maths behind them. Beyond the realm of physics, it might be useful for ...more
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physics
One of the best books about the subatomic, and I'm a big fan of prof. Pollock.
No, I mean this is the second time I'm in particle zoo with prof. Pollock, it's just that first time I was not a GR member. What is true, man always go to the basics when encounters issues on higher level. Well, I've found myself trapped with an issue while in read the "A guide for the perplexed" from prof. Jim Al-Khalili. This is a higher level quantum, and basics are more than needed.
That's how this book is
Anthony Jiles
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding course. Quenched a thirst I've carried for years to understand the world at the quantum level. Paired with Absolutely Small: How Quantum Theory Explains Our Everyday World, I found that I truly acquired an understanding and renewed desire to learn more. Actually, I've found parallels and practical applications to my life philosophy. Would recommend this to anyone that's ever been curious for at least 1 second of their lives.
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think this text is a good review for someone who has been away from physics (or particle physics) for a while. I felt lucky that I have some history and knowledge in this field (albeit, very light). For the casual listener with little-to-no background in physics or science, I would recommend taking a couple physics courses in person first.

Overall, it was informative and interesting.
Dawn Anderson
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: science, audiobooks
It wasn't a bad book but I have listen to better courses. I don't know if it was the Professor but he didn't really keep my attention. I had to force myself to keep listening and with that being said I still haven't been able to finish it...sad but true. I did manage to get about 3/4 of the way through before calling it quits. I will try to finish it at some point but I need a break for now.
R. August
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Thoroughly enjoyable, but a little light on the re-cap side of things which would have been useful, as it was very easy to get lost among the gluons, leptons, spin, anti-spin, charmed, strangeness factors, j/psi, etc. etc. etc. I thought that I had a good handle on layman particle physics but I was proved wrong. A second reading would not go amiss...
Christopher C. Fuchs
Good overview of the zoo of particles, comparisons between them, context in the wider world of physics, history of the discipline, links to other disciplines, unsolved puzzles in particle physics, and where particle physics is going next. Dr. Pollock is an engaging speaker and writer who presents a balanced and well-rounded view of his subject.
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