Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction” as Want to Read:
Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  958 ratings  ·  104 reviews
In Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction, best-selling author Frank Close provides a compelling and lively introduction to the fundamental particles that make up the universe. The book begins with a guide to what matter is made up of and how it evolved, and goes on to describe the fascinating and cutting-edge techniques used to study it. The author discusses particle ...more
Paperback, 148 pages
Published July 29th 2004 by Oxford University Press (first published 2004)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Particle Physics, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Particle Physics

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  958 ratings  ·  104 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction
Ahmad Sharabiani
Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #109), Frank Close

In Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction, best-selling author Frank Close provides a compelling and lively introduction to the fundamental particles that make up the universe. The book begins with a guide to what matter is made up of and how it evolved, and goes on to describe the fascinating and cutting-edge techniques used to study it. The author discusses particles such as quarks, electrons, and the
James Hartley
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Good, but not as good as his other VSI book, Nothing, but a great read nevertheless. You´d be amazed how empty things are on the atomic and subatomic levels - far emptier than space, relatively speaking. This book is filled with plenty of great nuggety details like this - Close explaining the size of an atom: "...look at the dot at the end of this sentence. Its ink contains some 100 billion atoms of carbon. To see one of these with the naked eye, you would need to magnify the dot to 100m across" ...more
Sep 25, 2018 added it
Knowing that much about atom and each part of it, it's like a journey to another world we never know about!. Physics is the real magic that's what I believe in.
Apr 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
There is some special sense of futility tied to the task of presenting physics without math. It's like parents trying to explain their impending divorce to their eight-year-old daughter. Bereft of any sort of background knowledge that would allow her to actually understand that reasons for what is happening, the parents must rely upon absolute pronouncements and the deployment of similes even more tortured than this one. But much like that child, I am lacking in background experience. I never le ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, own
Interesting topic but dry execution.
Bojan Tunguz
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the most intriguing and fascinating scientific stories of the 20th century has been the incredible advance in our understanding of matter in its most fundamental form. In a nutshell, the 20th century has seen the vindication of the atomic hypothesis: all of the nature, the matter and even the interactions of matter, can be reduced to a finite number of indivisible particles. It turns out that atoms, the original candidates for irreducible particles as their name suggests, are in fact comp ...more
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
I don't really understand why people think this is a good book. It's alright. There is a section on how particles are probed that is horrifically boring and there are almost no details you would ever want to force your brain to suffer storing. Often the text just reads like a list rather than focusing on underlying principles. Other than that it's an alright primer for those who know nothing about the subject, although it lacks any charm. Strange.

Save yourself the effort and just independently d
Emily Jennings
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really was a great introduction to particle physics. Easy read for anyone with a general physics background and honestly a fun read, too!
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
My old school textbook was woefully irrelevant, incomplete, and unhelpful when it came to giving me a quick overview of the building blocks of fundamental physics. This was close to perfect though. I skipped the chapter on experimental engineering but otherwise every paragraph wrinkled my brain. Spent more time on this VSI than I normally would, and for that I am grateful. This was supposed to be a quick 1hr break in order to understand my other book on Schopenhauer using a physics lens, but now ...more
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
Frank Close packs in a lot of information in this “very short” introduction (notice there’s no promise about difficulty!). That is at once this book’s biggest strength and its potential challenge. The reader who picks it up expecting a breezy, bird’s-eye-view of particle physics is in for a surprise. But if you stick with it, your efforts will be amply rewarded. In ten concise, albeit dense, chapters, Close covers everything from the basic scale of fundamental particles and forces and the three ...more
So Hakim
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physics
As the title says, a *very* short introduction to particle physics. Not that it's bad: with 129 pages the author did good job to explain basic quirks of particle physics, including all the exotic names. The only drawback is in chapter 5-6.

Right after explaining quarks & neutrino, the author suddenly jumps to how accelerators and detectors work -- the experimental detail -- and after that jump back again to the theoretical side about four fundamental forces. I feel the narrative was hurt by this
Portia Costa
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that this was a hard struggle for me to read. Not that there's anything wrong with the book. The author has a great style and explains difficult concepts extremely well. It's just a little too advanced for me. It did fill me with a great sense of wonder and awe though, at the way the universe is built and the magical world of the infinitesimally tiny. Despite my scientific shortcomings, I was able to grasp some new to me knowledge.
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Good summary but gets pretty confusing about 80% into it. Starts talking about Kaons and the varieties. Clearly important stuff, but not explained clearly. A simple summary chart would help. Enjoyable sum,wry though. It is out of date so keeps promising results from LHC. Obviously Higgs is the big news from last year but it would be useful to know if some of the other research suggested bore fruit in the intervening years.
Gustav Tonér
Even though the fundamental building blocks described in this book are hard to relate to in everyday life, trying to figure them out will lead to a better understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe. This matters! (Pun intended)
Christopher Byram
Sep 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I discovered the Very Short Introductions book series from a video on YouTube, uploaded by the channel Tibees, entitled "Books for Learning Physics". In the video, the narrator, Toby Hendy, a mathematics and physics graduate, is present with a guest, David Gozzard, who also has a background in physics. David mentions the Very Short Introductions book series which gives a (very short) introduction on a wide range of topics, such as business management or Islam, and that for physics, you can get t ...more
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Perhaps the subject is too complex for this format, but I found the material impossible to follow.

Particle Physics seems to be, for the most part, a collection of empirically verified facts about different particles and their characteristics, with little in the way of elegant theory to tie it all together (A recurring stanza through the book was something like: "Why is X Fact true? We currently don't know."). As such, it seems like the way the material is organized is of utmost importance for i
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding Overview of Particle Physics

I've always loved cosmology but didn't know much about particle physics. I figured I needed a primer and this was it. Now I'm completely fascinated by it.

The author has the ability to explain concepts in a clear, succinct, and organized yet interesting way. It wasn't dry and neither was it simplistic. It still evokes a sense of wonder.

I would say that it's not really a "Very Short" guide for the lay person. It provides a good amount of detail--enough tha
Aleksandar Ovnarski
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that "Nothing: a short introduction" was so mind-blowing-blowing that I felt inspired to go through everything else the author wrote. This introduction is especially useful in getting a sense of scale (much like Tyson's books on astronomy), and it is easy to understand up to about the middle of the book. From that point on, it gets more difficult. Understanding the subatomic world simply does not come naturally to a human mind (maybe because of the Savannah principle), but no mat ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
I really enjoy Oxford's Very Short Introduction series but this is the weakest one have read. Its serviceable, because it does what it says on the tin, but it is very dry compared to other books in this series I have read. Maybe the subject is a bit "too basic" to make it seem like anything more than a textbook.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent summary of what we know, what we don't know, and what we're trying to know when it comes to the relatively modern branch of science known as particle physics. I'll admit some of the concepts went over my unpracticed mind, but overall the author does a fantastic job of explaining this branch of science that many would say is difficult to learn.
Steve Mitchell
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it
My copy is a little out of date - the CERN Large Hadron Collider and it’s confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson are written in the future tense - but was still worth a read. It does get a little equation heavy towards the end and you need to bear in mind what Niels Bohr said, that If you’re not shocked by it then you haven't understood it.
Francis M. Van Meter
Fairly good insight into particle physics

I enjoyed this book which develops the view of particle physics however it would be high desirable to have it updated with the current findings from the CERN LHC.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
The book describes the historical background of particle physics studies, from its conception to the knowledge we had circa 2012. The book gives a brief description of the atom, what are they made up from (electron, proton and neutron). However, the particle hunt does not end there and later pages we are introduced to quarks, bosons, leptons and other particles in the standard model. While it gives a glimpse of the particles what I found interesting was the engineering aspects of the particle hu ...more
Alok Sharma
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The author has managed to encompass such a mind-boggling, mind exhausting topic into very accessible language.

Anyone interested in understanding the reality to its core constituents as the latest understanding and capability of the scientific community should read this book.

Jayson Virissimo
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This was pretty boring (to me), since it doesn't really discuss potential technological applications of the physics.
Adarsh Agarwal
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
great for introduction to the topics very easy to understand and had fun reading it
Mrwan Mohey
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a good book for physics students and people who have a quite good background on particle physics but if you are an ordinary reader you will have problems with understanding the information.
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well-written, clear and concise. This book is good as a starting point for particle physics if you don't have or has little background about atomic physics.
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good place to start with the subject of particle physics. Very readable if you have no prior knowledge but think in a structured way.
Mario Streger
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Good explanation of the Standard Model with interesting facts. Unfortunately, this book is from 2004 and many discoveries have been made since then, like the Higgs Boson.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Quantum Theory: A Very Short Introduction
  • Relativity: A Very Short Introduction
  • Cosmology: A Very Short Introduction
  • Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
  • Physics: A Very Short Introduction
  • Six Not-So-Easy Pieces: Einstein's Relativity, Symmetry, and Space-Time
  • Philosophy of Science: A Very Short Introduction
  • Beyond Einstein: The Cosmic Quest for the Theory of the Universe
  • The History of Physics: A Very Short Introduction
  • Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction
  • The Elements: A Very Short Introduction
  • Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics By Its Most Brilliant Teacher
  • Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction
  • Physics of the Impossible
  • Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You
  • Philosophy of Law: A Very Short Introduction
  • The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life
  • Political Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
See similar books…

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »
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

News & Interviews

You know the saying: There's no time like the present...unless you're looking for a distraction from the current moment. In that case, we can't...
39 likes · 19 comments
“We are made of atoms. With each breath you inhale a million billion billion atoms of oxygen, which gives some idea of how small each one is. All of them, together with the carbon atoms in your skin, and indeed everything else on Earth, were cooked in a star some 5 billion years ago. So you are made of stuff that is as old as the planet, one-third as old as the universe, though this is the first time that those atoms have been gathered together such that they think that they are you.” 1 likes
More quotes…