Atom Land
For fans of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry: a richly conjured world, in map and metaphor, of particle physicsAtom Land brings the impossibly small world of particle physics to life, taking readers on a guided journey through the subatomic world. Readers will sail the subatomic seas in search of electron ports, boson continents, and hadron islands. The sea itself is the quantum field, complete with quantum waves. Beware dark energy and extra dimensions, embodied by fantastical sea creatures prowling the far edges of the known world.Your tour guide through this whimsical—and highly instructive— world is Jon Butterworth, leading physicist at CERN (the epicenter of today’s greatest findings in physics). Over a series of journeys, he shows how everything fits together, and how a grasp of particle physics is key to unlocking a deeper understanding of many of the most profound mysteries—and science’s possible answers—in the known universe.

Atom Land Details

TitleAtom Land
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 20th, 2018
PublisherThe Experiment
ISBN-139781615193738
Rating
GenreScience, Nonfiction, Physics, Quantum Mechanics

Atom Land Review

  • Joseph
    January 1, 1970
    Atom Land: A Guided Tour Through the Strange (and Impossibly Small) World of Particle Physics by Jon Butterworth. Butterworth is a lecture in particle physics at a layman's level. Butterworth is a physics professor at University College London and a member of the Atlas experiment at Cern's Large Hadron Collider. He studied Physics at the University of Oxford, gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1989 followed by a Doctor of Philosophy in particle physics in 1992. His Ph.D. research used the ZEUS Atom Land: A Guided Tour Through the Strange (and Impossibly Small) World of Particle Physics by Jon Butterworth. Butterworth is a lecture in particle physics at a layman's level. Butterworth is a physics professor at University College London and a member of the Atlas experiment at Cern's Large Hadron Collider. He studied Physics at the University of Oxford, gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1989 followed by a Doctor of Philosophy in particle physics in 1992. His Ph.D. research used the ZEUS particle detector to investigate R-parity violating supersymmetry at the Hadron-Electron Ring Accelerator (HERA) at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg.Quantum physics, particle physics, and hard science for laymen have been around for some time. In the early 1980s, I read Taking the Quantum Leap by Fred Allan Wolf. I also read Feynman's autobiographical works on his career and work. Today the there are hundreds of documentaries and books on the subject from basic physics to the so-called Holographic Principle. These are written either at a level that a high school graduate or liberal arts major can easily understand with a bit of faith in the mathematics around the theory that is not included. The math is impossibly complex for someone outside the field. Back in the 1980s, I ordered a two-book set on String theory through a catalog. I received two books of nothing but mathematical formulas and proofs far beyond my calculus lessons. There is a great effort involved in translating mathematical proofs into something that is understandable to an educated general public.Atom Land works on three themes. First, it is about particle physics from the basics to the exotic. All the various points are made from the two-slit experiment to what makes up protons and neutrons and the forces that allow them to exist. Some time is given to explain the neutrino detectors. There is all the fascinating science that is included in other works. Great minds are also included like Dirac and Maxwell.Second, Butterworth's title invokes the classic novella Flatland originally written as a satire of Victorian England but remembered more so for its explanation of dimensions as a three-dimensional sphere describes a two-dimensional society. Third, Butterworth creates a map of the particle physics. There is the Isle of Leptons, Atom Land, Hadron Island, Isle of Quarks, Bosonia, and like all good old maps, there is a "Here be Dragons" section reserved for anti-matter and other dimensions. The lands all have cities that are (Isle of Lepton -- Strange, Charm, Top, Bottom...) which are connected by roads and related forces and particles connected by air routes. The map is very well done and well thought out and could be a great teaching aid. I was most impressed with the map.Atom Land for the good and potential it has seems to be geared to a high school or liberal arts level. I do have a liberal arts degree but still felt a bit patronized by the level of discussion. I have read and reviewed quite a bit in this area and even in my liberal arts degree, my electives were eaten up by science classes. This would be a great book for someone without much experience or reading on the subject or as a teaching aid/support material.  There is a great deal of information presented and presented in an easily understandable format.  
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  • Jim Razinha
    January 1, 1970
    I am obliged to The Experiment (independent publisher) for providing me an Advance Reader Copy of the American edition through NetGalley.This is a wonderful book. I quickly grew tired of the travel metaphor that Prof. Butterworth uses, but shed that imagined weariness when he got into weak forces and by the end, was a wholehearted fan. I have not come across a better, layperson's explanation of particle physics than this book. No, it's not rigorously mathematically bound, nor is this a classroom I am obliged to The Experiment (independent publisher) for providing me an Advance Reader Copy of the American edition through NetGalley.This is a wonderful book. I quickly grew tired of the travel metaphor that Prof. Butterworth uses, but shed that imagined weariness when he got into weak forces and by the end, was a wholehearted fan. I have not come across a better, layperson's explanation of particle physics than this book. No, it's not rigorously mathematically bound, nor is this a classroom text. What it is is an eminently readable, broad scope relation of particle physics from atoms to major subparticles to constituents and carriers and offspring/by products...to the theoretical beyond. I have more than a passing, if infrequent, interest, and somewhat more than average (but far less than a practicing physicist's) understanding of particle physics, quantum electrodynamics, quantum chromodynamics; Butterworth's descriptions are marvelous summaries of the prevailing theories, their histories, their interrelations. I came away with a better understanding of the weak force and associated bosons than before.I can gush all day on this...it's very good. It takes a highly knowledgeable and skilled writer to distill complex concepts to easily understandable form, and Butterworth is that writer. Are there other books that can give yo more? Of course...but unless you really want to dig deep into the differential equatin, tensor math, and whatever other bizarre constructs found the science, this does well.A couple of author/editor/publisher notes: - I totally understand the aim at simplicity, but a few companion diagrams illustrating helicity, chirality would be helpful to those completely unfamiliar with the concepts (picture...1,000 words...right?) and in at least one section the avoidance of equations could be well served by a footnote/endnote reference to the comparison of Maxwell's original 20 equations to their simpler four equations in vector form. Sure, people can look them up, but it wouldn't hurt to put them in an aftersection.- I love the retro tasters at the start of each chapter! (I had to ask a research guru friend for the term for them...my searches didn't return what I thought they were.) Nice touch.
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  • Pop Bop
    January 1, 1970
    Don't Worry About the "Whimsy"; This Is Top Drawer TeachingI was a bit leery about this title at first. I have a working knowledge of physics and a reasonably broad understanding of the fundamentals of quantum physics. But, more and deeper understanding is always better, and it's one thing to sort of understand what you're reading and quite another to truly comprehend what you just read or at least to extend your reach. So, this book looked interesting - except for the come on -- "Readers will s Don't Worry About the "Whimsy"; This Is Top Drawer TeachingI was a bit leery about this title at first. I have a working knowledge of physics and a reasonably broad understanding of the fundamentals of quantum physics. But, more and deeper understanding is always better, and it's one thing to sort of understand what you're reading and quite another to truly comprehend what you just read or at least to extend your reach. So, this book looked interesting - except for the come on -- "Readers will sail the subatomic seas in search of electron ports, boson continents, and hadron islands. The sea itself is the quantum field, complete with waves." Really?Well, guess what. Dr. Butterworth makes this work. Our ship, (the particle), sails through the ocean, (making and encountering waves), and I'll be darned if the author doesn't turn this into the clearest, crispest, and most illuminating discussion of particle/wave issues that I've ever read.For example, Butterworth describes the behavior of waves as they pass through a channel and enter a harbor. We learn about amplitude, frequency, and wavelength by watching seagulls bob up and down. We learn about diffraction by watching the wave spread out after exiting the channel and we learn about interference by watching two sets of waves cancel each other out. We then turn to the famous double slit experiment and see every single one of these principles and observations born out by the experiment, although this time our waves are made of light. The point is stunningly and memorably clear. But then we play around with frequency and energy and thus begin to understand the particle aspects of light. From there we use the ocean as a metaphor for the "quantum field", and that becomes clear as well. At this point, even if you don't follow another word in the book, you will have begun to understand how quantum field theory "incorporates particle-like and wave-like properties into a new kind of object". You will begin to understand Feynman's "path integral", at which point you will be so pleased with yourself that you'll have to take a break and have a cup of tea just to calm down. And really, you've just started your journey. (O.K., so maybe that travel metaphor does work.)Everything beyond this point is bonus time if you're a casual but motivated science reader. And to be honest, at some point before the end the reader's understanding may top out. (Don't test me on supersymmetry.) But before that we will learn about electrons, neutrons and protons, about why Dirac equations are so important, about bosons and fermions, muons, leptons, matter and anti-matter, hadrons and quarks. You'll learn about quantum chromodynamics and gluons, and how does gravity fit into all of this? For these topics we don't really rely on the ocean/atomland travel metaphor anymore, except as a generally useful way to introduce and organize topics, but the whole "atom land" frame doesn't get in the way either, so if it helps the reader more power to it.My larger point is that this is one of the most useful, accessible, engaging, non-jargony, effective and yet modest teaching books I've seen. No celebrity scientist preening and no metaphysical blarney. This is a calm, earnest, patient, and authentically good natured effort to open the reader's mind. It was a tremendous and rewarding find.(Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    Atom Land was a joy to read.I’m not a scientist, astronomer, physicist, etal. Just have a curious mind. Atom Land does a good job of helping those who are afraid of the Math in Physics. Being able to explain complex issues with simple illustrations is a gift. Jon Butterworth’s sailing voyage hit the mark for me. We come from the west, the land of what we consider normal. Planets, moons, suns, galaxies. This is what we see and interact with. Mr Butterworth then brings us to our starting point, Po Atom Land was a joy to read.I’m not a scientist, astronomer, physicist, etal. Just have a curious mind. Atom Land does a good job of helping those who are afraid of the Math in Physics. Being able to explain complex issues with simple illustrations is a gift. Jon Butterworth’s sailing voyage hit the mark for me. We come from the west, the land of what we consider normal. Planets, moons, suns, galaxies. This is what we see and interact with. Mr Butterworth then brings us to our starting point, Port Electron. Starting at Port Electron to give us a basic explanation of Waves and Particles to Atom Land, Isle of Lepton, Isle of Quarks, Hadron Island, Bosonia finally going to Far East. This is where Dark Matter and Dark Energy lives, extra dimensions, and things that are little more than guesses. But guesses lead to questions, questions to ideas of how to find out, then verification or failure. Then the process rolls on. How everything is connected and the journey we need to take back and forth to these differing regions may seem daunting but is well worth the investment in a cabin with a window.There is very minimal amounts of Math. E=mc2 is an equation that many have heard, the ultimate consequences of that simple statement is still being explored. So we shouldn’t expect to walk away with profound insights but if you are interested you can use Atom Land as a jumping off point to take a more meaningful voyage into the creation of things.Mr Butterworth is a teacher as well as a storyteller. I wholeheartedly recommend Atom LandI wish to thank the Experiment Publisher, Jon Butterworth, and NetGalley for my ARC in exchange for my honest opinion and review.
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  • Willy Marz Thiessam
    January 1, 1970
    This book by Jon Butterworth is a real treasure for those who like their intellectual feasts with the wine of humor. Butterworth uses the metaphor of a map to describe the world of experimental physics. He not only explains what we know but also and more importantly what we don't know. I think an alternate title should be "Here be dragons". Like the early map makers who drew dragons where they had no information here Butterworth goes one better, he envisions what it is like to be a scientist jou This book by Jon Butterworth is a real treasure for those who like their intellectual feasts with the wine of humor. Butterworth uses the metaphor of a map to describe the world of experimental physics. He not only explains what we know but also and more importantly what we don't know. I think an alternate title should be "Here be dragons". Like the early map makers who drew dragons where they had no information here Butterworth goes one better, he envisions what it is like to be a scientist journeying into those outer reaches where what we know is often speculative. The book acts as a synopsis of the current state of research. Now that we have identified the Higgs-Boson we are really no further to answering some of the other questions that physics beset with. Instead there are ideas about alternate dimensions, unknown particles and ideas that are so wild its hard to conceptualize. Hard but not impossible as Butterworth proves in this book. Highly recommended for anyone with even a passing interest in the subject.
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  • Jeremy
    January 1, 1970
    Note: I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.I really enjoyed reading this book. As a student studying physics and mathematics, I approach popular science books with trepidation, since they can either gloss over too many details or overly romanticize the job of scientists. With that being said, I found this book to not suffer from these issues. Instead, the imagery was great and the book had a very nice flow to it. The chapters weren't too long, and they brushed on just enough detail to m Note: I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.I really enjoyed reading this book. As a student studying physics and mathematics, I approach popular science books with trepidation, since they can either gloss over too many details or overly romanticize the job of scientists. With that being said, I found this book to not suffer from these issues. Instead, the imagery was great and the book had a very nice flow to it. The chapters weren't too long, and they brushed on just enough detail to make me curious to see more.I know that it helped that I already had an idea of all these concepts before going in, but I still think it would be a good read for someone who is curious about what particle physics is and the journey to our modern understanding. Overall, a great book.
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  • Roberto Arias
    January 1, 1970
    A bit too much travel references, but other than that, the book is beautifully written.
  • Joel Mitchell
    January 1, 1970
    Edwin Abbott Abbott wrote Flatland to help explore geometry, dimensions, and related topics (as well as a healthy dose of spiritual/social commentary); now Jon Butterworth does something similar for particle physics (hold the social commentary). He describes the most current theories of what atoms are made of and how all the bits, energies, forces, etc. act and interact in terms of places on a map and travel between those places (with plenty of humorous asides).The author does a good job of expl Edwin Abbott Abbott wrote Flatland to help explore geometry, dimensions, and related topics (as well as a healthy dose of spiritual/social commentary); now Jon Butterworth does something similar for particle physics (hold the social commentary). He describes the most current theories of what atoms are made of and how all the bits, energies, forces, etc. act and interact in terms of places on a map and travel between those places (with plenty of humorous asides).The author does a good job of explaining things in a way that requires no background in particle physics or mathematics but is not condescending. The significance of complicated formulas and equations is discussed without going into the actual mathematics. There is enough detail to develop a basic grasp of the theories while still feeling a bit mind-boggled at the strangeness of the topic. This won't make you an expert, but it is a great introduction to this weird, fascinating topic.
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  • Sid Nuncius
    January 1, 1970
    I thought A Map Of The Invisible was very good indeed. Jon Butterworth is both a fine physicist and a very engaging writer. The combination produces something rather special here.Butterworth's aim is to give the non-physicist an insight into the quantum world, from the basic structure of atoms to more recent developments like the discovery of the Higgs boson and also into more arcane theories and theoretical methods and the current directions of thinking in physics. He does this by an extended a I thought A Map Of The Invisible was very good indeed. Jon Butterworth is both a fine physicist and a very engaging writer. The combination produces something rather special here.Butterworth's aim is to give the non-physicist an insight into the quantum world, from the basic structure of atoms to more recent developments like the discovery of the Higgs boson and also into more arcane theories and theoretical methods and the current directions of thinking in physics. He does this by an extended analogy in which particles are envisaged as inhabitants of islands with their "geographical" position representing the mass/energy level of the particles and means of transport representing the mediators of the fundamental forces. This works well – at least as well as any other analogy I have come across. It can get just a little wearing at times, but as a template in which to anchor so many entities and ideas it gives the book a welcome coherent structure.Butterworth writes very well. His prose is readable and direct, with a very welcome absence of gee-whizzery and often a nice humorous undertone. As a tiny example which may give you a flavour (no quark pun intended), this footnote about wave/particle duality: "The equation which describes these waves is the Schrödinger equation. Less famous than his cat but much more useful." I found the style carried me well through some pretty tough intellectual workouts and he strikes a very good balance between providing enough technical and mathematical meat while allowing a non-physicist to keep up.This requires a good deal of intellectual effort; no amount of analogy or clear writing is going to make quantum physics simple. I have a background in physics (some time ago, now) and I still found some of it a bit of a struggle - it's just the nature of the beast. However, this is one of the best, clearest and easiest-to-understand guides I have found to the state of physics in late 2017 and I can recommend it warmly.(I received an ARC via NetGalley.)
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    Understanding particle physics through travel analogiesI enjoyed this book. There are lots of books on physics, but what sets this one apart is the liberal use of travel analogies to explain going from larger to smaller particles. I got the sense that author Jon Butterworth truly wanted me to understand the information and that created a writer-reader relationship. I can’t say that he was completely successful in getting me to understand, but he did create a fun-to-read book. And check out the f Understanding particle physics through travel analogiesI enjoyed this book. There are lots of books on physics, but what sets this one apart is the liberal use of travel analogies to explain going from larger to smaller particles. I got the sense that author Jon Butterworth truly wanted me to understand the information and that created a writer-reader relationship. I can’t say that he was completely successful in getting me to understand, but he did create a fun-to-read book. And check out the footnotes. They are not to be missed. I recommend this book for anyone interested in science. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley for review purposes.
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  • Kevin
    January 1, 1970
    This is a journey into the world of quantim physics; Jon Butterworth cleverly emplys the metaphor of a cartographical map to expain this complex and confusing subject. The tone is lighthearted and easy to follow for those of us not up to speed with the complicated mathematics. I found it a very entertaining read and I now understand many of the concepts discussed more clearly than I did before.If you are looking for a textbook look elsewhere. If you want a book aimed at the layman and you want t This is a journey into the world of quantim physics; Jon Butterworth cleverly emplys the metaphor of a cartographical map to expain this complex and confusing subject. The tone is lighthearted and easy to follow for those of us not up to speed with the complicated mathematics. I found it a very entertaining read and I now understand many of the concepts discussed more clearly than I did before.If you are looking for a textbook look elsewhere. If you want a book aimed at the layman and you want to know more about the particles and the forces with which they interact, you could do much worse than read this book.
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