Supersymmetry: Unveiling the Ultimate Laws of Nature

Gordon Kane, Author, Edward Witten, Foreword by, G. L. Kane, Author Basic Books $26 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7382-0203-7
Physicists have, for years, used something called the ""standard model"" to explain the behavior of elementary particles and of the basic forces that connect them--to generally give ""a complete description of how our physical world works."" But the model also creates questions it can't answer: why are we made of matter and not antimatter? And why is there more gravity in the universe than all the objects we know about can produce? Kane, who teaches physics at the University of Michigan, explained the standard model in his first book for nonscientists, The Particle Garden; in this very readable follow-up, he shows how something else--""supersymmetry""--might answer the questions the standard model can't. He begins his careful map of difficult territory with an explanation of very basic terms like ""particle,"" ""equation,"" ""structure"" and ""symmetry."" Then he surveys what supersymmetry does: it interacts intriguingly, for example, with the recent, also speculative--but better publicized--superstring theory, and it's just now becoming testable in the newest, snazziest particle accelerators. Kane also devotes one chapter to ""Testing Supersymmetry Experimentally,"" and another to its implications for questions about the cosmos: ""Can We Really Understand the Origin of the Universe?"" Equipped with his remarkable gifts for turning abstruse concepts and hard math into good English prose, he's careful to differentiate between accepted theories, currently testable hypotheses and speculations. A compact glossary gives easy access to quick definitions: many readers will need it. The same readers will probably be grateful for Kane's sophisticated, accessible guide to one of the frontiers of physics. Line illus. throughout. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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Paperback - 226 pages - 978-0-7382-0489-5
Open Ebook - 221 pages - 978-0-7867-3130-5
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