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The Matter of Everything


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Accelerator physicist Suzie Sheehy tells the story of twentieth century physics through its twelve foundational experiments

About the Author

Dr Suzie Sheehy is a physicist, academic and science communicator who divides her time between her research groups at the University of Oxford (where she is a Royal Society University Research Fellow) and the University of Melbourne (where she is Senior Lecturer). Her research focuses on developing new particle accelerators for future applications in areas such as medicine and energy.


Vividly described . . . A sweeping but detailed and pacy account of 100 years of scientific advancement, The Matter of Everything has a cheering takeaway. What such leaps lie ahead? What questions seem intractable now that we won't give a thought to in the future? Sheehy mounts the case that - with persistence, curiosity and collaboration - we may yet overcome challenges that now seem impossible * New Scientist *
The Matter of Everything . . . brings out the stars of experimental physics, the people who directly observe, hypothesise and build machines firing beams of matter and energy to test theory against reality . . . Give[s] a real sense of the thrill of scientific discovery * The Times *
The perfect bedside book for anyone who wants to ponder the remarkable achievements of physics. A rich history of beautiful discoveries -- Robin Ince
It's a rare writer that can pluck the biggest ideas in science out of the sky, and bring them down to earth in a way that anyone can understand. In her first fantastic book, Suzie takes on the seemingly unreachable inner life of atoms, and places it directly into our hands. More than just a history of particle physics, this is an interconnected web of experiments, people and stories that are simultaneously passionate and profound -- Helen Arney
This is a book about the fundamental problems of physics written from a viewpoint I hadn't come across before: that of the experimenter. Someone first thought of the cloud chamber, or the cyclotron, or the MRI scanner, and that person (or that team) had to build one: you couldn't buy one off the shelf. The actual sequence of experiments, and failures, and more experiments, and success, is a fascinating one, especially for any readers excited, as I am, by the thought of making things. A splendid idea, vividly carried out: I enjoyed this book enormously -- Philip Pullman
This fascinating and highly readable book captures the radical excitement of experimental science as it's being made. It's an all-action thriller, laced with some of the most profound ideas humans have ever had -- Brian Eno
A wonderful telling of the history of particle physics . . . Suzie has written a book that makes these important stories and ideas from the history of science accessible, and genuinely enjoyable to read -- Alom Shaha
A magical tour of the great experiments defining the most incredible century in physics . . . Sheehy seamlessly weaves the science and history with why this matters to all of us: as she expertly illustrates, our quest to understand the tiniest of particles has had an enormous impact on technology, health and society, reaching far beyond the lab -- Andrew Steele, author of AGELESS
An impassioned, elegant history of particle physics and its applications. Dr Sheehy adroitly brings together a glittering cast of characters - from the famous giants of the field to the unjustly overlooked scientists whose shoulders they stood on - to tell the story of the most fundamental of all sciences -- Ananyo Bhattacharya, author of THE MAN FROM THE FUTURE
A fabulous read, tracing the history of twelve experiments in particle physics from idea to impact, critically through the eyes of the scientists. The stories in and of themselves are fascinating, and together illustrate a larger story about science: the power of international collaboration and competition, the generations its takes for science to translate from the lab to social benefit, the interdependency between basic and applied and the unwritten contribution of many women scientists -- Jonathan Grant, Director of Different Angles and author of THE NEW POWER UNIVERSITY
This is storytelling at its very best and why I fell in love with physics. Sheehy's attention to detail shines through every story and yet there's a lightness of touch in the way she highlights the passion, drive, ingenuity and, ultimately, the sheer triumph of science in unlocking nature's secrets -- Jim Al-Khalili
A thrilling ride through ingenious experiments that changed the world: this book matters! -- Dr Karl

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