Microstructure of matter

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03/06/07 - The Microstructure of Matter

Back in the 1960s there was something called the Atomic Energy Commission. They were in charge of making atomic bombs and otherwise spreading the good word about nuclear power. They have since been replaced by the NRC and the DOE, but during their tenure they produced a number of neat booklets about atomic power, radio-isotopes, computers and the like. Given that these booklets were FREE, they were surprisingly good, with clear exposition, accurate information, interesting photographs and well drawn diagrams.

Of course, some of the science has changed, and some of our attitudes are quite different. We came across one of our old favorites, The Microstructure of Matter, on eBay. Since this was a government publication with no copyright notice, we assume that it is in the public domain. This booklet describes the basic natural forces, how scientists study the various subatomic particles, a bit about relativity and a fair bit about the particles themselves. Quarks and the standard model were just around the corner, but one can see the standard model emerging from the sprays of mesons and hadrons in the cloud chambers of the era.

Yes, some of the science has changed, but an awful lot has not. It is often rather interesting to get a snapshot of our understanding at a given time, if only to get a sense of where we might be in that greater understanding that we are all working towards.

Keywords: science