The Magic Furnace

The Magic Furnace : The Search for the Origins of Atoms

4.31 (144 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"Every breath you take contains atoms forged in the blistering furnaces deep inside stars. Every flower you pick contains atoms blasted into space by stellar explosions that blazed brighter than a billion suns." Thus begins The Magic Furnace, an eloquent, extraordinary account of how scientists unraveled the mystery of atoms, and helped to explain the dawn of life itself. The historic search for atoms and their stellar origins is truly one of the greatest detective stories of science. In effect, it offers two epics intertwined: the birth of atoms in the Big Bang and the evolution of stars and how they work. Neither could be told without the other, for the stars contain the key to unlocking the secret of atoms, and the atoms the solution to the secret of the stars. Marcus Chown leads readers through the major theories and experiments that propelled the search for atomic understanding, with engaging characterizations of the major atomic thinkers-from Democritus in ancient Greece to Binning and Rohrer in twentieth-century New York. He clarifies the science, explaining with enthusiasm the sequence of breakthroughs that proved the existence of atoms as the "alphabet of nature" and the discovery of subatomic particles and atomic energy potential. From there, he engagingly chronicles the leaps of insight that eventually revealed the elements, the universe, our world, and ourselves to be a product of two ultimate furnaces: the explosion of the Big Bang and the interior of stars such as supernovae and red giants. Chown successfully makes these massive concepts accessible for students, professionals, and science enthusiasts. His story sheds light on all of us, for in essence, we are all stardust.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 232 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 20.32mm | 408.23g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195143051
  • 9780195143058

Review quote

"Chown's book offers readers and their inner atoms an enjoyable introduction to that history." -- Craig J. Hogan, Science"In a series of artfully connected and well-crafted stories, Marcus Chown traces humanity's 2,500-year quest to understand the nature and origin of matter." -Fred Bortz, The Dallas Morning Newsshow more

About Marcus Chown

Marcus Chown is New Scientist's cosmology consultant. He is the author of Afterglow of Creation, which was the runner-up for the Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize, and was the winner of the 1994 Glaxo Wellcome ABSW Science Writers' Award."show more

Rating details

144 ratings
4.31 out of 5 stars
5 52% (75)
4 32% (46)
3 12% (18)
2 2% (3)
1 1% (2)
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