Sunday, 20 May 2007

Cosm by Gregory Benford

I might be biased being a physicist...well, at least a physicist wanna be given that I'm still in graduate school....but anyways, I loved this book.

The main character of the book is Alicia Butterworth, a brilliant young physics professor working at the RHIC experiment at Brookhaven Lab. She has come up with the idea smash Uranium atoms together rather than gold, hoping to find some new interesting science based on the fact that Uranium is heavier than the gold previously used. All is going well in their run when all of a sudden there is an accident in the beam pipe and after an investigation, a wondrous sphere the size of a basketball is found. What makes it even more interesting is that it's not exactly a mass of "something" because it's made of nothing known to science.

What follows is a page turner involving experiments trying to find out what the sphere is and what it means for the life as we know it on planet Earth. The author of the book is a physicist with a nice resume and so his cracks at theorists and experimenters alike are funny to those like me in the know. Although...the main character is a black female...of which there are none of in particle physics. My advisor who also has read this book said, why not go ahead and make her a native American lesbian if you are going that route. Benford being a past Woodrow Wilson Fellow knows his physics stuff for sure so that was very interesting for me. I think those that just like science fiction however would like this book because I didn't think there was too much particle physics jargon involved.

I especially liked the ending......because I love the thinking outside the box. But of course you'll have to read it to find that information out.

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