Neutrino Hunters

The Thrilling Chase for a Ghostly Particle to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

By Ray Jayawardhana
(Scientific American, Hardcover, 9780374220631, 256pp.)

Publication Date: December 10, 2013

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Winner of the Canadian Science Writers Association 2014 Science in Society Book Award
A "Publishers Weekly" Top 10 Science Book of the Season
A Book to Watch Out For, "The New Yorker"'s "Page-Turner" Blog
A "Los Angeles Times" Gift Guide Selection
One of the Best Physics Books of 2013, Cocktail Party Physics Blog, "Scientific American"
""Detective thriller meets astrophysics in this adventure into neutrinos and the scientists who pursue them
The incredibly small bits of matter we call neutrinos may hold the secret to why antimatter is so rare, how mighty stars explode as supernovae, what the universe was like just seconds after the big bang, and even the inner workings of our own planet.

For more than eighty years, adventurous minds from around the world have been chasing these ghostly particles, "trillions "of which pass through our bodies every second. Extremely elusive and difficult to pin down, neutrinos are not unlike the brilliant and eccentric scientists who doggedly pursue them.

In "Neutrino Hunters," the renowned astrophysicist and award-winning writer Ray Jayawardhana takes us on a thrilling journey into the shadowy world of neutrinos and the colorful lives of those who seek them. Demystifying particle science along the way, Jayawardhana tells a detective story with cosmic implications--interweaving tales of the sharp-witted theorist Wolfgang Pauli; the troubled genius Ettore Majorana; the harbinger of the atomic age Enrico Fermi; the notorious Cold War defector Bruno Pontecorvo; and the dynamic dream team of Marie and Pierre Curie. Then there are the scientists of today who have caught the neutrino bug, and whose experimental investigations stretch from a working nickel mine in Ontario to a long tunnel through a mountain in central Italy, from a nuclear waste site in New Mexico to a bay on the South China Sea, and from Olympic-size pools deep underground to a gigantic cube of Antarctic ice--called, naturally, IceCube.

As Jayawardhana recounts a captivating saga of scientific discovery and celebrates a glorious human quest, he reveals why the next decade of neutrino hunting will redefine how we think about physics, cosmology, and our lives on Earth.

About the Author
RAY JAYAWARDHANA, formerly a professor and the Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, is dean of the faculty of science at York University. A graduate of Yale and Harvard, he has co-authored over 100 scientific papers. His discoveries have made headlines worldwide and have brought him numerous accolades, such as the Steacie Prize, the McLean Award, the Rutherford Medal and the Radcliffe Fellowship. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Economist, Scientific American and other publications. The author of Strange New Worlds, he lives in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter @DrRayJay and on the web at
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