Nuclear physics investigates the properties and behavior of the central portion, or nucleus, of the atom. This branch of physics had perhaps the biggest impact on the world in the 20th century because it evolved into the knowledge used to build the most destructive weapons people have ever known. The atomic bombs that ended World War II, and the weapons race that followed, changed the course of history. But applications of nuclear physics have also provided enormous energy for useful purposes, generating about 16 percent of the world's electricity. ""Particles and the Universe"" documents how modern physics formed and how it continues to evolve. Each chapter of this book delves into the observations, theories, and tests of a particular topic, including nuclear physics, quantum mechanics, particle physics, relativity, and cosmology.
Kyle Kirkland, Ph.D., received his doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. He remains active in research and devotes considerable time to explaining mathematics and science to layperson audiences. He has published a number of articles on science, the history of science, and the present and future impact of science on our society. Kirkland is also the coauthor of Optics, in Facts On File's Science and Technology in Focus set.