For millennia, people have asked questions about the nature of matter. In the twentieth century, this curiosity led to an unprecedented outburst of scientific discovery that changed the course of history. In The Matter of Everything, accelerator physicist Suzie Sheehy introduces us to the people who, through a combination of genius, persistence and luck, staged these ground-breaking experiments.
From the physicists who soared in hot air balloons on the trail of new particles, to the serendipitous discovery of X-rays in a German lab; and from the race to split open the atomic nucleus to the quest to find the third generation of matter, Sheehy shows how these experiments informed innumerable aspects of how we live today. Radio, TV, the chips in our smartphones, MRI scanners, radar equipment and microwaves, to name a few: these were all made possible by our determination to understand, and control, the microscopic. Pulling physics down from the theoretical and putting it in the hands of the people, The Matter of Everything is a celebration of human ingenuity, creativity and curiosity: a powerful reminder that progress relies on the desire to know.