26 September 1999

High Field Superconducting Magnets by Fred M Asner, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0 19 851764 5 (£55).

Fred Asner traces the discovery and understanding of superconductivity. This includes the development and manufacture of semiconducting materials, the cooling of superconducting magnets and their control. Asner looks at beam dynamics and winding configurations specific to accelerator magnets and discusses their design principles using examples from recent major projects. All of these magnets have to work under extreme conditions. It is stressed that the design criteria are not to be taken lightly. One chapter is dedicated to particle physics detectors and superconducting magnets for medical applications. Both are major growth areas.

Pulsars as Astrophysical Laboratories for Nuclear and Particle Physics by Fridolin Weber, Institute of Physics Publishing ISBN 0 7503 03328 (hbk £99/$180, 682 pages).

Pulsars were discovered by J Bell and A Hewish in 1967 and were identified as rapidly rotating neutron stars. The physics of neutron stars ­ of which there are estimated to be about one billion in the Milky Way alone ­ is covered, along with Strange quark matter ­ when additional quarks come into play beyond the “up” and “down” varieties constituting normal nuclear matter. This physics is also receiving a terrestrial boost with the start of the programme at Brookhaven’s RHIC.

The Symbolic Universe: Geometry and Physics 1890-1930 edited by Jeremy J Gray, Oxford University Press ISBN 0 19 850088 2.

At the Second International Congress of Mathematicians, held in Paris in 1900, David Hilbert presented a list of 23 outstanding problems in mathematics that, in his opinion, needed to be addressed. The sixth congress prophetically called for a greater interplay between geometry and physics.

The bridge from 19th to 20th-century physics has characterized new physics insights. Relativity, with its multidimensional spaces, ushered in new developments. Some of the greatest minds in physics and mathematics focused on these new goals. This is a fascinating collection of papers presented at a 1996 conference at the UK Open University.

Duality and Supersymmetric Theories edited by D I Olive and P C West, Cambridge University Press ISBN 0 521 641158 6 (hbk £45/$69.95).

A collection of lectures given in a six-month programme at the Newton Institute in Cambridge, with an introduction and guide by the editors. The contributors are M K Gaillard, B Zumino, J Gauntlett, T Eguchi, G W Gibbons, A Sen, C Bachas, D I Olive and P C West.

CP Violation by G Castelo Branco, L Lavoura and J P Silva, Oxford University Press, International Series of Monographs on Physics ISBN 0 19 850399 7 (£60).

A complete theoretical and phenomenological study of CP violation and the CKM matrix, including the implications for heavy quarks. This is a good reference for physicists at B-factories, but little mention is made of the enormous efforts that are going into measuring the phenomenon of CP violation.

FORTRAN 90/95 explained (2nd edn) by Michael Metcalf and John Reid, Oxford University Press ISBN0 19 850558 2 (pbk).

Despite the continual appearance of new programming languages Fortran, now well into middle age, soldiers on. This new edition summarizes the latest standards. Michael Metcalf, now retired, was a longtime member of CERN’s Information Technology Division.

Cyclotrons and their Applications 1998 – Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Cyclotrons and their Applications, Caen, France, 14-19 June 1998 edited by E Baron and M Lieuvin, GANIL, France, Institute of Physics Publishing ISBN 0 7503 0663 7 (hbk £220.00/$400).

Cyclotrons 1998 was the fifteenth in a series of international conferences initiated in 1959. Cyclotrons are used in basic and applied research, radiotherapy and nuclear medicine. Included is a complete list of existing cyclotrons and their characteristics.

Effective Medium Theory – Principles and Applications by Tuck C Choy, Oxford University Press, International Series of Monographs on Physics ISBN 0 19 851892 7.

While not at the cutting edge of fundamental physics, effective medium theory is a fruitful way of describing and handling microstructure at the mesoscopic scale. The introduction is by Marshall Stoneham.

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