Engines of Discovery: A Century of Particle Accelerators. Revised and Expanded Edition

23 September 2014

By Andrew Sessler and Edmund Wilson
World Scientific
Hardback: £58
Paperback: £32
E-book: £24
Also available at the CERN bookshop


The first edition of Engines of Discovery was published seven years ago to wide acclaim. Since then, particle physics has seen the dramatic start up of the LHC and the subsequent discovery of a Higgs boson – a long-awaited missing piece in the Standard Model of particles and their interactions. At the same time, the field of accelerators has seen further developments to push back frontiers in energy, intensity and brightness, together with growth in the use of accelerators in other areas of science, medicine and industry.

In the revised and expanded edition of their book, Sessler and Wilson have aimed to match this growth, in particular through a number of essentially new chapters. These naturally cover the work that is going into developing new machines for fundamental physics, from high-intensity super-beams and factories for neutrino physics, to future high-energy linear colliders, and back to the low energies of rare-isotope facilities and, lowest of all, the production of antihydrogen. However, most of the new chapters focus on applications beyond the confines of particle and nuclear physics, with dedicated chapters on the use of accelerators in isotope production and cancer therapy, industry, national security, energy and the environment. Here, for example, spallation neutron sources have been promoted to merit a chapter of their own.

Last, the authors have brought the future and the young more into focus by directing all of the final chapter, rather than only the last paragraph, “mainly to the young”. Sadly, Andrew Sessler – a visionary leader in the field of accelerator science – died earlier this year, but this book will stand as part of his legacy to future generations. It would have appealed greatly to me when I was young, and the hope is that it will inspire budding young scientists and engineers today, for they are the future of the field.

bright-rec iop pub iop-science physcis connect