Atom: Journey across the Subatomic Cosmos

Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos
by Isaac Asimov

YA-T, GA **


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Within the first five pages, Asimov introduces the concept of atomism, reviews the history of philosophical arguments on the subject, and summarizes the first application of the scientific method to the subject. A great strength of his approach is the inclusion of opposing arguments and evidence, showing how the scientific method works and conveying some of the excitement of discovering the answers to difficult problems. He does not hesitate to include examples of scientists who were quite wrong and examples of others who were quite stubborn (right or wrong). In a logical, orderly, and comprehensible fashion, the progress of knowledge about the atom (including its components and interactions) is revealed. The relationship of subatomic particles to various forms of energy, and even the structure of the universe, is explained without involving math above the grade school level. This excellent book raises only trivial objections: one minor typo, a few illustrations that seemed unhelpful or even misleading, a few tables that would have been clearer than lengthy prose in describing how various properties are conserved, and an extensive index that fails to include any reference to the Nobel prize, although more than 40 winners are identified in the text.

--Reviewed by Charles A. Gaston in Science Books and Films, 27/6 (August/September 1991), p. 172.