Histories of particles in a dark Universe

Yann Mambrini

In this book (in English) I review the aspects of dark matter phenomenology, from the reheating time to the present limits on the detection of Dark Matter. It can be used as an introductory textbook for students as well as a toolbox where we tried to unify conventions and units from the cosmological, astrophysical and particle physics scale.


Le siècle des révolutions

Yann Mambrini

The first volume of my book «Le siècle des révolutions»  (in French) gives a nice insight of the revolutions observed in Physics in the last century. From the discovery of radioactivity to the measurement of cosmological microwave background, you will cross the J.J. Thomson, E. Rutherford, M. Planck, N. Bohr and their original articles commented and placed in their historical context. Unpublished photos and documents help to understand the thread of scientific discoveries. 


Simple Genius

by David Wilson

642 pages, MIT press classic

This very interesting book by David Wilson describes step by step the life of the incredible genius Ernest Rutherford who made his track from a little village in New Zealand to finish Lord, buried in front of Sir Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey. Full of details and letters exchanged by him and his mentor J.J. Thomson, we enter in the intimacy of Rutherford and its scientific doubts of its amazing scientific careers. Maybe a little bit obscure by the presentation, few photos, bad typography, not attracting cover, this book is really the definitive source if you want to learn about the life of this «simple genius».  

Big Bang

the origin of the Universe

by Simon Singh

Amazing. Clear. Surprising. Accurate. Passionating. Educating. Touching. Funny. Serious. History... I don’t really know how many words I can use to claim the this book is by far the best divulgation book on my field I never read. From the greek time to the COBE measurement of the CMB Simon Singh brings us to a world of fight, passion, hatred, discoveries, disappointment, excitation, surprises, rumors, facts, religion, prejudice, friendship... I just can urge you to read this book as soon as this weekend. The author succeeds in bringing us with him on his stroryboard. And moreover, concerning (for instance) my field of activity, his scientific descriptions and explanation are very accurate. Very impressed. 

A History of the electron

by Jaume Navarro

Jaume Navarro is one of the most gifted historian of science I know. He made several interesting contributions in different area of our field. However, to be honest, this book is quite boring. Too  many useless details, and the scientific parts are always very difficult to follow. I quite often needed to go to look on other references or even wikipedia to understand what he meant. The «vortex theory» of Kelvin et al. is a typical example. Very badly explained. It is a pity, because the story of J.J. Thomson, discoverer of the electron,  and his son G.P. Thomson, discover of the wave nature of the electron could have made a really nice book, more interesting to read.  In one words, I learnt A LOT from this book, but it took me A LOT of efforts too. 

The Magic Furnace

by Marcus Chown

Marcus Chown take us in a fantastic travel inside the furnace of the Universe. Technically speaking, he explains with great historical details and anecdotes the story of the discovery of the stellar nucleosynthesis. After a summary of the context and the Big Bang nucleosynthesis successes, Marcus shows the limits and issues of the process, and the way that lead Hoyle, Fowler and the Burbidge couple (the famous B2FH paper) to propose a solution from the stellar evolution. Honestly, the story could be easily the subject of a hollywood movie, with suspense, tensions, and love affairs. This book can be read like a novel, passionating from the beginning till the end. If you want to understand the last step of the nucleosynthesis, that is without any doubt THE book to read.

Behind the Scenes of the Universe

by Gianfranco Bertone

That is not a publicity for Gianfranco, who I know since some time ago (I think he published one of its first paper about «synchrotron radiation in Heterotic orbifolds models» with me). His book is good. Very good even. Nice presentation, easy to read, and I learned a lot, especially concerning the historical part. Gianfranco is without any doubt one of the world top  specialist of the field, and one who has touched mainly all aspects of dark matter searches, publishing regularly concerning any of theses aspects. He knows how to speak to a broad audience, and I encourage anyone interested into learning more about the subject to jump on his book. Only the last 25% of the book, to my mind too much dedicated in some specific part of his recent work, could have been avoided (just my 2 cents..).

Thirty years that shook physics

by George Gamow

To be honest with you, I was always fascinated by this kid from Odessa who go to make a PhD in Saint Petersburg with Friedman,  then escape USSR and found the protection of Niels Bohr in Copenhagen offering him a 2 years post-doc on a «Carlsberg» fellowship, and then making career in USA, excluded from Manhattan project due to his Russian origin, and then working by himself (with his student Alpher) on the principle of the primordial Big Bang Nucleosynthesis. Man of (very) strong  character, he crossed the golden age of theoretical physics, and gave fundamental contribution in almost all astroparticle/cosmology fields. In this book, he recovers his souvenir of each of the famous physicist he crossed, each revolutionary, explaining their main contribution in the field (his anecdote of his meeting with Louis de Broglie is just hilarious). To read without waiting!!! 

Neutrino hunters

by Ray Jayawardhana

Wow.... What a nice surprise... A really great book on the subject of neutrinos, and really actual (in 2014 at least). I was in the Minnesota University Library, looking for a new book, when I saw «Neutrino hunters». I decided to have a look, and then found a description of Icecube experiment in the first chapter. Very accurate chapter and dealing with interesting prospects, as I was working on a research project with Icecube data at this time. Then, I read it. Passionating book, that you read like a novel, passing from Pauli to Fermi, Pontecorvo to Cowan, Reynes to Bahcall, learning about the small histories who makes physics such an incredible field (especially the flee of Pontecorvo from USA to Russia..).

Not only that, but it gave me the will to work in the subject of neutrino physics, which can be the branch of particle physics I will work on for the next few years.. To read absolutely..

En cherchant Majorana
by Etienne Klein

Etienne Klein is usually a great propagator of ideas in the French physics community. He wrote a lot of books concerning Quantum mechanics, and histories beyond History of fundamental sciences. However, I was quite disappointed  by his last book «En cherchant Majorana», where E. Klein try to give us the tools we need to understand better what was in the mind of such a genius. On one side, few things new about the life of Majorana which has already been written hundreds of time in the specialized literature. Secondly, the physical insights he gives are quite weak and even sometimes limit wrong. Thirdly, I felt he was more discussing to himself as he seems to like to read what he writes himself. Maybe can be a first introduction for someone who NEVER heard about Majorana, but if you are reading this page, I suppose you are not one of them.http://www.amazon.fr/En-cherchant-Majorana-Etienne-Klein/dp/2849902594Books_files/Unknown.shapeimage_18_link_0

Le Principe

by Jerôme Ferrari

So, in a word, for those who recognized who is on the photo, I would say you do not really need to read this book, you will learn few about Heisenberg (yes, that’s him, the title could have helped also to tell the truth). However, if you are not familiar with his links with the Nazi party, and the not-so-clear behavior of some physicists, Planck included, during the second world war, you can be interested by the book. Very well written by Jerôme Ferrari (I read almost all of his preceding books) who asks, and highlight some dark aspects of Heisenberg life. I personally enjoyed reading it.

Et Fiat Lux

Yann Mambrini

I have compiled in this book the groundbreaking articles of the XXth century. Of course, I have chosen them and commented the historical context and how each articles became so famous in our field afterwards.