With its hard cover, glossy pages, clear language and numerous graphs, charts and photos in lieu of complex endnotes, Nucleus looks more like a classroom book than a book you’d have on your shelf at home. It might even seem a little juvenile at first glance – like a sort of children’s treasury of atomic physics.
Yet the authors have created an impressively clear, engaging tome that neither speaks down to its audience nor presumes much prior knowledge. It does an exceptional job of explaining the fundamental weirdness of quantum physics, from the nature of energy to wave–particle duality, through to the chemical elements and potted histories of the people behind key discoveries, the Big Bang and cosmic microwave background radiation, to the formation of stars and the ultimate fate of the universe.
If you’re the sort of adult who would pick up a book called Nucleus, it’s probably information you’re already familiar with – and at fewer than 150 pages, a book you could breeze though in an afternoon. However, it’s a perfect primer for younger readers and those new to the field.