Particle Accelerators: From Big Bang Physics to Hadron Therapy

  • Ugo Amaldi

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Ugo Amaldi
    Pages 1-33
  3. Ugo Amaldi
    Pages 35-62
  4. Ugo Amaldi
    Pages 63-87
  5. Ugo Amaldi
    Pages 89-119
  6. Ugo Amaldi
    Pages 121-149
  7. Ugo Amaldi
    Pages 151-181
  8. Ugo Amaldi
    Pages 213-245
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 247-284

About this book


Rather than focusing on the contributions of theoretical physicists to the understanding of the subatomic world and of the beginning of the universe - as most popular science books on particle physics do - this book is different in that, firstly, the main focus is on machine inventors and builders and, secondly, particle accelerators are not only described as discovery tools but also for their contributions to tumour diagnosis and therapy. The characters of well-known (e.g. Ernest Lawrence) and mostly unknown actors (e.g. Nicholas Christofilos) are outlined, including many colourful quotations. The overall picture supports the author’s motto: “Physics is beautiful and useful”.


Advance appraisal:

“Accelerators go all the way from the unique and gargantuan Large Hadron Collider to thousands of smaller versions in hospitals and industry. Ugo Amaldi has experience across the range. He has worked at CERN and has for many years been driving the application of accelerators in medicine. This is a must-read introduction to this frontier of modern technology, written beautifully by a world expert.”

Frank Close, Professor of Physics at Oxford University
author of "The Infinity Puzzle"

“This book should be read by school teachers and all those interested in the exploration of the microcosm and its relation to cosmology, and in the use of accelerators for medical applications. With a light hand and without formulae the

author easily explains complicated matters, spicing up the text with amusing historical anecdotes. His reputation as an outstanding scientist in all the fields treated guarantees high standards.”

Herwig Schopper, former CERN Director General 
author of "LEP - The Lord of the Collider Rings at CERN"

This book tells the story of modern physics with an unusual emphasis on the machine-builders who made it all possible, and their machines.  Learning to accelerate  particles has enabled physicists to probe the subatomic world and gain a deeper understanding of the cosmos.  It has also brought numerous benefits to medicine, from the primitive X-ray machines of over a century ago to today's developments in hadron therapy for cancer.  Amaldi tells this story in a most fascinating way.

Edward Witten, Professor of  Mathematical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton; Fields Medal (1990)


CERN Conseil Européen Pour la Recherche Cancer Diagnostic and Therapy Cosmogenesis Healing Cancer with Particle Accelerators History of Particle Accelerators Large Hadron Collider LHC Nucléaire Particle Accelerators Explained Particle Physics Explained Particle Therapy Radiotherapy Search for the Higgs Boson Simulation of the Big Bang

Authors and affiliations

  • Ugo Amaldi
    • 1
  1. 1.CERNEurop. Organization for Nuclear ResearchGenève 23Switzerland

Bibliographic information