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Particle Adventure

Rating: 5 stars
Used in Course: Not used in course
Submitted by: Donald Hornback (Student), Nov 26, 2000
Comment: After having spent roughly three hours going through every page of the particle
adventure, I have to take my hat off to Michael Barnett and company at the
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories. They have managed to create an interesting and
informative introduction to particle physics with much humor and virtually no
math. The Standard Model is run through as thoroughly as a newcomer can
possibly absorb in an inital dose. From leptons to hadrons, fermions to bosons,
photons to gluons, all of the "major" particles are covered in this adventure.
The four interactions (3!?) are also discussed plainly and clearly, as are
particle decays and the machines that humanity has constructed to study them.

The multitude of usually funny cartoons keeps the mood decidedly upbeat. Things
do occasionally get a little Sesame Street-like (I cite the ?mu-on Lion? and
the ?tau tiger?) in an attempt to keep things lighthearted. I understand and
appreciate the effort to keep things simple, but it could only improve the
educational value of the site if more of the links offered some advanced
coverage of the material--though I am sure that hand-waving is probably the only
viable teaching technique available to the particle physicist at this level.

Reviewing this site for a junior level modern physics course at Humboldt State
University, this is the first study of particle physics I have ever undertaken
(apart from blazing through a copy of the "Tao of Physics"). I learned a lot
from my paticle adventure, although some of the material covered will keep me
scratching my head for a long time to come.

Technical Remarks:

I found the site very easy to manage. I do wish there were a set of
next/previous page buttons at the bottom of the pages so that I didn?t have to
keep scrolling back to the top, but that is a minor point.