Friday, April 07, 2017

Book review reviewed: “The Particle Zoo” by Gavin Hesketh

The Particle Zoo: The Search for the Fundamental Nature of Reality
By Gavin Hesketh
Paperback Edition
Quercus (15 Jun. 2017)

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Gavin Heskeths book The Particle Zoo. I found his introduction to quantum field theory very well done. Considering that he can’t rely on equations, Hesketh gets across a lot of details (notably, what Feynman diagrams do and don’t depict).

However, I was quite unhappy with various inaccuracies in the book, particularly concerning the search for physics beyond the standard model.

But then something amazing happened! Hesketh sent me an email a few days ago, saying he read my review and revised the manuscript for the paperback edition to address the criticism. While the changes between the two editions will not be large, it usually doesn’t take more than a sentence or two to add some context or a word of caution. And so, I’m happy to endorse the paperback edition of The Particle Zoo which (according to amazon) will appear on June 15th.


  1. Nice to see someone accepting constructive criticism!

  2. and a correction to the response to the response to the review:

    especially what the search for physics beyond the standard model is concerned -> particularly concerning the search for physics beyond the standard model

    (insbesondere was der suche nach physik jenseits des standardmodells betrifft ;)

  3. Thomas,

    Thanks, that's much better :)

    (insbesondere was die Suche nach...}

  4. i have always been a fan of watching videos instead of reading text on papers. videos are my way of gathering knowledge. and if you say that this book has inaccuracies, well then.. it only makes me even more apathetic about giving it a read.

  5. You rock!

    Hurray for sanity and academic values in trade non-fiction physics!

  6. I take notes when reading books, especially if I'm reading it in order to write a review, and as a courtesy send a list of comments, complaints, typos, suggestions, etc to the author. Reactions range from not replying, to a brief acknowledgement, to surprise that I found so many mistakes, to heartfelt thanks. A side effect is that some authors then send me their manuscripts before publication, which is fine as long as it is understood that it is voluntary on my part to read it and offer comments (which has always been the case). It's worth it, though, since otherwise I doubt that I would be mentioned as a "superhero" along with Ed Witten. :-)


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