Friday, March 15, 2013

Local Author Interview Series : Duncan Carlsmith

Today I have another local author interview for you all.  Duncan Carlsmith agreed to answer a few questions for the blog.  His book, Particle Physics, was published last summer.

  • What inspired you to write your book and what need does it fill?
'Particle Physics' presents elementary particle experiments and standard model theory to the advanced undergraduate in physics without handwaving and with minimal formalism. It was inspired in part by the classic text 'Quarks and Leptons' by UW Professor Francis Halzen and Alan Martin. 'Particle Physics'  describes historical and contemporary (LHC) experiments and develops standard model tree level calculations based on Feynman diagrams. Additionally,  some issues beyond the standard model such as neutrino mass and dark matter in the context of cosmology are described. 

  • What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing this book?
It can be fun and informative to create exercises based on published articles.

  • Did you come across any unexpected challenges while writing?  How is writing a book different than writing a journal article?
A textbook and an article are quite different. An article is supposed to be objective to a fault. Through the choice of topics and examples, the author has the freedom to inject into a text something of his or her personality, but not too much.

  • Do you have any advice or suggestions for the aspiring physicist?
John Muir (a Badger) wrote something that  stuck with me:
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
My First Summer in the Sierra (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1911), on page 110 of the Sierra Club Books 1988 edition. http://www.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/writings/my_first_summer_in_the_sierra/chapter_6.aspx)
I encourage physics students to study everything (all aspects of physics, chemistry, biology,  geoscience, astronomy...) and to consider various careers (academic research, entrepreneurship...).

  • What are you reading now? 
A snow storm of physics papers of course but I am also educating myself a bit about bioengineering, next generation sequencing,...

  • What do you enjoy most about Madison?
Madison is a wonderful city full of interesting engaged people.  Get out there! 







Copies of Particle Physics in the Library Catalog

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