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Extended Audio Sample Neutrino Hunters: The Thrilling Chase for a Ghostly Particle to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe Audiobook, by Ray Jayawardhana Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ray Jayawardhana Narrator: Bronson Pinchot Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2015 ISBN: 9781504626576
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Detective thriller meets astrophysics in this adventure into neutrinos and the scientists who pursue them.

For more than eighty years, brilliant and eccentric scientists around the world have been searching for the incredibly small bits of matter we call neutrinos. Trillions of these ghostly particles pass through our bodies every second, but they are so pathologically shy that neutrino hunters have to use Olympic-size pools deep underground and a gigantic cube of Antarctic ice to catch just a handful. Neutrinos may hold the secrets to the nature of antimatter and what the universe was like just seconds after the big bang, but they are extremely elusive and difficult to pin down—much like the adventurous scientists who doggedly pursue them.

In Neutrino Hunters, renowned astrophysicist and award-winning author Ray Jayawardhana takes us on a thrilling journey into the shadowy world of neutrinos and the colorful lives of those who chase them. Demystifying particle science along the way, Jayawardhana tells a detective story with cosmic implications—interweaving the tales of the irascible Casanova Wolfgang Pauli; the troubled genius Ettore Majorana, who disappeared without a trace; and Bruno Pontecorvo, whose defection to the Soviet Union caused a Cold War ruckus. Ultimately, Jayawardhana reveals just how significant these fast-moving particles are to the world we live in and why the next decade of neutrino hunting will redefine how we think about physics, cosmology, and our lives on Earth.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Everything about neutrinos is fascinating. The various dramas associated with their discovery, our efforts to understand their very weird properties, and finally, what they have taught us about fundamental physics, are remarkable. Ray Jayawardhana is the perfect person to convey these exciting stories in Neutrino Hunters, which should be of broad interest.”

    Lawrence M. Krauss, New York Times bestselling author of  A Universe from Nothing

  • “With his typical blend of scientific insight and storytelling verve, Ray Jayawardhana vividly, colorfully, and humorously captures the often offbeat characters who, over the past century, have pursued one of the most elusive—and significant—mysteries in the history of physics.”

    Richard Panek, New York Times bestselling author of The 4% Universe

  • “Move over Neil deGrasse Tyson and Brian Greene! Ray Jayawardhana is the new dean of popular science—a working scientist who can explain even the most complex matters in a clear and entertaining way. In Neutrino Hunters, he spins a thrilling tale that takes us from the deepest depths of the Earth to the farthest reaches of the universe. A wonderful read from start to finish.”

    Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award–winning author

  • “With clarity and wry humor, Jayawardhana relates how Wolfgang Pauli ‘invented’ the neutrino to explain where missing energy went during beta decay, then later bet a case of champagne that it would never be detected experimentally…Jayawardhana vividly illuminates both the particle that has ‘baffled and surprised’ scientists, and the researchers who hunt it.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Narrator Bronson Pinchot is well matched to this remarkably approachable account of the hunt for the elusive neutrino…While the topic of astrophysics research has the potential to present a challenge to any narrator, Pinchot’s tone conveys a genuine interest in the topic and an eagerness to engage the listener in this unusual detective story.”


  • “When physicist Boris Kayser declares, “If neutrinos did not exist, we would not be here,” he identifies a compellingly immediate reason for investigating these mysterious subatomic particles. But as Jayawardhana teases out the tangled history of neutrino investigations, readers learn of many other reasons that scientists have expended tremendous energy pursuing these elusive gremlins…A tale of revolutionary science and of the colorful personalities of those who did it—must-reading for armchair physicists!”


  • “An astrophysicist explains why scientists are eager to learn more about the elusive, ‘pathologically shy’ neutrino…Jayawardhana includes a fascinating account of the disputes between the theorists and experimentalists in this epic scientific adventure story with—as of yet—no last chapter.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “In this richly detailed and nuanced book, scientist and author Ray Jayawardhana captures the incredible story of one of nature’s most ghostly yet vital ingredients. From the Earth’s core to exploding stars, vanishing scientists, and the very essence of matter in the universe, it’s a wild and immensely satisfying ride.”

    Caleb Scharf, author of Gravity’s Engines

  • “This is science from the front lines: Ray Jayawardhana reports on the hunt for one of nature’s most elusive particles, involving scientists around the world, from the frozen plateaus of Antarctica to a nickel mine two kilometers below the forests of northern Ontario. Their prey: a tiny, evanescent speck of energy—the neutrino—that holds the key to some of the deepest puzzles in cosmology and astrophysics. But it’s not just science: Neutrino Hunters also illuminates the thinkers and tinkerers (some brilliant, some eccentric) who have made the quest for the neutrino their life’s work. We are lucky to have Dr. Jayawardhana—a first-rate storyteller who also knows the physics inside and out—to guide us through the science and the personalities behind this remarkable story.”

    Dan Falk, author of In Search of Time

  • “Ray Jayawardhana tells a whopping good ghost story. In recent years, researchers have discovered that neutrino particles, the poltergeists of physics that go right through us with nary a bump, promise to reveal much about the Earth, stars, and our cosmic origins. Beautifully written, Neutrino Hunters paints a vivid portrait of this new astronomy for the twenty-first century and the fascinating scientists who put it into place.”

    Marcia Bartusiak, author of The Day We Found the Universe

  • Neutrino Hunters is a fascinating, comprehensive look at the monumental efforts to detect the least understood particle known to physics. While the Higgs boson might be more famous, Ray Jayawardhana reveals that neutrinos are far more mysterious and may hold the key to the next breakthroughs in the field.”

    Chad Orzel, author of How to Teach Physics to Your Dog

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, December 2013
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, December 2013
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About the Author

Ray Jayawardhana is a professor and Canada research chair in observational astrophysics at the University of Toronto, where he also serves as senior advisor to the president on science engagement. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the EconomistScientific American, Astronomy, Muse, and more. He is the author of Strange New Worlds, which was a finalist for the Lane Anderson Award, one of Library Journal’s best science books of 2011, and the basis of the CBC television documentary The Planet Hunters. He lives in Toronto.

About the Narrator

Bronson Pinchot, an Audie Award–winning narrator and Audible’s Narrator of the Year for 2010, received his education at Yale University, which filled out what he had already received at his mother’s knee in the all-important areas of Shakespeare, Greek art and architecture, and the Italian Renaissance. He restores Greek Revival buildings and appears in television, film, and on stage whenever the pilasters and entablatures overwhelm him.