This book follows in the post-second world war tradition of excellence in nuclear physics textbooks demonstrated in such early texts as Hans Bethe's Elementary Nuclear Theory of 1947 and Enrico Fermi's notes on the course he gave at the University of Chicago, published in 1949.
It not only provides good coverage of the fundamentals of the subject but also gives an account of ideas and data in the 1990s. In addition there is a good explanation of the aims of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, and of the heavy ion programme at the Large Hadron Collider at Cern, due for completion in 2005.
The material presented is suitable for second or third-year core courses in undergraduate physics, third or fourth-year advanced courses in nuclear physics and, in some sections, for postgraduate courses.
There is broad coverage of essential topics including accelerators and detectors and sufficient material on subnuclear particles as is required to understand nuclear phenomena. The main emphasis is on describing nuclear forces and the models for nuclear structure and accounting for nuclear decay and the various types of nuclear reaction.
The theoretical development is thorough and detailed. The expert use of experimental data demonstrates the deep knowledge of the authors. In these sections the treatment goes beyond that appropriate for undergraduates and would be a sound basis for research students. The final section is a brief but beautifully lucid account of nuclear reactors (including the development of controlled fusion), cosmology and nuclear astrophysics. Apart from the historical introduction, each of the 24 remaining sections has a set of about 15 problems, but without solutions or answers.
As an appendix, there is a 70-page table of masses and isotopes derived from the 1990 "Nuclear Wallet Cards" with updates. This presents selected properties of all known nuclides and their isomeric states.
As with most first editions, there are several typographical errors but in only a few instances will they cause some puzzlement. It is likely that this book will become one of the standard texts and with occasional updating could remain so for many years.
Trevor Bacon is senior lecturer in physics, Imperial College, London.
Introductory Nuclear Physics
Author - P. E. Hodgson, E. Gadioli and E. Gadioli Erba
ISBN - 0 19 851989 3 and 851897
Publisher - Oxford University Press
Price - £60.00 and £.50
Pages - 723