I’m a Neutrino: Tiny Particles in a Big Universe
Dr Eve M. Vavagiakis
MIT Kids Press, 2022
40pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99
Somewhere, back in the hazy days of high school in the 60s, I learned about protons, electrons and neutrons but, to be honest, I wasn’t interested in science and physics was an absolute mystery. Now, even having read this book it still is, but there is bound to be a budding young physicist who can get their head round the existence and purpose of these mysterious particles of matter that are the smallest known.
According to the publisher’s blurb, “Before you finish reading this sentence, trillions upon trillions of neutrinos will have passed through your body” and according to Encyclopaedia Britannica, a neutrino is an “elementary subatomic particle with no electric charge, very little mass, and 1/2 unit of spin. Neutrinos belong to the family of particles called leptons, which are not subject to the strong force. Rather, neutrinos are subject to the weak force that underlies certain processes of radioactive decay.”
So to have someone who is not only smart enough to understand the scientific definition but then distil that into an accessible poem the explains the phenomenon (and further explain it in prose as well), and another person to also understand it and be able to interpret it in illustrations is a phenomenon in itself. Nevertheless, that’s what has been done in this book and there will be budding young cosmologists whose brains can travel to places that are a mystery to me. And if they want to know more, then have them listen to this conversation with the author.