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02nd October 2022 Phoebe Mumby (2020, English)

Emeritus Fellow Frank Close Discusses the Discovery of the Electron on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time

Professor Frank Close, Emeritus Fellow in Physics at Exeter College, has recently featured prominently in an episode of BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg. Close, Bragg and two other guests dive into the discovery of the electron in 1897, discuss what our growing knowledge of the atomic particle has revealed, and propose what it may yet reveal in the not-so-distant future.

The electron, discovered by JJ Thomson 125 years ago, has become inseparable from modernity as our knowledge of the electron and the applications of electricity grows rapidly. Featured on this episode’s In Our Time reading list are four of the works published by Professor Close, each offering a further and fascinating insight into the physical makeup of the world around us. For a short and sweet introduction into the mammoth task of understanding the electron beyond this episode, Close’s Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction is the ideal, pocket-sized book for the job. Bridging on discussion within the In Our Times episode, Close’s work explores not only what we know about or what we have already been taught by the electron, but looks ahead to new ideas about the mystery of antimatter, the number of dimensions that there might be in the universe, and what the next 50 years of research could reveal.

A fascinating listen, Close’s feature on In Our Time can be found on the BBC website and is well worth the listen.

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