Gordon Fraser was for many years the in-house editor at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva. His books on popular science and scientists include 'Cosmic Anger', a biography of Abdus Salam, the first Muslim Nobel scientist, and 'Antimatter:The Ultimate Mirror'. He is also the editor of 'The New Physics for the 21st Century' and 'The Particle Century'. His books have been translated into 15 languages. After undergraduate studies at Imperial College, London, he went onto a PhD in theoretical particle physics, and worked as a research scientist as well as a journalist. He sadly left us in January 2013 after an arduous battle with myeloma.
Education and research
- PhD Imperial College, London 1967
- Postdoctoral positions 1967-70
- Journalist, IPC Business Press, London
- Freelance journalist and publicist, London
- Information and Press Officer, Rutherford Laboratory, UK
- Editor and writer, CERN 1977-2002
- Visiting lecturer in Science Communication, various universities
Books and Publications
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- Editor, CERN Courier 1982-2002
- Author, with E. Lillestol and I. Sellevag, 'The Search for Infinity', first published by Mitchell Beazley (Reed Books, London) 1994, Facts on File (New York) 1995. Revised edition, Philips (Reed Books, London) 1998. Reprinted 1999. Also published in French, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish, Norwegian, Czech and Hebrew
- 'The Quark Machines' Institute of Physics Publishing (Bristol and Philadelphia) 1997
- 'The Particle Century' (Editor) Institute of Physics Publishing (Bristol and Philadelphia) 1998
- 'Antimatter - The Ultimate Mirror' Cambridge University Press, 2000. Paperback edition 2002. Also published in Chinese, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Polish and Russian.
- contributor, Microsoft Encarta
- Editor, 'New Physics for the 21st Century', Cambridge University Press 2006. Paperback edition 2009. To be published in Chinese.
- 'Cosmic Anger' a biography of Abdus Salam, the first Muslim to win a Nobel Science Prize, Oxford University Press, 2008. Kindle edition 2011. Paperback edition, January 2012. To be published in Arabic.
- ‘Quantum Exodus – Fugitive Jews, The Atomic Bomb and the Holocaust’, Oxford University Press, 2012. Kindle edition 2012.
The Quantum Exodus - Fugitive Jews, the Atomic Bomb, and the Holocaust
Jeremy Bernstein, The Wall Street Journal
Patricia Fara, Nature Physics
"The narratives are fascinating (...) Fraser is excellent in presenting a tapestry of personal fates, scientific contributions and (politics) in the age of (...) racist persecution."
Ulrich Charpa, Times Literary Supplement
Cosmic Anger – Abdus Salam, the First Muslim Nobel Scientist
"More than a biography of a great scientist, this book provides a wider political and historical commentary. And while some of the details of Salam's physics may be incomprehensible to those without a background in the subject, the politics of the Indian subcontinent, and the status of science in Islam, both past and present, makes this an important and enlightening read."
Jim al-Khalili, New Scientist
"An intriguing biography, a striking, frequently moving story … despite some eyebrow-raising eccentricities of style. …. Cosmic Anger is an important work, not just in terms of its biographical revelations, but for the light it shines on the dark irrational times we now inhabit."
Robin McKie, The National, August 2008
"At first glance this book … is supposed to be about the life of Abdus Salam. In reality is that and much more. …… In a lucid and engaging style Fraser describes how the collaboration of Salam and the nomadic genius John C. Ward yielded a number of crucial papers in the 1959-1964 period that gave the synthesis of electromagnetic and weak interactions. Fraser's well researched contribution providesa transparent description …. that merits attention from physicists and historians alike. Cosmic Anger is highly recommended."
"A balanced biography of Abdus Salam, touching on his humble upbringing, ambitions, achievements, fame, virtues, and weaknesses.. The author’s extensive knowledge of history, literature, linguistics, … and physics is admirable. … A valuable addition to the collections of public and science libraries. Particularly in Islamic Communities, the book may stir up ambitions in youth to follow a career in science."
The Mathematical Association of America Reviews
"Gordon Fraser's enigmatically titled biography is immensely engaging, and its numerous anecdotes will titillate physicists."
Pervez Hoodbhoy, Physics Today
"Gordon Fraser...has produced a rich and varied biography...in this sensitive account. Salam's contributions on the international scene shine out"
Simon Mitton, Times Higher Education Supplement
“The story of Abdus Salam is both captivating and inspiring … a Shakespearean tragedy in which the highest human ambitions are displayed alongside the pettiest human prejudices. Cosmic Anger, the first biography of Salam to appear in English in 16 years, is a sensitive, and at times moving, account.”
Shahid Kamal, Dawn (Pakistan)
The New Physics for the 21st Century
"... this book will be an excellent addition to any physicist's library. The net effect of reading it could be likened to having a year-long series of engaging speakers at the weekly departmental colloquium-one after another brilliantly elucidating the advances in their field, but making their talks comprehensible for everyone who attended even if they came only for the cookies and punch!"
S. Raj Chaudhury, The Physics Teacher
"For me, the delight of such a book is to gain insight into how the true experts in the field think about their subject. … It is beautifully presented and, given the contributor list, authoritative ... I wholeheartedly recommend it to researchers, postgraduate students and perhaps advanced undergraduates in the sciences."
Brian Cox, Times Higher Education Supplement
"... accessible to a general readership ... presents topics that can be usefully pondered by those with little background in physics ... written at a level that can be digested by eager undergraduates but will also be instructive to experienced physicists ... several physicist colleagues have passed on unsolicited praise of the level of presentation."
"It is written at a level that can be digested by eager undergraduates but will also be instructive to experienced physicists. It is lavishly produced and good value – several colleagues have passed on unsolicited praise."
Charles Clark, Physics Web
"A cursory glance shows that the people writing the articles are leaders in their fields. Who better to learn from? Third, not only are the authors big, but they're good - the writing is incredibly concise, yet lucid, and any of the chapters are accessible to most 2nd or 3rd year physics undergraduates, or anyone else who's been exposed to a decent amount of physics. All in all, I highly recommend this book."
Antimatter – The Ultimate Mirror
“I read Gordon Fraser's new book, Antimatter: the Ultimate Mirror, with awe and envy … [he] has done an excellent job in making the arcane accessible, in a style that suggests adventure novel rather than dry scientific text. If more scientists could write like this, I dare say more would be understandable.”
David Myton, Education Review
“Antimatter is the fuel of science fiction, propelling, for example, Star Trek's U.S.S.Enterprise, but its study is also a burgeoning branch of modern science. Fraser, a physicist at the CERN European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, here offers a thoughtful, no-nonsense account of the strange world of antimatter … Written for the serious layperson, Fraser's absorbing narrative...imparts a keen sense of the colorful personalities involved, and of their thought processes and discoveries, without ever introducing maths or burdensome technical detail.”
The Particle Century
“Gordon Fraser has performed a very welcome service by commissioning and editing 19 essays on the history of elementary particle physics in the 20th century, with just about every essay being written by the physicists who made that history.”
Martin Perl, History of Physics Newsletter.
The Quark Machines
"Fraser shows unusual skill in finding vivid analogies that capture physical pictures without distorting them. In many ways this book complements Abraham Pais' 'Inward Bound’.”
Gary Feldman, Physics World
"Fraser gives us an impressionist picture of some of the key people, ideas, and tools that contributed to the Standard Model with bright splotches of colour spread over abroad range of space and time on the backdrop of the major historical events of this century."
History of Physics Newsletter
"… a careful and fascinating account of particle physics in the 20th Century."
Christine Sutton, New Scientist
"An account worth having for its record of how the struggle for dominance in fundamental physics looked from the European side. This is a story which includes many of the great moments of 20th-century science."
The Financial Times
"Fraser presents the history of particle physics from a refreshingly new perspective-that of the machine builders."
Michael Riordan, CERN Courier
The Search for Infinity
“This is as good a place as any for the beginner who wants a gentle introduction to quarks, the unification of forces, the Big Bang, and the Universe at large.”
John Gribbin, Good Book Guide
“This wonderful book combines a lively description of the discoveries that have led to our present picture of the Universe with an intelligible survey of the discoveries that we use to make sense of it.”
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Malcolm Coe and Tony Hey, New Scientist