Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The mysteries of whites and of mass

New Books In History is my weekly stop for good history podcast (feed). Apart from some recurring themes in the series, host Marshall Poe frequently comes up, also, with very unusual, sometimes obscure, but invariably hugely interesting unexpected subjects. Take these two:

Massive for example, is a book about the history of the hunt for the Higgs-boson, the sub-atomic particle that is supposed to make up for the lack of mass in the known particles that atoms are comprised of. Marshall Poe speaks with Ian Sample who wrote the book and tells the most fascinating tale of this project in physics. It appears it is not just a project in physics, it is also about huge building projects (the Large Hadron Collider) therefore about money, politics and also about prestige.

Another subject was Poe's interview with Nell Irvin Painter about the history of white people. It is not politically correct and not even fashionable to speak of white or black or colored people anymore, but these ideas about different races among humans did arrive in the collective conscience at some point in time. Painter sought the origins of this racial thinking out and especially the origins of the concept of white people and skin color as the defining element of race.

More NBIH:
A Soviet Memoir,
This I accomplish,
Not your idea of World War II,
When Akkadian was Lingua Franca,
The 1910 Paris flood.
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