“The Friendly Physics Guide to Nuclear and Particle Physics in Modern Medicine – Volumes I and II”

Published by YBK Publishers, New York, NY (2022). Available in e-book format from  Amazon!

Nuclear and Particle Physics in Modern Medicine (Volume One, A Bite of Newton’s Apple) shows the interested reader how nuclear and particle physics have led to the creation of devices that image the body and go further to treat disease in a non-invasive or mostly non-invasive way. You will be shown how this is done through nuclear medicine—from the heart of the atom to the hospital laboratory—without the need for math or a prior familiarity with the subject.

You will tour the atom and its parts, make the connection to radiation and radioactivity, and meet some of the scientists whose key discoveries later led to modern nuclear medicine. You will then journey deeper into the heart of the atom and come to understand why the nucleus, and nuclear forces, extend to, and play essential roles in, the cosmos as well as work in the identification and treatment of disease. It ties together the underlying structure of matter and forces, relating them to familiar practices that are seen to enhance everyday human lives. The reader will understand how modern medicine incorporates basic nuclear science into life-saving practical applications.

The Friendly Physics Guide to Nuclear and Particle Physics in Modern Medicine (The Core of Newton’s Apple: Volume Two) bridges key ideas from A Bite of Newton’s Apple (Volume One) to develop interesting physics questions and establishes problems that the reader will learn to solve using first-year college physics and mathematics.

It puts ideas that are taught at a fast (and shallow) pace during first-year college physics into an interesting context relating its direct application to nuclear medicine and an understanding of why and how these technologies work. The reader will see just how powerful even basic college physics is in understanding the frontiers of modern medicine.

You will explore the construction of medical-grade particle accelerators, review models of the atomic nucleus, evaluate the energy released in nuclear reactions, and measure the penetrating power of its radiation.

Practical problems are accompanied by detailed explanations and solutions, guiding the student from basic concepts to deep insights into the nature of reality. The classroom and the medical locale become one through physics concepts, mathematical techniques, and critical thinking.

All of the books in The Friendly Physics Series are meant for both lay-interested individuals who want to discover the wonders of physics, or in their second fashioning, for college students at the sophomore level and higher who want to rediscover the collective wonder of that subject while developing and increasing their problem-solving skills.

Each is written in a style meant to be understood by the audience to which it is addressed. Each title comes in two parts. The first (always pre-titled A Bite of Newton’s Apple) is meant for lay-interested readers and college students who want to explore the deeper context of physics. The Bite requires little or no mathematical comfort. The second part (The Core of Newton’s Apple) goes deep into the application of physical ideas, problem-solving approaches, and mathematical exploration. The Core expects that the reader will have experience with first-year college-level physics.

“Reality in the Shadows (or) What the Heck’s the Higgs?” – S. James Gates, Jr., Frank Blitzer, and Stephen Jacob Sekula

Published by YBK Publishers, New York, NY (2017). Available from many fine booksellers, including Amazon!

A rocket scientist, a supersymmetry theorist, and a higgs hunter walk into a bar. What the Heck? happens next.

In recent years we have learned that the commonplace materials described by the scientific findings we have so far discovered portray only a tiny piece of a much greater universe–a universe ruled by tightly wound mysteries that appear to shape reality at both its largest and smallest sizes. That universe is now coming to be better understood. You will see how this has happened and how the shadows in the unknown slowly continue to be lit, identified, and explained.

Reality in the Shadows [or] What the Heck’s the Higgs? is a chronicle of the men and women who cast light on the mysteries of our existence; a look into some of the brilliant ideas that they presented, and a longer look at the new and even bigger mysteries that cry out for scientific explanation. It is an opportunity to become familiar with that now-famous particle–the Higgs Boson–that is both a telling-out of some very old questions and the beginning for hundreds of new and yet-to-be-answered ones.

This book is written for the lay person–someone interested in physics who may not have had a lot of technical or mathematical preparation. It was prepared to make the material engagingly easy to read and provides analogies and explanations that relate to the world we know.

What People are Saying About “Reality in the Shadows”

All reviews can be found on the page for our book.

“… Jim Gates, Frank Blitzer, and Steve Sekula bring together physics and mathematics, astronomy and astrophysics in a way that tells a compelling story–the quest to understand our universe … Anyone who thinks all of the questions of modern physics have been solved and that there’s little left to ponder will be shocked by this book. It presents the history of physics as an important and helpful context to explain the many thorny mysteries that lie ahead, some of which are grounded in or helped by the 2012 discovery of the Higgs Boson. I would not be one bit surprised if in addition to engaging readers, this inspires more than a few young people to recast their future and invest themselves in this ever-enduring effort to understand our world, and by doing so, create the technologies and add to the knowledge that will take us all into the future.”

Paula Apsell
Senior Executive Producer, NOVA
Director WGBH Science Unit
WGBH Educational Foundation

“This is a delightful and readable portrayal of the beautiful laws of our universe, but it is also something more: an exciting adventure story about the creative thinkers whose journeys of discovery have led to our understanding.”

Walter Isaacson
Professor of History, Tulane University
Author of “Einstein” and “Leonardo da Vinci”
President, the Aspen Institute


“Wonderworker: A Christmas Horror Novella”

Written by Stephen Jacob Sekula. Illustrations by Andrew and Connor Wrasse. Published by, 2019. Available on

Philip Jeffries is ready to go home. With federal funding for his research experiment gone, the Antarctic research season canceled, and a family waiting for him in Pasadena, it is time to depart the bottom of the Earth.

But a missing team of geologists starts him on a journey that begins in the Transantarctic Mountains and ends in a confrontation with legend and myth. An ancient power waits deep in the heart of the mountains, enraged by history, terrorized by Humanity, hidden from the World. What begins as a search-and-rescue mission becomes a desperate bid for survival and escape, lest the World behold once more the wonders that this power can work.