The purpose of this document is to make available to the non-specialist and non-scientist a review of the technical concepts underlying the work done in the field of sonic boom research. It contains a non-technical discussion of the acoustic mechanisms which are fundamental in sonic boom phenomena, using photographs of water wave analogues. Then the report discusses a variety of basic aspects including: generation, propagation, minimization, human response and social criteria, structural and wildlife response, threshold Mach number operations and simulation methods. The report sites many references and draws extensively on a recent review for investigators in the field of sonic boom prepared by L.J. Runyan and E.J. Kane.