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Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles

Overview

"Will the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) create a miniature black hole that could swallow up the Earth? Could it help explain the missing matter and energy in the universe? Will it point the way toward unifying the forces of nature? Might it reveal the God particle? Collider goes beyond explaining the mysteries of quantum mechanics and Einstein's theories to sort through a century of actual experiments, revealing how we know what we know, and what we hope to find out." In this comprehensive guide to the theory, mechanics, and science behind

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Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles

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Overview

"Will the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) create a miniature black hole that could swallow up the Earth? Could it help explain the missing matter and energy in the universe? Will it point the way toward unifying the forces of nature? Might it reveal the God particle? Collider goes beyond explaining the mysteries of quantum mechanics and Einstein's theories to sort through a century of actual experiments, revealing how we know what we know, and what we hope to find out." In this comprehensive guide to the theory, mechanics, and science behind experimental high-energy physics, Paul Halpern gives you the tools you need to understand what the LHC is, what it hopes to discover, and why it is the biggest story in science today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* "Halpern explains complex topics and theories concisely, frequently drawing on deft analogies...Halpern makes the search for mysterious particles pertinent and exciting by explaining clearly what we don't know about the universe, and offering a hopeful outlook for future research." (Publishers Weekly, August 2009)
Publishers Weekly
Halpern (What's Science Ever Done For Us?), professor of physics and mathematics, makes particle physics accessible in this look at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) "and the extraordinary discoveries likely to be made there." Beginning with the philosophers and scientists who shaped our understanding of the universe over centuries, Halpern explains complex topics and theories concisely, frequently drawing on deft analogies: the "fleeting nature of neutrinos is akin to a featherweight, constantly traveling politician... neutrinos never hang around long enough to make enough of an impact to serve as uniters." After tracing a path from Boyle and Newton through Mendeleev, Maxwell, Rutherford and Einstein, Halpern discusses modern discoveries and details the equipment utilized, from cloud chambers to various kinds of particle accelerators. The bulk of the text focuses on particle physics studies from the past four decades, in the U.S. at Fermilab and the costly but uncompleted Superconducting Super Collider, and in Europe at CERN in Switzerland (responsible for the LHC). Halpern makes the search for mysterious particles pertinent and exciting by explaining clearly what we don't know about the universe, and offering a hopeful outlook for future research.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470286203
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 8/3/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

PAUL HALPERN, PhD, is Professor of Physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He is the author of numerous books, including The Great Beyond and What's Science Ever Done For Us?, both available from Wiley.
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Table of Contents

Prologue: Journey to the Heart of the Large Hadron Collider 1

Introduction The Machinery of Perfection 7

1 The Secrets of Creation 23

2 The Quest for a Theory of Everything 41

3 Striking Gold: Rutherford's Scattering Experiments 53

4 Smashing Successes: The First Accelerators 75

5 A Compelling Quartet: The Four Fundamental Forces 99

6 A Tale of Two Rings: The Tevatron and the Super Proton Synchrotron 117

7 Deep in the Heart of Texas: The Rise and Fall of the Superconducting Super Collider 147

8 Crashing by Design: Building the Large Hadron Collider 163

9 Denizens of the Dark: Resolving the Mysteries of Dark Matter and Dark Energy 179

10 The Brane Drain: Looking for Portals to Higher Dimensions 191

11 Microscopic Black Holes: A Boon to Science or a Boom for the World? 209

Conclusion: The Future of High-Energy Physics: The International Linear Collider and Beyond 225

Notes 233

Further Reading 241

Index 245

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2009

    On a Collision Course with a Highly Fun Read

    I loved the easygoing style that Halpern brings to such an esoteric topic. The pages practically turned themselves. Writing on a technically dense subject such as particle physics with a light touch is not easy, but he pulls it off. Among other things, he is a master of calibrated understatement ("Presently the cosmos is thereby a bit of a jumble.") His miniature biographies of scientists, such as Fermi and Rutherford, could be a worthwhile book in themselves. And some awesome photographs of historic colliders seal the deal. I can only feel lucky to be alive in a time where astonishment is the order of the day when it comes to achievements in particle physics. Thanks to Halpern for keeping it real!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fascinating, compelling and immensely readable

    Strap yourself in and prepare for a mind-expanding journey into the thrills and mysteries of the universe with award-winning physicist and author, Paul Halpern. This book is a gem.

    The long-awaited moment when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN goes online has generated a great deal of excitement and (through misinformed press coverage) fear and trepidation. In 'Collider' Halpern eloquently explains what the LHC is, how it will work, and what scientists will be looking for when it is operational.

    The purpose of the LHC is to recreate the conditions which are thought to have existed less than a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang that birthed our universe. To help readers grasp the enormous potential of the discoveries that could be made, Halpern takes the reader on a thrilling adventure story that traces the footsteps of the scientists whose discoveries have pinpointed the extraordinary forces that created and sustain this planet that we call home.

    Peppered with entertaining anecdotes and analogies which clarify the scientific principles, 'Collider' is clearly a labour of love for its author. Halpern's highly infectious passion for science transmits itself through every page, and his explanations of the principles lend fuel to the imagination and generate a sense of wonder. The chapters take us on a compelling journey through subjects which include the standard model and the four forces, relativity, supersymmetry, the theory of everything, dark energy and dark matter, black holes, strangelets, wormholes and higher dimensions, describing what the LHC could divulge of these. The book concludes with the future plans for the Super LHC and the International Linear Collider.

    For those who are concerned that the LHC will be the instrument of doom for our planet, unleashing black holes or strangelets which would annihilate the earth, Halpern gives reassurance. He points out that it is the energy 'per particle' which will reproduce the early conditions, and that this amounts to 'less than a billionth of a dietary calorie per collision.'

    Like Carl Sagan before him, Paul Halpern has an extraordinary gift for enabling readers to envision the universe as he does; as a wondrous place where everything, from the tiniest particle to the largest star, is dependent on particular forces. 'Collider' reveals what we could learn when the portal of possibility that is the LHC shares its secrets and reveals more about these forces which shaped the cosmos.

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    Posted March 28, 2012

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    Posted June 10, 2010

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