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From Barnes & NobleOur Review
Although string theory seems to be getting all the attention these days, the next concrete step for physics is confirmation of the theory of supersymmetry, which would encompass and extend the current Standard Model of particle physics. The Standard Model is the accepted framework for grouping particles and their relationships to one another. Particle physicist Gordon Kane gave a wonderful nontechnical explanation of the Standard Model in his previous book, The Particle Garden. In his new book, Kane makes a careful distinction between areas of science that are well tested and those that are "research in progress" (or RIP) and also between theories that describe the way the world is and those that explain why the world is the way it is.
The Standard Model is well tested and describes the way the world is, indicating, for example that there are three families of particles; but it does not explain why there are three families. A Supersymmetric Standard Model would answer some loose questions and would represent significant progress toward an eventual primary theory that would explain the whys. Above all, Supersymmetry is a window into how physicists formulate and test theories. Kane guides the reader step-by-step through the tools physicists use, such as the Feynman diagrams developed by Richard Feynman, and gives a detailed rundown of colliders and what scientists can hope will be discovered in the next few years.
Specifically, physicists are looking for evidence of the predicted "superpartners." Supersymmetry requires that every particle known must have a corresponding superpartner (somewhat analogous to matter/antimatter). Finding one is not a simple matter. Kane shows the reader simulated collider "events" that could qualify and explains just how these events are analyzed. Anyone interested in what can be expected from physics in the near future, or who has read The Elegant Universe or Hyperspace and wants an in-depth treatment of supersymmetry, should consider this book.
--Laura Wood, Science & Nature Editor