The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World

The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World

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by Sean Carroll
     
 

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Winner of the prestigious 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books

“A modern voyage of discovery.” —Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate, author of The Lightness of Being

The Higgs boson is one of our era’s most fascinating scientific frontiers and the key to understanding why mass exists. The most recent book on

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Overview

Winner of the prestigious 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books

“A modern voyage of discovery.” —Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate, author of The Lightness of Being

The Higgs boson is one of our era’s most fascinating scientific frontiers and the key to understanding why mass exists. The most recent book on the subject, The God Particle, was a bestseller. Now, Caltech physicist Sean Carroll documents the doorway that is opening—after billions of dollars and the efforts of thousands of researchers at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland—into the mind-boggling world of dark matter. The Particle at the End of the Universe has it all: money and politics, jealousy and self-sacrifice, history and cutting-edge physics—all grippingly told by a rising star of science writing.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The science is authoritative, yet bold and lively.  The narrative is richly documented, yet full of human drama.    Carroll’s saga pulls you aboard a modern voyage of discovery.”
—Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate, author of The Lightness of Being

“In this superb book, Sean Carroll provides a fascinating and lucid look at the most mysterious and important particle in nature, and the experiment that revealed it.   Anyone with an interest in physics should read this, and join him in examining the new worlds of physics to which this discovery may lead.”
—Leonard Mlodinow, author of NYT bestseller The Drunkard’s Walk

"Carroll tells the story of the particle that everyone has heard of but few of us actually understand. After you read his book—an enticing cocktail of personal anecdote, clever analogy, and a small dose of mind-bending theory—you will truly grasp why the Higgs boson has been sought after for so long by so many. Carroll is a believer in big science asking big questions and his beliefs are infectious and inspiring."
—Morgan Freeman, Actor and Executive Producer of Through the Wormhole

"Carroll is a sure-footed guide through some of the most perplexing and fascinating insights of modern physics."-Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe
Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe

"[Carroll's] writing is accessible and peppered with cultural refernces... but don't be fooled Carroll isn't afraid to wade into topics that have befuddled even brand-name physicists."-WiredWired

"Carroll keeps it real, getting at the complex guts of cutting-edge cosmology in discussions that will challenge fans of Hawking's A Brief History of Time."-The Washington Post
The Washington Post

Publishers Weekly
With his trademark wit and lucidity, Carroll (From Eternity to Here) delivers the story of the search for the elusive Higgs boson—the Holy Grail of particle physics—which was finally discovered earlier in 2012. The tale, says Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, is one of “money, politics, and jealousy” among scientists and nations seeking the prize. The Higgs boson is not an atomic particle; it’s part of the Higgs field that pervades the universe and gives atomic particles their mass. The quest for the elusive particle required a cutting-edge tool: the massive, complex Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland. Carroll takes readers inside the collider’s 17-mile ring, where protons zoom around at ultrahigh speeds to smash together, revealing telltale signs of the boson. Along the way Carroll introduces researchers like Mike Lamont, the LHC’s “Mister Scott”; engineer Lyn Evans, the man who built the LHC; and Fabiola Gianotti, one of the top women scientists in the world. Whether explaining complex physics like field theory and symmetry or the workings of particle accelerators, Carroll’s clarity and unbridled enthusiasm reveal the pure excitement of discovery as much as they illuminate the facts. Illus. (Nov.)
Wired
[Carroll's] writing is accessible and peppered with cultural refernces... but don't be fooled Carroll isn't afraid to wade into topics that have befuddled even brand-name physicists."-Wired
The Washington Post

"Carroll keeps it real, getting at the complex guts of cutting-edge cosmology in discussions that will challenge fans of Hawking's A Brief History of Time."

Library Journal
Carroll, particle physicist and popular science writer/blogger, makes the story of "the God particle" and CERN's Large Hadron Collider accessible for popular science readers. Appendixes provide more explanation of particle physics. (LJ 1/13)
Kirkus Reviews
A leading particle physicist explains why the official confirmation of the existence of the elusive Higgs Boson ("the God Particle") was a world-changing scientific milestone. Carroll (Theoretical Physics/Caltech; From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, 2010, etc.) makes a convincing case for the necessity of supporting basic scientific research that may have no discernible payback. At the cost of billions of dollars and a decades-long international effort by thousands of scientists, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva is Big Science on steroids. The LHC uses superconducting magnets to accelerate protons traveling in opposite directions, almost to the speed of light. The massive amount of energy released when they collide results in the creation of the Higgs particle, which then rapidly decays, revealing the track of more recognizable particles. In the author's view, the days are over when an individual scientist such as Carl Anderson (working with a team of students) could build a cloud chamber and be the first to reveal evidence of antimatter by identifying the track of a positron. With the help of diagrams and vivid, descriptive language, Carroll reveals the scientific background to the discovery and why it has given scientists a glimpse of how the universe works on the most fundamental, subatomic level. The Higgs particle fills in a piece of the puzzle, but the author recognizes that despite the success of this endeavor, building an even larger, next-generation collider may prove politically difficult. A fascinating chronicle of an important chapter in fundamental science.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142180303
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/27/2013
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
167,797
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Wired
"[Carroll's] writing is accessible and peppered with cultural refernces... but don't be fooled Carroll isn't afraid to wade into topics that have befuddled even brand-name physicists."-Wired
The Washington Post
"Carroll keeps it real, getting at the complex guts of cutting-edge cosmology in discussions that will challenge fans of Hawking's A Brief History of Time."-The Washington Post
Brian Greene
"Carroll is a sure-footed guide through some of the most perplexing and fascinating insights of modern physics."-Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe
From the Publisher
“The science is authoritative, yet bold and lively. The narrative is richly documented, yet full of human drama. Carroll’s saga pulls you aboard a modern voyage of discovery.”

—Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate, author of The Lightness of Being


“In this superb book, Sean Carroll provides a fascinating and lucid look at the most mysterious and important particle in nature, and the experiment that revealed it. Anyone with an interest in physics should read this, and join him in examining the new worlds of physics to which this discovery may lead.”

—Leonard Mlodinow, author of NYT bestseller The Drunkard’s Walk


"Carroll tells the story of the particle that everyone has heard of but few of us actually understand. After you read his book—an enticing cocktail of personal anecdote, clever analogy, and a small dose of mind-bending theory—you will truly grasp why the Higgs boson has been sought after for so long by so many. Carroll is a believer in big science asking big questions and his beliefs are infectious and inspiring."

—Morgan Freeman, Actor and Executive Producer of Through the Wormhole

Read More

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