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Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles Hardcover – 28 Jul 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (28 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470286202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470286203
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.5 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 992,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Acclaimed science writer and physicist Paul Halpern is the author of more than a dozen popular science books, exploring the subjects of space, time, higher dimensions, dark energy, dark matter, exoplanets, particle physics, and cosmology. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, and an Athenaeum Literary Award. He has appeared on numerous radio and television programmes including 'Future Quest' and 'The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special'.

Recent books by Paul Halpern include 'Edge of the Universe: A Voyage to the Cosmic Horizon and Beyond,' a fascinating look at the latest mysteries in cosmology, and 'What's the Matter with Pluto? The Story of Pluto's Adventures with the Planet Club,' a fun, illustrated children's book about what it means to be a planet.

More information about Paul Halpern's books and other writings can be found at:

Product Description


"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)

From the Author

We stand on the brink of a bold new age in science, precipitated by the most powerful particle smasher ever constructed. By crashing together particles at enormous energies, scientists hope to recreate some of the conditions merely a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. Explore the quest for the building blocks of the universe using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and other accelerators!

Could there be a single energetic field, called the Higgs field and nicknamed `The God Particle,' that bestows mass upon everything else in the universe? Do the matter particles in the universe have counterparts in the world of force, and those of force in the world of matter, through the hypothetical property called supersymmetry? Might space have unseen dimensions into which the agents of gravity can stealthily disappear? Why does the universe have far more matter than antimatter? Will mini-black-holes be produced in the LHC's energetic collisions? If so, could they possibly represent a danger? Why did the potentially more powerful Superconducting Super Collider (SCC) suddenly get cancelled and what were the repercussions of that decision?

Collider investigates these fascinating questions and more, offering the background behind humanity's search for the most fundamental components of the cosmos. Take a literary trip into the fiery origins of all things and discover the path to ultimate unity!

Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By String on 13 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What an immensely comprehensible and well-paced, entertaining read. Paul Halpern draws back the veil of scientific jargon to illustrate the exciting discoveries and history of nuclear/particle physics. The author has an excellent manner of relating information on the mechanics of physics and gives a well-grounded and convincing instruction on the intricacies of the science. Skillfull authors such as Paul, are able to give examples of complex subjects in such a way that the reader is immediately enlightened. This is a book which sparks new thoughts, inviting areas of further research by conducting a clever factual alchemy.

I picked up the book for two reasons, one as a recommendation and the other for a purely selfish motivation. Having been the recipient of a certain amount of superstitious communication regarding the danger of Large Hadron Collider I was curious as to what the controversy was all about. This is a great book to read in order to develop a well rounded view of the history of the Collider as well as the Linear Accelerators, the Cyclotron and the purpose for which these amazing machines are constructed.

Paul's writing `voice' is not only entertaining, humorous and knowledgeable but also has a very humanitarian tone, something I find an absolute necessity when conveying such critical and complex information which could have large ramifications for understanding the creation of our world. Collider would make a great companion book for physics classes as well as just purely enjoyable reading for those who are scientifically or historically minded and who desire a logical set of tools for understanding a very complex science.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Tenzin-dolma on 2 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bertie on 8 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this expecting a good intro to particle physics and CERN. Instead I got a very American centric view of things which is more interested in telling you about 'wonderful Americans' than it is about the science. LHC hardly mentioned at all and people like Rutherford and Bohr only mentioned in passing.

For a better intro to atomic physics I'd recommend 'atom' by piers bizony over this
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Format: Paperback
From the outset, it has to be said that the book is already a little out of date. First published in 2009, the version being reviewed was published in 2010 with a revised preface. As such, while there is much talk about the search for the Higgs boson, the book doesn't include the detail of the research that culminated in the announcement in July 2012 of the confirmation of its existence. I do not know if the book is to be further revised or if the author intends a follow-up to include an account of the latest research.

With that forewarning, I ought to move on to what the book does contain, rather than what it doesn't. It is the story of particle physics and the machines that have been built in order to test the theories. Since I was a teenager, I was long fascinated by the fundamental constituents of the universe. I was able to follow this through by continuing to study physics through A-levels and on into university. For someone like me, this is a great book. However, for those who aren't interested in fundamental physics, I doubt it will be of much interest.

The scope of the book is very broad, ranging from the testing of the "plum pudding" model of the atom through to brane-world scenarios and Hawking radiation of black holes. With such breadth, it is inevitable that the technical depth is, to some extent, lost. Halpern doesn't provide the reader with many equations, tables or technical diagrams, though a few more wouldn't have been amiss in my opinion, especially with regard to Feynman diagrams which are described but not shown.

In telling the history of particle accelerators, there is a political history thrown in, which is unusual for a physics book but which is not an unwelcome addition.
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