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The God Particle [Paperback]

4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? 4.2 out of 5 stars (4)
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Book Description

6 Oct 1998 0385312113 978-0385312110 Reprint
In this extraordinarily accessible and enormously witty book, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman guides us on a fascinating tour of the history of particle physics. The book takes us from the Greeks' earliest scientific observations through Einstein and beyond in an inspiring celebration of human curiosity. It ends with the quest for the Higgs boson, nicknamed the God Particle, which scientists hypothesize will help unlock the last secrets of the subatomic universe. With a new preface by Lederman, The God Particle will leave you marveling at our continuing pursuit of the infinitesimal.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group; Reprint edition (6 Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385312113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385312110
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 580,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

LEON LEDERMAN shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in physics and is the director emeritus of Fermilab, a worldwide organization of physists. He lives near Chicago, Illinois.^DICK TERESI is the coauthor of The Three-Pound Universe and a former editor of Omni magazine. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Lederman spends the first third of this book reviewing physics, from Greek times to the early this century; the second third focuses on the more recent history of particle accelerators - in which Lederman himself plays a part. All this is a necessary and fascinating preface to the final third - an exploration of the frontiers of knowledge in the exploration of the fundamental building blocks of nature, in which Lederman quietly pokes fun at physicists' attempts to find the answer to life, the universe, and everything - which they suspect might be very simple and beautiful, and at least partly to do with the God Particle - the Higgs Boson - a (so far) theoretical particle/force (I am not a physicist, so I can get away with this description) which gives mass to everything in the universe.
If reading this does not get you excited about physics, nothing will. I look forward to an update, Mr. Lederman - have you found Higgs yet?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, excellently written. 20 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have recently read "The God Particle" by Professor Leon Lederman, and can truthfully say I was disappointed, that is disappointed when I came to the end of the book. this book is a great read for anybody who is interested in the development of scientific discovery into the the basic particles which make up the atoms of our universe, and thus ourselves.
While following the route through history, one is shown the important steps that were discovered both by design and by accident, by such great Physicists as galileo, Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Einstein, Feynman, Lederman, Higgs and many many more, whose names I cannot recall .The end point of the book is the search for and discovery of the ultimate particle "The God Particle",
or "Higgs Boson" , which is thought to be the final particle, which will make the Quantum Equation make complete sense (well almost).
Professor Lederman leads the reader along with style and panache, and plenty of laugh out loud humour, so much so, that when Icame to the end of the book , I was disappointed , though at the same time elated, and with a much greater understanding of particle physics than I had before, I read the book. Lederman ensures that fact and supposition are clearly defined, and that even if the Higgs Boson is found, the story of Physics will not end there,but will have travelled one more step on the road to enlightenment.
I must also say that I had previously read Professor Brian Cox's " Why does E=MC2", and so had a reasonable grounding in particle physics ( as much as could be expected of a layman!). Another great read, recommended by a fellow Yahoo "ranter" after the CERN announcement last summer, that they may have found the "Higgs Bosun".
Long Live scientific discovery , and the search for truth!
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In the end pleases nobody 20 July 2007
First, thanks to Mr. Lederman for writing the book and trying his best to explain particle physics or maybe this wasn't even his aim... I couldn't quite tell in the end. The book starts out like Bryson's 'Brief History of Everything', but unfortunately Lederman's humor wasn't my cup of tea. At other times the book tried to be a tutorial, which was always an up-hill task on account of the topic. Finally, Lederman used the book to snipe at, pat the backs of, and glorify other physics people and to this end there were clearly many 'insider jokes' which again were not my cup of tea! My biggest single gripe in reading was the needlessness of the feminisation of God in the second person (she not he). In short my review reads... the book meandered slowly towards an explanation of the 'God Particle' before having to admit that presently (the 90's) it can't be proved one way or the other. This review may sound negative, so to end, I will say that Lederman does an adequate job in the main at explaining this part of physics to non-physisists like myself - if he had stuck to that task the book would have been a third shorter and better for it.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a book too ambitious 19 May 2009
Leon Lederman, an old Nobel prize of Physics attempts in this book to explain and divulge modern physics, this is I think from Maxwell, who passed to mathematics the empiric discoveries of Faraday, to present times.
And I think the non professional reader can understand until mechanics of Newton who was understood fast in Europe at his time, but cuantic physics and mechanics I believe are too difficult for amateurs. Lederman attempts to attract common people with the aid of some examples of what relativity theory and modern physics should mean for common, daily life of ordinary people, and there, he surrounds dangerously the yet very handled theme of the "Voodoo science", science fiction or some else, in an attempt to popularize a science the own professionals accept sometimes they doesn't understand in full. I think the book is so too compressed and not ever easy to follow.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  91 reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars As elusive in this book as in the real world 24 Aug 2008
By C. Juliet - Published on
As with most physics books we get a history lesson of the long road of discoveries that has led up to our current point in research, in this case the higgs boson. The history section is probably one of the best written in physics books but unfortunately that's not why I had read the book. The section that actually concerns the title of the book is actually pretty small. The second part of the book is more concerned with the authors history with Fermi lab, winning the nobel prize, interesting anecdotes and some friendships with other physicists. The God particle subject is very elusive in this book, as it is in the real world.
78 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece! 31 May 2001
By Hrvoje - Published on
Leon Lederman is an experimental physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize in physics (1988). If there will be Nobel Prize for the humor, he will be double winner. I read more than 100 books about popular physics, quantum theory and cosmology and this book is certainly in my Top 5 of all time! From the first hand you can read all newest information about what experimental physicists do, where are the problems, what is the next discovery they expect, and how look the atmosphere between scientists in the lab. In this book you can also read a much about history of experimental physics. But the main subject of this book is search for mysterious particle, Higss boson (God particle).
Why all material things have a mass? Nobody knows. God particle is propose to be an answer. Problem is that this particle is never been seen to interact with other particles or even to exist. It is pure imagination. But, if Higgs boson does not exist there will be a lot of serious problems for todays physical theories.
'The God Particle' is written with such a great charm and humor that I can not imagine better style than his. Lederman is first-class mind and in this book there are no speculations and mysticism, but only a pure scientific facts.
It seems to me that always a greatest minds (Gell-Mann, Feynman, Hawking, Weinberg,...) write a best book on the subject. This is the one. No doubt 'God Particle' deserve all 5 stars. Enjoy your self!
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant book, but needs updating 29 Dec 2006
By nerdyguy1618 - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant book. The book speaks for itself. My words can't do it justice. I think everyone should read this book.

The only thing that bothers me about it is that it needs updating. The author of this new edition did explain in the forward that it was written over a decade ago, in anticipation of the SSC, whose funding got cut. However, that is not enough. If the author or publisher did not want to update the text of the book itself, they should have provided footnotes throughout. For example, when it mentions that the top quark has not been discovered, that deserves a comment about its discovery, if not an appendix. It wouldn't take that much effort to just add footnotes, and it would help make the book more timeless.

Also, the paper in this edition could be better. The quality is not quite as bad as "mass market paperback", but almost.

Regardless of my few negative comments, this is one of the all-time best scientific books written for a popular audience.
46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars my personal review 15 Jan 2012
By YNK - Published on
What I am about to write only reflects my personal thoughts on this book:

1- I find the title of the book misleading, as VERY little is dedicated to the Higgs boson in the book... very disappointing, as I bought the book to learn more about it.

2- I didn't really like the sense of humour used in the book, but I guess that's subjective.

3- I didn't appreciate the lack of humility of the author either, and his unsubtle bragging about Nobel Prize and his work at Fermilab.

4- Finally, the book needs updating, as although it was "recently" published, the content is from 1993.

It's probably a good book for those who want to read about the history of physics discoveries, but certainly not for those - like me - who wanted to know more about the Higgs boson...
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great mix of serious science and lighthearted humor... 27 July 2000
By John Rummel - Published on
A tremendously entertaining book covering much of the history of physics by one of the best known particle physicists. Lederman's book is interspersed with some of the most humorous stories I've ever read in a science book and I can't resist sharing two of them here. In an imaginary conversation with the greek philosopher Democritus, Lederman is talking about how elusive the Higgs particle is, and comments that the book's title refers to this particle, but that his publisher wouldn't allow the book to be called "The God-damned Particle. The second is from a discussion of building a piece of laboratory equipment to use in a particle accelerator. They acquired a 12 inch naval cannon to use as a collimator, and needed to fill it with beryllium as a filter, but the inside of the bore had deep rifling grooves. He sent a skinny graduate student inside the tube to stuff steel wool into the grooves. After a few hours of work, the graduate student crawled out all hot, sweaty and irritated and said "I quit," to which Lederman is said to have replied, "You can't quit, where will I find another student of your caliber?"
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