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The Infinity Puzzle: The personalities, politics, and extraordinary science behind the Higgs boson [Paperback]

Frank Close
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Mar 2013
We are living in a Golden Age of Physics. Forty or so years ago, three brilliant, yet little-known scientists - an American, a Dutchman, and an Englishman - made breakthroughs which later inspired the construction of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva: a 27 kilometre-long machine that cost ten billion dollars, took twenty years to build, and finally discovered a particle consistent with the Higgs boson.

The Infinity Puzzle is the inside story of those forty years of research, breakthrough, and endeavour. Peter Higgs, Gerard 't Hooft and James Bjorken were the three scientists whose work is explored here, played out across the decades against a backdrop of high politics, low behaviour, and billion dollar budgets. Written by Frank Close, the eminent physicist and award-winning writer, The Infinity Puzzle also draws upon the author's close friendships with those involved.

In July 2012, in the days leading up to the momentous announcement that the Higgs boson had indeed been discovered, Frank Close and Peter Higgs were together at a conference in Sicily. In this paperback edition, Close includes a substantial epilogue reflecting on the announcement, its implications, and the impact on Peter Higgs and others.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (28 Mar 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0199673306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199673308
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 413,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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this is an insider's view of a story that changed our understanding of the nature of reality. (Guardian)

fascinating book (Nature)

thoroughly researched and well-crafted narrative (New Scientist)

masterpiece...I never normally give 5 stars but for this I make an exception. (John Gribbin, BBC Focus)

If [the Higgs Boson] does turn up, some people in Stockholm will likely be among the book's most avid readers ... Close is especially diligent in investigating the priority of ideas and in crediting researchers who may have been left behind, either by the Nobel committee or by popular imagination ... The result is a much more nuanced picture of history. (Physics World)

About the Author

Frank Close is Professor of Theoretical Physics at Oxford University and former head of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. During his career he has worked closely with CERN, home of the LHC. He is a well-established science writer, and his recent short books for

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent book by Frank Close - who also wrote the Black Matter bible for us laymen. The Inifinity puzzle would be even better with a little more level on the basics - the extensive foodnotes could be even furhter extended with regular explanations on the the theoretical elements. Good to have wikipedia close...
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By Ramses
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am an engineer casually interested in fundamental science, and anyone reading "popular science" about particle physics knows Frank CLose is one of the best authors in the genre. Here I must say he out-performed himself. This book is really fantastic, giving an Inside view of the jungle of particle physics (talking about human rivalry, not only the particles themselves ;)) That side only is very interesting, especially in that it remains kind of neutral (unlike some autobiographies from some Nobel winners or losers). As per the science itself, it is again skillfully told for the non specialist. Early on you find the best explanation I have read anywhere about renormalisation, and it goes on in the same vein throughout. This book is THE one to read first among the cornucopia of "Higgs boson" books coming out for the moment.
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