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The Particle at the End of the Universe [Audio CD]

Sean Carroll
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks; Unabridged Audiobook edition (1 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471242269
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471242267
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,640,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

It was the universe's most elusive particle, the lynchpin for everything scientists dreamed up to explain how physics works. It had to be found. But projects as big as CERN's Large Hadron Collider don't happen without incredible risks - and occasional skullduggery. In the definitive account of this landmark event, Sean Carroll reveals the insights, rivalry, and wonder that fuelled the Higgs discovery, and takes us on a riveting and irresistible ride to the very edge of physics today. Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best explanation so far about the Higgs 4 Jan 2013
By alapper
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Since the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson, I've tried to find books giving a fuller understanding about the Higgs field and this is the best so far. It does emphasise the reality of the field and tries to explain to laymen such as myself some of the concepts of the associated field theories. In this it has limited success - I still felt the need for more intuitive understanding but maybe it is the nature of the quantum theory beast that this is not possible. The author gives a good account of the accelerator story leading up to the construction and operation of the LHC and this, together with the explanations of the theory behind the predictions makes for a very readable and interesting book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have bought a number of books (both traditional and Kindle) on this and similar subjects over the past few years and have a growing understanding and fascination for all things quantum as well as cosmology-related (everything from string theory to multiverses to Higgs and QED etc.). Because I am not blessed with a natural gift for handling complex mathematics I try and get my hands on publications that go about things without too much confusing gobbledegook and this book is an excellent case in point. Sean Carroll has a very enjoyable and original writing style. Where possible he goes about explaining things in a different and interesting way, drawing where possible from his own successful ways of getting to grips with most of this as he presumably leaned it all. The only downside was the section on the history of the colliders which was too long and not all of which was interesting enough to keep my attention. Don't get me wrong, it is important to understand this history and the logic behind the various experiments that were carried out. It was just that it went on too long in places and lost a bit of the momentum that had been gained earlier in the book as a consequence. Once through that however the book returns to being an excellent read. Stage by stage the author explains the Standard Model, in manageable chunks, and even a novice will get to the point where he/she feels they have a grasp of the fundamental particles and fields, those that have mass (fermions) and those that don't (bosons) which make up the universe in which we live. The fact that we need to understand that despite how things may intuitively seem, we actually live in a sea of fields, of which matter/mass is an occasional consequence!! Read more ›
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I think I get it, at last! 30 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read A Brief History of Time aged 18, which left me wanting to know so much more. I've read Feynman, Green and Penrose in the mean time, but finally I've found a book which explains some very complex ideas in a clear and readable way. The more advanced ideas are tucked away into three appendices, so as not over complicate the main text. There are also chapters explaining the history and the politics surrounding high energy particle research, which really sets the context. Like all good science books it also left me with a few new questions. An excellent read, I couldn't put it down.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I keep it short 29 Nov 2013
I have read many book on quantum physics, but I think this has to have the best vote. The author explains points in this subject, often left out by other authors and explains them in easy to under stand manor.
You will not be disappointed in this book, even if you are reading the subject for the first time.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book 31 Dec 2012
Firstly, I am no physicist and in the almost 15 years since I obtained a 'B' in GCSE physics, I have probably read fewer than five science books of any description.

However, like a lot of people I have followed the news from the Large Hadron Collider with great interest since the hype began in earnest some time in 2007 or 2008, without ever really understanding why. Obviously, the search for the Higgs boson, and the subsequent tentative discovery are greatly important, but beyond trotting out the line that 'The Higgs boson gives the universe mass', I would struggle to hold a conversation about it on almost any level.

So it goes without saying that I have read this from a greatly uninformed opinion, and what I have read and understood as briliant explanations of the science behind the 'Higgs' might not necessarily impress a science student quite as much.

The book is a fantastic mix of science, history and biography aimed squarely at the general reader. It works on many levels, as an entry-level introduction to particle physics, as a history of the major developments in 'Higgs' theory (which obviously includes Higgs' own work but is far from exclusively Higgs' theory!), as an explanation of how the Large Hadron Collider works, as a history of how the LHC came to be built, how 'blogs' aid and hinder the scientific process, and many other aspects. Most importantly, it works as a cheerleader for 'big science'.

It'd be impossible to list the many things the book has taught me (not least that the Higgs boson does not give the universe mass!), but it is fair to say there's something interesting on virtually every page. Having read it, the book will be retained as a useful reference if ever I need to look up the definitions of particles etc.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, really good
I am only 30% through this book but it is sooooo interesting! And easy to follow, given the subject matter. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Feng
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
I thought the man who discovered the particle was called Higgs Boson. I Just wanted to know a little more about the subject. Read more
Published 17 days ago by neil
5.0 out of 5 stars Higgs & LHC
Excellent and comprehensive. The story and the science behind discovery of Higgs Mechanism, and the 2012 announcement of detection of Higgs particle by Physicist at CERN large... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but no Eureka moment
Plenty of good stuff which goes beyond the fairly trivial reporting you get from most news reports, but if someone asked me over a pint exactly why thousands of physicists were... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sean
4.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts
At times I lost interest in yet more particles and fields, but mostly enjoyed it. Read it for the knowledge and stories.
Published 1 month ago by Zen Librarian
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better informed than I was
I attended Sean Carroll's Royal Institution lecture and then bought the book. A very good, though at times challenging, read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by A. Jordan
5.0 out of 5 stars Higgsy
Great description in quite plain language about the physics around Higgs Bosons. As a non specialist I was glad I had read other basic books about relativity to pad out my... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. M. Ingham
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
Fantastic book summarising the fundamental particles/fields on nature, including the Higgs boson. Some interesting historical and philosophical material included too.
Published 2 months ago by J D Goddard
5.0 out of 5 stars A challenging but rewarding read
If the definition of understanding a subject is being able to summarise it in your own words for the benefit of someone else then I admit failure. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Roger
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book about cutting edge of physics
Once in a while you get a book that allows an insight into the state of the art of modern science. The LHC and the search for the Higgs boson has been much in the news recently,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by hammarbytp
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