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The Quantum Frontier: The Large Hadron Collider [Hardcover]

Don Lincoln
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Feb 2009 0801891442 978-0801891441

The highest-energy particle accelerator ever built, the Large Hadron Collider runs under the border between France and Switzerland. It leapt into action on September 10, 2008, amid unprecedented global press coverage and widespread fears that its energy would create tiny black holes that could destroy the earth.

By smashing together particles smaller than atoms, the LHC recreates the conditions hypothesized to have existed just moments after the big bang. Physicists expect it to aid our understanding of how the universe came into being and to show us much about the standard model of particle physics—even possibly proving the existence of the mysterious Higgs boson. In exploring what the collider does and what it might find, Don Lincoln explains what the LHC is likely to teach us about particle physics, including uncovering the nature of dark matter, finding micro black holes and supersymmetric particles, identifying extra dimensions, and revealing the origin of mass in the universe.

Thousands of physicists from around the globe will have access to the LHC, none of whom really knows what outcomes will be produced by the $7.7 billion project. Whatever it reveals, the results arising from the Large Hadron Collider will profoundly alter our understanding of the cosmos and the atom and stimulate amateur and professional scientists for years to come.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (4 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801891442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801891441
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 16 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 431,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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What Lincoln does brilliantly is dispel the popular myth that the LHC was built solely to discover the Higgs boson, or 'God particle'. This is a project with a far wider reach... His fresh analogies and insights make this book very readable.

(Valerie Jamieson New Scientist)

The book is written in a very readable and entertaining style, and I can warmly recommend it to anyone with more than a passing interest in science.

(John L. Hutchison infocus)

A Fermilab scientist conveys the excitement surrounding the LHC.

(Science News)

This small book conveys the excitement and the importance of science's biggest ever experiment.

(The Bookseller)

I deeply enjoyed Lincoln’s very accessible discussions of antimatter and Cerenkov radiation. And the in-depth explanations of what the different calorimeters and solenoids do inside the LHC’s vast underground accelerator are fascinating.

(Sally Adee IEEE Spectrum Magazine)

It is to the author’s credit that he succeeds in explaining all the major ideas at a level that should be comprehensible to a very wide readership, using little or no mathematicallanguage... The style of writing is extremely pleasant, and any reader who has an interest in particle physics, including those without any previous knowledge of the subject, should find this material accessible and interesting.

(Contemporary Physics)

Don Lincoln's book should be in the hands of everyone interested in physics—even if only vaguely. It conveys the excitement particle physicists feel—and everyone else should feel—about the start of the Large Hadron Collider.

(Gabor Domokos, The Johns Hopkins University)

The Quantum Frontier... prepares readers with what they can anticipate when the LHC becomes operational.

(John S. Rigden and Roger H. Stuewer Physics in Perspective)

Should be in every physics library: it offers an exciting assessment of the Large Haldron Collider, which runs between France and Switzerland, and surveys just why its opening is so significant. You needn't be a physicist to appreciate its importance, and the clear explorations in layman's terms imparts excitement. Perfect for any general lending library strong in science.

(Midwest Book Review)

Don Lincoln's playful, energetic style took me from the fundamentals of contemporary physics through to the extremely complex and sophisticated guts of the LHC experiments, touching on everything from the Earth's 'inevitable' destruction by black holes to speculated future physics experiements in a post-LHC era. Cracking it open for the first time, I was worried that a book taking under 200 pages to cover such an ambitious topic would be riddled with sterile facts listed on after the other. But the contrary is what I found.

(Jordan Juras CERN Courier)

[A] practical attitude is typical of The Quantum Frontier... a useful experimental companion to the many theory-oriented books on particle physics.

(Physics World)

Lincoln (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory) uses a relaxed style to lead (and draw) the reader slowly into the complex subject matter. The text is supported by many helpful tables and figures that summarize and/or explain their topics well.


About the Author

Don Lincoln is a scientist with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He is the author of Understanding the Universe: From Quarks to the Cosmos.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential general reading 1 April 2009
By TJ Hill
This is a good read generally. It is well written, easy to follow and quite amusing in places. It is appropriate to someone familiar with physics, say GCSE, A level or maybe even undergraduate level who want a quick review of the LHC and particle physics. The first two sections on the Standard Model, the forces of nature and what we hope to find out are interesting but could have contained more detail about the Big Bang, though the author does excuse himself for not covering this aspect in detail. The section on the accelerator itself is probably the best part of the book though it would have helped to have had a few more actual pictures rather than artist impressions. However this would have pushed the cost of the book up and at just over a tenner for a hardback, this book is excellent value for money and should be in every library. The section on detectors is a bit heavy going; better illustrations or pictures may have once more helped. The final section on a review of the future, 'where are we going', seemed a bit rushed and lacking in detail. All said and done, this book was an enjoyable read and suitable for anyone wanting to know a bit more about what the Large Hadron Collider is all about. I'm glad the author didn't make too much of a fuss about the risks involved as this is an area attracting unnecessary interest and media hype. Particle Physics, and physics generally, is the subject area to be in. The world wide web concept evolved from work at CERN, and it makes you wonder what new discoveries are around the corner. Physicists solve problems, and there's a few of them around at the moment!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good general coverage 10 Jan 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great general coverage and history of particle physics. Amazing detail about the structure of the LHC and it's detectors but as usual with books like this due to the publishing timetable it is slightly out of date when it is released.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read! 28 Jan 2014
By kclam
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is amazing, both as feats of engineering and technology. Vividly written, this work presents a interesting review of the LHC and its enormous detectors. In addition, it also provides an illuminating account of the Standard Model of particle physics and its probable extension (e.g. supersymmetry and Higgs boson) which scientists want to test with LHC.

The LHC is an extraordinary technological marvel. A chain of accelerators makes up the LHC complex, with the actual Large Hadron Collider being the highest energy accelerator in the chain. In the case of LHC, two bunches of high energy protons are made to pass through one another, with the hope to produce something interesting.

Equally fascinating are the large detectors (both general purpose and special purpose detectors) which particle physicists use to study collisions at LHC. There are clever techniques for discovering the identity of particles coming out from these collisions. As expected, not all collisions are recorded; there is a complicated trigger system to determine which one to record by looking at different facets of the collisions.
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