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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
Having always been interested in science, I found the book fascinating and very informative. When I was reading it I couldn't wait for the next chapter. Questions about the fundamental forces that build up the universe were answered in depth, difficult concepts skilfully built up without the use of complicated mathematics. The electromagnetic, strong and weak forces are...
Published on 10 Sept. 2012 by Miss Debs

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much on the history of science
Like many popular science books, this contains too much on the history of science and not enough on the subject. You have to plough through most of the book before reading anything about the Higgs boson.
Published 6 months ago by PauloMunich


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, 10 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered (Paperback)
Having always been interested in science, I found the book fascinating and very informative. When I was reading it I couldn't wait for the next chapter. Questions about the fundamental forces that build up the universe were answered in depth, difficult concepts skilfully built up without the use of complicated mathematics. The electromagnetic, strong and weak forces are explained in an extremely clear and concise manner. Any difficulties and misconceptions that cropped up in my head after reading a more challenging passage, were addressed immediately in the following paragraphs.
I particularly enjoyed how the historical and biographical details gave an engaging insight into the lives of the scientists and their discoveries. The level was set just right for me and left me wanting more. I have put what I have learnt to good use, I feel much more confident teaching atomic structure and forces in GCSE physics. I would enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone interested in the fundamental forces of the universe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars May the Force be with you!, 11 Jun. 2013
This review is from: Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered (Paperback)
Opening sentences: "One hundred metres beneath the ground on the outskirts of Geneva, two protons slam into each other in a mighty collision. The tremendous release of energy produces a new particle, the Higgs, unseen since the very earliest moments of the Universe."

Memorable sentence: "Although some of the concepts of modern physics may be strange and even shocking, it is possible to express them in ordinary language, as I intend to demonstrate."

That's the very challenge which author Nick Mee then sets out to meet - and, for my money, he succeeds. I'm no scientist - failed each of my chemistry, physics and biology O-Levels abysmally. Barely managed to scrape through maths. But I am fascinated by science, by the need to understand - at least at a basic level - what makes the sky blue, the grass green, the planets revolve around each other and, indeed, what holds the universe together. And Higgs Force had brought me closer to that understanding in a way that no other "popular science" book has been able since Carl Sagan.

At one level, it's a Bronowski-like historical account of the steps humanity has taken since the time of the Ancient Greeks to get to grips with science and nature, and the giants who made those discoveries... Euclid's Elements, Plato's Timaeus, Newton's Principia, Gilbert's De Magnete, etc. At the same time, the explanation of those discoveries helps us, through Nick Mee's imaginative use of simple English, to build a model of the universe in our heads with all of its constituent parts and their scale. We might all understand that matter is composed of atoms, but did we realise that "one hundred million carbon atoms in a line would stretch a distance of just two centimetres"? By the end, I even understood (a little) what "quantum mechanics" actually means - simply the way in which elementary particles interact.

I understood too that there are two basic categories of elementary particle - the Fermions (including protons and electrons) from which all matter is composed, and the Bosons (including photons) that pass between other particles to produce physical forces like electro-magnetism and thus gravity, etc.

Which brings us to the Higgs Boson. Named after Peter Higgs (born Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, 1929) who calculated that "space" could not be the empty void that we all imagine but must, in fact, be filled with its own force, a "cosmic superconductor" (don't worry, Nick explains superconductors too!).

Nice theory, but how to prove it? And thus the author brings us, at last, to Switzerland, to CERN, and the Large Hadron Collider. But had the "God particle" really been discovered?

"The big day finally arrived on 4 July 2012. With excitement mounting, at the end of the two-hour long talks, Director General Rolf Heuer summed up with the words: 'If I was a layman, I would say I think we have it - you agree?', and the lecture theatre erupted with cheers and rapturous applause. Peter Higgs, who was in the audience, took off his glasses and appeared to brush away a tear."

Who knows? If Nick Mee had been my science teacher, there might have been hope for those O-Levels after all! There was an added bonus with the book too since, when my ordered copy arrived, it was signed by the author himself. Nice touch! And the message inside? May the Force be with you! said Nicholas Mee. Thanks, Nick. Great book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab Physics, 12 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered (Paperback)
As a non-scientist, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first edition of this book. This new edition, brought bang up to date after the discovery of the Higgs Boson, equally didn't disappoint. With all the best bits of the first edition complete with more information and stunning colour plates this book is a must-read for all lovers of popular science. With Physics currently being such a 'sexy' subject and continually in the news or on TV - I would heartily recommend that you get this book, sit back and enjoy the journey from cover to cover.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit more science, 14 Feb. 2013
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I'm a physics graduate who hasn't really been involved in the science for a long time. This book, like several I've read over the past couple of years, opens up modern physics to the amateur, allowing an appreciation of the subject without the mind blowing mathematics which most of us never encountered or have largely forgotten. I love this type of book, although bits of it need a few re-reads to make sense. If you like the subject, the book is great!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to the fascinating world of particle physics, 4 Aug. 2014
By 
Roger (Bedfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered (Paperback)
I very much enjoyed reading this book. The title is arguably a little deceptive in that the Higgs force only comes into its own in the closing chapters of the book. However, the earlier chapters slowly build up to this crescendo with comprehensible, non-mathematical accounts of quantum theory, cosmology, particle physics, the Standard Model, superconductivity and the Large Hadron Collider. And throughout there is an emphasis on the importance of symmetry, which is intended to lead the reader towards the role that the Higgs plays in breaking the symmetry of the electroweak force.

Nonetheless, I found that Mee's explanation of how the Higgs force breaks symmetry and thus gives mass to elementary particles was harder to understand than much of what had gone before in the book. However, I've now read several non-specialist books on this subject, as well as trying to delve deeper behind the scenes, and I've come to recognise that there is no middle ground when it comes to describing how the Higgs mechanism gives mass to particles. At one extreme there is the over-simplified (and inaccurate) sort of answer, along the lines that the Higgs field selectively slows particles down by impeding their movement, effectively increasing their mass. At the other extreme are highly mathematical accounts which refer to scaler fields and symmetry breaking. Mee does a great job of trying to find the centre ground but I feel that it is an unattainable goal through no fault of his. I'm concluding that those of us who are not mathematical physicists just have to accept what the Higgs force does without understanding too deeply how it does it.

Overall, this is a great book and I recommend it as a good introduction to the fascinating world of subatomic physics, including the Higgs mechanism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 17 Oct. 2012
By 
george m smith (KIDDERMINSTER, Worcs, GB) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered (Paperback)
This book was a great introduction to particle physics and, with the world talking about the Higgs, was enthralling from start to finish. I'd strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in physics and a love of science. It really is very easy to read and everything so well explained that it is perfectly understandable. The writer clearly has a passion for science and a rare ability to make complicated concepts accessible for all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 17 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered (Paperback)
As a lover of popular science, I found this book to be a great introduction to particle physics. From start to finish the book took me on a thrilling journey towards the discovery of the Higgs. This is must read for anyone with a passion for science. You do not need any previous science knowledge as the book tells you everything you need to know in an accessible and informative way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good just got better, 23 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered (Paperback)
Although I enjoyed the original, this new version adds further clarity with its colour plates and excellent typesetting, making what is clearly a complex subject even more accessible. It made me want to go back and re-read aspects of it The author clearly has a sound knowledge of his subject which unfortunately cannot be said for all the popular science books I've read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An utterly excellent and engrossing read for anyone interested in popular science books about particle physics, 24 Jun. 2013
By 
D Abbott (Bradford, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered (Paperback)
I am an avid reader of popular science, particularly physics and psychology, and this is one of the best books on physics and quantum theory that I have read. Nicholas Mee writes clearly and lucidly, and with an obvious interest and passion for his subject.

He gently takes the reader through a journey of discovery, introducing the reader to some of the important concepts (such as symmetry) which will be important later on. Topics that many people might have heard of but not read about, such as Feynman diagrams and QED, are explained beautifully.

The final build up to the discoveries coming from CERN is a thrilling competition between the world's leading particle colliders. Reading this, I started to feel more as if I was reading a thriller than a story about particle physics. I was totally engrossed and couldn't put the book down.

If you like popular science books about physics then this is definitely the book for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, understandable read, brings science to life, 31 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered (Paperback)
This book brings the fascinating and complex study of science to life. I enjoyed the interesting stories of how our understanding has grown through generations of scientists, each building one upon the work of their predecessors. As an interested amateur, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and now have an understanding of topics such as Quarks and why the discovery of the HIggs particle is so incredible. I thoroughly recommend the book to anyone who wants to widen their knowledge of the subject and who is interested to know more about the fascinating characters who have shaped our understanding. I am now reading Dr Mee's new book called 'Gravity Cracking the Cosmic Code.' It is another fascinating read and again, I recommend to anyone interested in the subject of the science of the cosmos and the stories of scientists from Newton to Stephen Hawking.
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Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered
Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered by Nicholas Mee (Paperback - 24 Aug. 2012)
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