Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space Paperback – 9 Aug 2012
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"A lucid, deft and engaging summation of dogged determination and “heroic engineering”" (Nature)
What is the Higgs boson? And where will its discovery lead? Renowned physicist Lisa Randall explains this landmark event in modern science and its startlingly beautiful implications.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
For me this latest book is a bit of a disappointment. The writing is still well informed, as one would expect, but gives the distinct impression of being thrown together in a rush - a rapid response to the unexpectedly early announcement of the discovery of the Higgs Boson at the CERN LHC.
A substantial later part of the book, which explains the significance of the Higgs boson and Higgs field, to put into retrospective context the earlier pages describing her reaction to events at CERN, is simply copied from her other books. To be fair, she points this out at the beginning.
Her account of first hearing the news while on holiday in Greece is amusing and, like most of the book, her conversational style makes easy reading. I particularly like her clear explanation that, since the Higgs field generates particle masses, the strength of the coupling of the Higgs Boson to those particles must be bigger when they are more massive, and that this has consequences for both the creation (by the LHC) and decay (to be detected by experiment) of the Higgs Boson.Read more ›
What I did learn was that the `Higgs' is actually three entities all carrying that name: the Mechanism, the Field and the Particle. It was emphasised how the `discovery' is not such a precise moment. The experiments at CERN continued for a some time with the results analysed in minute detail until a recognisable pattern emerged from the mass of data. When this discontinuity was sufficiently prominent and its characteristics closely aligned with theoretical expectations, the scientists allowed themselves to go public and announce their discovery.
Dr Randall is clearly an enthusiast. She bubbles over with joy about the Higgs discovery and I'm a little sad that I was unable to share her fun. The problem lay in my inadequacy in particle physics. She provided a chapter on how the Higgs is recognised by its decay characteristics. Some of these seemed contradictory. Perhaps they are. After all particle physics is full of enigmas.
The book shows every sign of being put together in a hurry, maybe so as to publish something ahead of the competition. This is evident from the inclusion of a chapter from another of Randall's books ("Knocking on Heaven's Door"), this added chapter accounting for approaching 40% of the total book. This tactic results in a disjointed story to the extent that ideally the borrowed chapter, essential to the understanding of the whole, needs to be read before the new text. It might have been better if the author had integrated the new with the old.
I also felt that Randall doesn't do a thorough job of explaining what's meant by symmetry in the context of particle physics. This is crucial to understanding the Higgs mechanism but she seems to assume that readers are already fairly familiar with this concept.
However, in her defence, I accept that explaining the Higgs mechanism to non-physicists, such as me, is extremely challenging - and perhaps nigh on impossible!Read more ›
I would have given 0 stars to be fair if it wasn't for the one bit of information I got out of it, which is that Peter Higgs attended the same school as Paul Dirac in Bristol, which happens to be a city very dear to me.
The only way these printed pages can be defined is a wrapper to advertise her other books, which of course I am now not that keen to spend my money on. Not worth half its price.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
it's very rapid and interesting, but is also included as introduction to Knocking on Heaven's Doors, and so, if you had read this book ...Published 1 month ago by Cliente Amazon
Excellent -need more books like this to explain New scientific theoriesPublished 22 months ago by Michael Duerden
More like a series of Sun headlines than a serious book. Although it was inexpensive, it is still arguably overpriced.Published on 4 Oct. 2013 by Gaston Guinness
Quite well written an informative. It explains what the discoveries at CERN mean, their implications and what new fields of research are opened.Published on 13 Jun. 2013 by Amazon Customer
I can't believe the author had the audacity to produce this flimsy pamphlet almost smaller than all those bosons or whatever absolute rip offPublished on 5 May 2013 by zargos
Far too brief, No interesting diagrams. How on Earth do you have the audacity to produce such a dull, uninteresting piece of work with little pedological valuePublished on 4 May 2013 by Brian Wardle