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The Particle at the End of the Universe: The Hunt For The Higgs And The Discovery Of A New World Paperback – Illustrated, 2 May 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (2 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780742452
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780742458
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"[Carroll's] writing is accessible and peppered with cultural refernces... but don't be fooled Carroll isn't afraid to wade into topics that have befuddled even brand-name physicists."-"Wired"

Review

“In this superb book, Sean Carroll provides a fascinating and lucid look at the most mysterious and important particle in nature, and the experiment that revealed it. Anyone with an interest in physics should read this, and join him in examining the new worlds of physics to which this discovery may lead.”

(Leonard Mlodinow - Author of the international bestseller The Drunkard's Walk)

"Carroll tells the story of the particle that everyone has heard of but few of us actually understand. After you read this book—an enticing cocktail of personal anecdote, clever analogy, and a small dose of mind-bending theory—you will truly grasp why the Higgs boson has been sought after for so long by so many. Carroll is a believer in big science asking big questions and his beliefs are infectious and inspiring."

(Morgan Freeman - actor and executive producer of Through the Wormhole)

“The science is authoritative, yet bold and lively. The narrative is richly documented, yet full of human drama. Carroll’s saga pulls you aboard a modern voyage of discovery.”

(Frank Wilczek - Nobel Laureate in Physics)

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
The possible discovery of the Higgs boson has prompted a flurry of books – in part because it’s significant (and because the Large Hadron Collider is a sexy bit of kit) and in part because the whole business of the Higgs field and its importance for the mass of particles is one of the most obscure and unlikely bits of physics in the current canon.

I have really mixed feelings about this entry in the genre from physicist Sean Carroll. It’s not because his book is too difficult to understand – it’s almost because it’s too easy. Generally speaking, there are three levels of good popular science. There’s TV news popular science, which cuts a lot of corners to make things totally simplistic, but manages to get the message across quickly. There’s the kind of book a good popular science writer will produce – highly approachable and readable, giving a lot more depth than the TV news and the best way to actually get an understanding of what’s going on for most of us, but still cutting some scientific corners. And there’s the kind of book a good scientist will write, which will probably go over your head the first time you read it, but if you persevere will give you the best illusion of knowing what the real science is about and getting some feel for the world of the scientist.

In his previous book 'From Eternity to Here', like Cox & Forshaw’s 'Why Does E=mc2', Carroll didn’t pull the punches. Much of the text was readable, but it may well have taken several attempts to get it to sink in. It was the perfect popular science book by an academic. Parts of this one, unfortunately verge on TV science. Some of it is so fluffy and approachable that it almost disappears into meaninglessness.

Luckily, this isn’t true of all the book. The early parts are worse.
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