- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 19 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 22 July 2014
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00LV1H4X8
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Smashing Physics: Inside the Discovery of the Higgs Boson Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
This is, in places, a tough read because understanding particle physics does not come easily. Jon Butterworth makes a valiant effort to describe things that really only make sense mathematically where our intuitive view of events from the visible world we inhabit no longer holds. But, as he says, the book is not a physics textbook, nor is it a history of the discovery of the Higgs Boson, nor is it a personal diary of his time as a researcher at CERN, though it ranges over all these subjects.
If you stick with it, you do get an understanding of the achievement and the difficulties involved. The famous announcement of a 'faster-than-light neutrino' that ultimately turned out to be an instrument problem is used as an example of how science works.
There is also some insight into the life of a research scientist (including off-duty nights in Hamburg). And an impassioned plea for the continued government funding of pure science with no obvious commercial payback. Let us hope that this plea is heeded.
The author was a member of the 3000-strong ATLAS collaboration at CERN, comprising staff from 38 different countries. Getting such a diverse group to work as a team to build the enormous ATLAS detector, and then analyse the resulting data, required not just scientific and engineering abilities of a high order, but also considerable management skills. The story of how this was successfully achieved is described in this book, and a fascinating story it is.
The book starts with that magic day in September 2008 when the LHC was first switch on and its colliding beams established, only to be followed nine days later by a catastrophic failure when several magnets were destroyed by an explosion. It took a year to make the repairs. The author then backtracks to describe the long and often tedious process of preparing and testing the computer programmes that would be needed to analyse the data when they did eventually appear some ten years later.Read more ›
Jon Butterworth mentions a series of short videos, called Colliding Particles (at [...]). You don't have to buy the book to view them - but they are very worthwhile as an insight into the work of JB and colleagues in the field of particle physics.
If I have any criticism it is that there is some repetition but some of the concepts are hard enough to make that helpful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I quite enjoyed this. Sometimes a bit chaotic. As well as finding out about quarks and bosons, we also discover the author drinks beer and that his bessie mate is Professor Brian... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Nick Keighley
A very helpful insight into the current activity surrounding the LHCPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
A bit heavily on personal anecdotes and irrelevance, but otherwise an enjoyable read; a solid 3.5 stars and recommended for those with an interest in this subject. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dan
I last studied the structure of the atom 50+ years ago. In the interim I have tried to keep up with developments over the years. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dr. N.R. Clark
Good inside view of the LHC and the search for the Higgs boson.
Heavy at times, but with plenty of warning when the hard stuff comes up.
What a refreshing read from a very practical perspective to counter the more theoretical (though very good) science books I mostly read. Read morePublished 21 months ago by David E. Perkins
It was interesting to read about the hunt for the Higgs boson from the perspective of an active participant, but there are several flaws in this account. Read morePublished 22 months ago by William Shardlow