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on 4 January 2013
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.
26 people found this helpful
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on 22 January 2013
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!! The search for and discovery of the Higgs (or something extremely like it) becomes all the more impressive an achievement when we fully understand how we got to this point in time, and the ramifications of the proof of its existence. In the main a riveting read, fast-moving, well-written, funny in places, never ostentatious or presumptious. Four out of five. Recommended.
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on 21 January 2014
If the definition of understanding a subject is being able to summarise it in your own words for the benefit of someone else then I admit failure. Whilst I learnt a lot from this book there was still much that I couldn't fully comprehend. Nevertheless, I doubt that any other author could explain the concept of the Higgs field and Higgs boson in a better way than Sean Carroll. He has a talent for putting across difficult ideas in a way that non-specialists can follow. Yet even he, at least as far as I was concerned, couldn't fully gets the Higgs concept across to the extent that I could fully understand it. But the despite the challenges presented by the book, I still very much enjoyed reading it and I'm undoubtedly better informed than I was before I started, especially on the concept of symmetry which is so important for an understanding of the Higgs theory.
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on 21 January 2014
Once in a while you get a book that allows an insight into the state of the art of modern science. The LHC and the search for the Higgs boson has been much in the news recently, but unfortunately a lot of reports are badly written. This book describes the search for the Higgs boson, why the prediction came about and how it's discovery leaves particle physics. The book is well written and entertaining, however some of the concepts are by their very nature difficult to describe. Mr Carrol does an excellent job, but it is a book that will almost certainly need reading a few times to take in some of the concepts. Anyone who is interested in science should read this book
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on 15 August 2013
It starts very well but then like most books of this ilk tend to go on to the history lesson.
More of how the system / process of detection works would have been really interesting as only a glips was seemingly given.
Forget the history lessons or at least short it to a few words the get straight down to the real thing
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on 6 January 2014
An excellent read. For someone like me who is an avid physics reader but doesn't like equations, then this book hits the spot. It is written in a way which suggests the author has hit the mark with his target audience. The end of the book does go into higher levels of theory but even if you miss this part you will still understand what all the fuss was about. Highly recommended.
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on 18 February 2018
great book quick delivery and price
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on 27 February 2017
Good book. Need to have your brain switched on to read it, but what do you expect from a book about particle physics.
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on 7 September 2016
An excellent book, It explains clearly the background to the discovery of the Higgs Boson and the part that the LHC played in enabling its discovery. Highly recommended for a keen lay reader.
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on 12 December 2013
As a mere mortal, I found this book excellent reading. It provided the best explanation and effects of the Higgs boson and field I have read so far. In parts it was not an easy read, no doubt due to the almost unbelievable concepts involved in quantum theory. However, in general, it provided a not too difficult account for the layman to read. The history of the lead up to and working of the LHC was most interesting.

I look forward to the next episode as the results of further tests at the LHC become available.

Well done Sean
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