Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Sean Carroll is a theoretical cosmologist and senior research associate at the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His most recent book is “The Particle at the End of the Universe” which is focused on the story of Higgs boson, the widely and incorrectly termed “god particle”, that may have recently been found by CERN with Large-Hadron-Collider’ experiments. (HIGGS BOSON PARTICLE CONFIRMED 7/4/2012.)
Carroll explains that experimental proofs of quantum mechanics are the reason Higgs boson, or something like it, must exist. That is why the discovery is so important. Higgs boson is the field in which known particles of the universe gain mass. Without Higgs boson or something that works like Higgs boson, life would not exist.
Carroll offers other insights—about symmetry, super-symmetry, and breaking symmetry. He touches on dark matter and string theory. All are interestingly presented.
In general, Carroll crystallizes the importance of theoretical and experimental science. When listeners finish “The Particle at the End of the Universe, they will understand why Higgs boson is a magnificent discovery and the LHC is worth a nine-billion-dollar investment.
There are many theories about the origin and fate of earth. They range from religion to science to science fiction. Robert Hazen’s theory revolves around minerals, time, and Darwinism.
The nature and history of earth suggest yesterday, today, or tomorrow may be the beginning of the end for human life. Hazen suggests, as long as space-ship-earth is humanity’s only safe harbor, human survival is probabilistic.
Michio Kaku infers there is an undiscovered Unified Field Theory. Kaku is a theoretical physicist, a graduate of Harvard and U.C. Berkley. Kaku’s "Einstein’s Cosmos" mingles interesting details of Albert Einstein’s life with Einstein’s unshakable belief that there is a Unified Field Theory that explains everything about everything; i.e. the cosmos’ origin, its deterministic exigencies, and the physical realities of this and other universes. Kaku recounts the incredible insights Einstein gave the world through thought experiments that became experimentally proven truths; truths revealed many years after Einstein postulated the immutable speed of light, the mutable fourth dimension, and mass/energy equivalence.
Kaku ends Einstein’s Cosmos with a brief explanation of the current state of Unified Field Theory’ research; i.e. Kaku suggests the most promising research is in string theory; particularly, superstring theory. The belief that a probabilistic and deterministic world can be explained in terms of strings that vibrate and change the nature of reality like a violin changes the sound of a note based on strings that are plucked.
However, like Einstein’s brilliant thought experiments in 1905, the truth of a superstring theory’ is not provable with today’s technology. There is presently no way of observing or measuring strings. They are too small-smaller than a Planck length.
Though Kaku does not mention Lee Smolin, a Harvard educated physicist, some believe string theory is a research' dead-end. Kaku’s book shows that research' dead-ends were raised about Einstein when his thought experiments could not be experimentally proven.