The first insider account of the work at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the discovery of the Higgs particle - and what it all means for our understanding of the laws of nature.
The discovery of the Higgs boson made headlines around the world. Two scientists, Peter Higgs and François Englert, whose theories predicted its existence, shared a Nobel Prize. The discovery was the culmination of the largest experiment ever run, the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider.
But what really is a Higgs boson and what does it do? How was it found? And how has its discovery changed our understanding of the fundamental laws of nature? And what did it feel like to be part of it?
Jon Butterworth is one of the leading physicists at CERN and this book is the first popular inside account of the hunt for the Higgs. It is a story of incredible scientific collaboration, inspiring technological innovation and ground-breaking science. It is also the story of what happens when the world's most expensive experiment blows up, of neutrinos that may or may not travel faster than light, and the reality of life in an underground bunker in Switzerland.
This book will also leave you with a working knowledge of the new physics and what the discovery of the Higgs particle means for how we define the laws of nature. It will take you to the cutting edge of modern scientific thinking.
Jon Butterworth is one of the leading physicists on the Large Hadron Collider and is Head of Physics and Astronomy at UCL. He writes the popular Life & Physics blog for the Guardian and has written articles for a range of publications including the Guardian and New Scientist.
Jon has appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, Material World, The Infinite Money Cage, BBC Newsnight, Horizon, Channel 4 News, and Al Jazeera. He frequently gives public lectures including at the Welcome Institute and the Royal Institution.
©2014 Jon Butterworth (P)2014 Audible Studios
I have been very interested in the Geneva LHC project. I watched a recent documentary by Jason Greenburg (I think that's his name. He's a big "super symmetry" advocator.) Unfortunately, the documentary was not focused and left me without a clue! So I've been searching books to better understand the goal and outcomes of what is possibly the biggest experiment human beings have ever conducted. I'm not from a science background, but I try to stay familiar with current science news and ideas.
In Smashing Physics, Jon Butterworth provides an excellent overview of the issues and science behind the LHC, and the search for the Higg's Boson. This guy is uncommonly talented at making complex ideas accessible to an interested lay audience!!
I was engaged and entertained throughout the book by the author and the narrator.
This is the best of the new books explaining the work done in Geneva. (At least the ones available on audio.)
Highly recommended! Narrator does an amazing job of bringing the work to life, and yet sounds like he is a serious physics guy. The accent maybe?
I will definitely look for more books by the author in the future!
Well done indeed. The work at CERN is presented in a very approachable and engaging way, with a few laughs into the bargain. Highly enjoyable.
Good read lots of insight into a major research endeavour. Will make anyone smarter in the area of sub atomic physics.
It was a little over my head, but that's what I was hoping for. The author get very detailed about his work without getting to complicated all at once. He tells you a bit, then tells a story about something giving you time to let it sink in, then explains a bit more. All without knowing that's what he is doing until the end, if you notice at all.
The narrator was fantastic. Very well done. I could have been sitting next to the author over tea and just been listening to a story.
I greatly enjoyed the inside story at CERN, and getting to understand how the process of "proving" the Higgs is the Higgs.
A view from an experimental physicist inside the Large Hadron Collider. An excellent peek into the miracle of modern particle physics.
"Well read and informative."
This was a great addition to my physics collection. It doesn't really go into complex-hard to listen to explanations. It's well written, well read and funny. I recommend this to anyone who is at least remotely interested in physics.
This is well narrated, although distinctly "by 'eck" at times meaning Jonathan Keeble makes Jon Butterworth sound distinctly more Yorkshire than he is in reality! But he draws you in and it's well paced.
This book feels like it has something of an identify crisis because it does not comfortably mix the technical side of physics with social / people side of CERN. It's too technical for too long in periods for me to remain engaged and the social / people side is too weak to be compelling. That's not to say it is without merit but it has fallen short vs my expectations. I think this could be a must-read for a physics under-graduate or the like, but for the ordinary many on the street like me, I would not recommend it.
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