The discovery of the Higgs boson is a triumph of modern physics. The hunt for the Higgs was the subject of wide media attention due to the cost of the project, the complexity of the experiment, and the importance of its result. And, when it was announced with great fanfare in 2012 that physicists has succeeded in creating and identifying this all-important new particle, the discovery was celebrated around the world.
And yet, virtually no one who read that news could tell you what, exactly, the Higgs boson was, and why its discovery was so important that we had to spend 10 billion dollars and build the single largest and most complex device in the history of mankind in order to find it. When you understand the details, this story ranks as one of the most thrilling in the history of modern science.
Award-winning theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, a brilliant researcher as well as a gifted speaker who excels in explaining scientific concepts to the public, is perfectly positioned to tell this story. In this 12-lecture masterpiece of scientific reporting, you'll learn everything you need to know to fully grasp the significance of this discovery, including the basics of quantum mechanics; the four forces that comprise the Standard Model of particle physics; how these forces are transmitted by fields and particles; and the importance of symmetry in physics.
You also get an in-depth view of the Large Hadron Collider - the largest machine ever built, and the device responsible for finally revealing the concept of the Higgs boson as reality. By the end, you'll understand how the Higgs boson verifies the final piece in the Standard Model of particle physics, and how its discovery validates and deepens our understanding of the universe.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
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Sean Carroll gives a great summary about the history and discovery of the Higgs boson. The depth of which he explains is really good for those with some knowledge about particle physics, but you don't need to know too much about the subject and still not get lost in all the details.
I recommend listening to "Particle Physics for Non-Phycisists: A Tour of the Microcosmos" before diving in to this one. It gives a lot of good background information about the elementary particles as well as the different forces. "The Higgs Boson..." goes in some depth into the weak force, and I would say it is crucial to have some knowledge in this field before starting the lecture.
Sean Carroll is really experienced and great at giving these lectures. I also recommend "Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time" by Sean Carroll.
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This lecturer provides sufficient background to make comprehensible a very arcane body of knowledge based on.complex mathematics while only alluding to the math and not requiring the listener to get lost in those details.
Too much scientific detail for the general audience, in what was essentially a review
of the history of particle physics and less about the Higgs itself until the later chapters, which could have been enlarged and focused on. I liked the descriptions of the LHC itself.
This was good but was difficult for me to keep up with as an amateur. The description read like the other science courses but was significantly more challenging.
I just finished listening for the third time and each time I enjoy it and understand the concepts involved a little more. This is a perfect supplement to the great courses audiobook "particle physics for non physicists"
The topic is itself very interesting and timely in view of the recent confirmation of the discovery of the Higgs Boson, and the story is very well narrated. I am sure that other readers with an interest in particle physics will also enjoy this book. One minor downside is that – as in practically any of the many other books on physics for non-physicists that I have read so far (I am an engineer) – there are passages were I got lost in the explanations. I also missed more explanations as to how exactly the Higgs field interacts with certain particles to give them mass, and whether this field is uniformly spread across the universe and along time, which sounds strange, but which otherwise would result in particles acquiring different masses in different places or times.
My only complaint is that this course is shorter than most others in this series. It is so well done. I was utterly addicted from start to finish.
Not having access to the printed version of this book I tend to assume that the printed version is far better - since the sheer amount of particle names, boson names, subliconistic farwongle names and terms or expressions for names of things that haven't been named in some memorizable scheme just blows a poor listener's mind.
That said, the printed version most likely lacks the passion and personal involvement Mr. Carroll brings to the stew, so I may still prefer the audio book ...
Strange question for a book on quantum physics, but, since you ask, my favorite actually isn't the Higgs (that'd be far too easy), but the WIMPs.
You don't know what WIMPs are? Well ... listen to this book/lecture, here you have a good reason.
I really prefer lectures by those who were or are personally involved in what they talk about to sessions with spider-web covered, dust-settled old figures who never ever seem to have seen the light of day but learned what they pretend to know from books that someone else had read to them.
Mr. Carroll is a good example of this (the positive): He's "been there". He loves his topic, he wants his audience to get, at least, a glimpse of what those CERN-egg-heads are excited about. He tries hard (and, for me, succeeds) in giving an insight into what modern physics believe to be somewhat near to may be closely related to a thing one might call, for lack of better terms, truth-affine. At parts.
Although Mr. Carroll, after having explained that "particles" in the current world-view of physics really are waves or "ripples in wave fields", if I may put it that way, falls back to the more "classic" use of "particles" as something grasp-able, for me personally the image of interfering fields with waves, ripples in interactions is, by far, better understandable, especially when talking about the interactions of the different particle types. So, having this "image" in my back head, I was able to follow even those parts of the lectures where some illustrations might really have made understanding a lot easier ...
This series took me more than a month to get through, but not because it wasn't interesting. I had to limit my time listening so that I could take notes and think about each lecture for a long time before moving onto the next one. This series is even more relatable than Carroll's book, Particle at the Edge of the Universe-- if that is even possible.
I highly recommend this series to anyone curious about how matter came to exist, and thus how our universe came to exist. It would be hard to put into words how exciting it is for me to know that we have the LHC, graviton detectors, and big beautiful telescopes-- all working in tandem to tell us more about our universe than we ever knew before.
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This was one of my favorite Great Courses so far. I loved the detail and ease of explanation of the intricate topics in a way that non-physicists can understand and follow.
Even after completing a PhD in experimental physics at CERN, including courses in field theory and the standard model, I found this lecture series explained the subject so well that it was like watching a very complicated jigsaw coming together. Brilliantly explained.
"Beyond the usual pop science treatment"
I had almost given up on popular expositions of modern physics: clichéd, patronising and hackneyed. This course could not be more different. What a joy to hear an expert in full flow, in full command of the subject and not glossing, skipping over difficult concepts or resorting to feeble analogies. You feel as if he is speaking to you as a peer, as someone who is designing detectors at CERN or working with the standard model. I will be listening again and learning as much the second time round.
"Answers the "so what" about the Higgs Boson"
I'd previous read Lee's book about the discovery of the Higgs Boson - "the Particle at the end of the Universe" and this course compliments it brilliantly.
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