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.
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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.
Well read and informative.
- mr Peter Mo