What is the universe made of? At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, scientists have searched for answers to this question using the largest machine in the world: the Large Hadron Collider. It speeds up tiny particles, then smashes them together—and the collision gives researchers a look at the building blocks of the universe.
Nick and Sophie, two cousins, are about to visit CERN for a tour of the mysteries of the cosmos. Sophie's a physics wiz. Nick, not so much. But by the time they're through, Nick and Sophie will both feel the power of hidden particles, fundamental forces, dark matter, and more. It's all a blast in this mind-blowing graphic novel!
When Nick needs to create a comic book superhero for a competition, he enlists the help of his cousin, Sophie, a physics wiz who gives him a tour of CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider. Their jaunt through the CERN facilities in Geneva turns into a tutorial about the complex history and science behind the discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle. Latta (Scared Stiff) methodically builds up background information about fundamental particles to explain how it all fits together ("The standard model was a good theory, but... it couldn't explain why some particles have mass," explains physicist Peter Higgs, making a cameo). Weigel's (Dragon Girl: The Secret Valley) b&w illustrations help make each concept clear: in one scene, the cousins pass a basketball back and forth on an ice rink, the ball acting like a "force carrier" as the kids are pushed farther apart with each catch. The comic-making thread feels like an unnecessary overlay, and the jokes are occasionally corny, but overall it's an engaging introduction to particle physics, the Big Bang, dark matter, and more. Ages 13 up. Illustrator's agent: Steven Chudney, Chudney Agency.