Winner of the prestigious 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books
“A modern voyage of discovery.” —Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate, author of The Lightness of Being
The Higgs boson is one of our era’s most fascinating scientific frontiers and the key to understanding why mass exists. The most recent book on the subject, The God Particle, was a bestseller. Now, Caltech physicist Sean Carroll documents the doorway that is opening—after billions of dollars and the efforts of thousands of researchers at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland—into the mind-boggling world of dark matter. The Particle at the End of the Universe has it all: money and politics, jealousy and self-sacrifice, history and cutting-edge physics—all grippingly told by a rising star of science writing.
With his trademark wit and lucidity, Carroll (From Eternity to Here) delivers the story of the search for the elusive Higgs boson the Holy Grail of particle physics which was finally discovered earlier in 2012. The tale, says Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, is one of "money, politics, and jealousy" among scientists and nations seeking the prize. The Higgs boson is not an atomic particle; it's part of the Higgs field that pervades the universe and gives atomic particles their mass. The quest for the elusive particle required a cutting-edge tool: the massive, complex Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland. Carroll takes readers inside the collider's 17-mile ring, where protons zoom around at ultrahigh speeds to smash together, revealing telltale signs of the boson. Along the way Carroll introduces researchers like Mike Lamont, the LHC's "Mister Scott"; engineer Lyn Evans, the man who built the LHC; and Fabiola Gianotti, one of the top women scientists in the world. Whether explaining complex physics like field theory and symmetry or the workings of particle accelerators, Carroll's clarity and unbridled enthusiasm reveal the pure excitement of discovery as much as they illuminate the facts. Illus.