Higgs: The Invention and Discovery of the %E2%80%98God Particle'

Jim Baggott. Oxford Univ., $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-19-960349-7
Confronted with talk of the "God particle," a phenomenon that has recently been the subject of much media attention, many have responded with some form of the question, "What was all the fuss about?" Here, science writer Baggott (A Quantum Story: A History in 40 Moments) explains the search for and the importance of this elusive particle. First posited by Peter Higgs in 1964, the Higgs boson, as it is officially known, is purportedly responsible for particles attaining mass; it was tentatively discovered in 2012 at CERN's Large Hadron Collider, but continues to baffle even those in the sciences. Baggott's tale encompasses years of complex theory, billions of dollars' worth of experimentation, and countless enterprising individuals, but the strength of this book is in its tracing of the ways in which physicists and models of reality work, showing how theoretical and mathematical systems build on others' successes and shortcomings. Filled with information that is refreshingly free of abstractions and analogies, this book is best-suited to those with a background in science. If readers can weather Baggott's data-rich terrain, they'll find a world of high energy, colorful quarks, and myriad mysteries. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/17/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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