Smash! Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider

Sara Latta, illus. by Jeff Weigel. Graphic Universe, $11.99 trade paper (72p) ISBN 978-1-5124-3070-7
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. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/2017
Release date: 01/01/2017
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 978-1-5124-2701-1
Library Binding - 72 pages - 978-1-4677-8551-8
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