279 pages, 27 b/w illustrations
The hunt for the Higgs particle has involved the biggest, most expensive experiment ever. So what is this particle called the Higgs boson? Why does it matter so much? What does this new particle tells us about the Universe? And was finding it really worth all the effort?
The short answer is yes, and there was much at stake: our basic model for the building blocks of the Universe, the Standard Model, would have been in tatters if there was no Higgs particle. The Higgs field had been proposed as the way in which particles gain mass – a fundamental property of matter. Little wonder the hunt and discovery have produced such intense media interest.
Here, Jim Baggott explains the science behind the discovery, looking at how the concept of a Higgs field was invented, how it ispart of the Standard Model, and its implications on our understanding of all mass in the Universe.
"A thorough and readable explanation of the lengthy hunt for the Higgs boson and why its discovery last year is so important."
– New Scientist
"Higgs helps put Higgs' contribution in context [...] It's a book I imagine the reticent Higgs would approve of."
– Jessica Griggs, New Scientist
"a tendency towards brevity and clarity make for a handy guide to the long hunt for an elusive quarry."
"Higgs is an impressive volume, clarifying details, making the concepts that have been in dispute for years finally lucid [...] Higgs drills deep under your skin, constantly ferreting out new vistas, easily escaping our eyes. Baggott brings these-and more-together to form a solid concept of the God Particle effort – read it."
– San Francisco Book Review
"This is the uncorrected proofs of a book that is not scheduled to be released until (probably) September 2012, so it really isn't fair to say much about my impression of this book. However, the grand theme of this book is an exploration of the Higgs Boson – its recent discovery and the evidence that we discovered it, how this particle's existence was predicted and what are the implications of this discovery. Several chapters have already been formally reviewed by the media and more reviews of this book – from the uncorrected proofs – are appearing every day. Written by a former university physics lecturer who now is a freelance science writer, this timely book promises to be interesting and educational."
- Hedwig Pöllöläinen, Guardian, August 2012
Prologue: Form and substance
1: The poetry of logical ideas
2: Not a sufficient excuse
3: People will be very stupid about it
4: Applying the right ideas to the wrong problem
5: I can do that
6: Alternating neutral currents
7: They must be Ws
8: Throw deep
9: A fantastic moment
10: The Shakespeare question
Epilogue: The construction of mass
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Jim Baggott is a freelance science writer. He was a lecturer in chemistry at the University of Reading but left to pursue a business career, where he first worked with Shell International Petroleum Company and then as an independent business consultant and trainer. His many books include Atomic: The First War of Physics (Icon, 2009), Beyond Measure: Modern Physics, Philosophy and the Meaning of Quantum Theory (OUP, 2003), A Beginner's Guide to Reality (Penguin, 2005), and A Quantum Story: A History in 40 Moments (OUP, 2010).