Beyond the God Particle

Leon Lederman and Christopher Hill. Prometheus Books, $24.95 (340p) ISBN 978-1-61614-801-0
“The God particle” will probably be the go-to phrase to describe the Higgs boson for decades. Lederman coined the phrase, which he called an “exercise in literary license” and which served as the title of his 1993 book about the elusive particle. Here, the Nobel Laureate teams up once again with fellow Fermilab physicist and coauthor Hill (after their most recent joint effort, Quantum Physics for Poets) with a postdiscovery look at the Higgs and its important role in modern physics. But this offering isn’t for poets—unless, of course, they’ve taken their fair share of upper-level physics courses. After reviewing some basic quantum mechanics, the authors discuss “the lowly muon” (a kind of elementary particle) and how it provided the first indication that the Higgs boson must exist. Theory held that mass—a measure not of weight, but of a quantity of matter—arose from the Higgs field, which was created by Higgs bosons “piling on” to fill up the vacuum with a constant flow of weak charge. Proving this, however, required the construction of the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful and most expensive particle accelerator ever built. The authors offer a brief but intriguing glimpse of the future of particle physics, but their story jarringly jumps between past and present, making it difficult to keep track of the particles in play and why exactly each is important. Diagrams. (Oct. 8)
Reviewed on: 07/22/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
Ebook - 193 pages - 978-1-61614-802-7
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