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Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Lisa Randall
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $2.99
You Save: $7.00 (70%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers


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Book Description

On July 4, 2012, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva madehistory when they discovered an entirely new type of subatomic particle that many scientists believe is the Higgs boson. For forty years, physicists searched for this capstone to the Standard Model of particle physics—the theory that describes both the most elementary components that are known in matter and the forces through which they interact. This particle points to the Higgs field, which provides the key to understanding why elementary particles have mass. In Higgs Discovery, Lisa Randall explains the science behind this monumental discovery, its exhilarating implications, and the power of empty space.

Editorial Reviews Review

Talk about fireworks. On July 4, 2012, researchers at the Large Hadron Collider--the famed European particle accelerator and Earth's biggest and most powerful machine --announced the discovery of evidence confirming the existence of the Higgs boson. This long-theorized fundamental particle has represented the Holy Grail for physicists exploring the world of the very, very small for almost 50 years, and its discovery paves the way forward for our understanding of a range of questions about the physical universe, from why matter has (is) mass to what exactly happens in "empty" space. And who better to clarify the implications of this enormous discovery than Lisa Randall? Author of two popular books on cutting-edge physics and a celebrated theorist herself, Randall passionately guides those of us without the scientific background through the meaning, the implications, and the ensuing global enthusiasm. For those who have followed the elusive search for the Higgs, Randall's near-breathless gusto will only confirm our own. Newcomers may find the scientific vocabulary daunting, but set against the enormity of thought and effort put into this research by some of the world's smartest people, the challenge nevertheless rewards curious readers who wonder about the hype powering the headlines. --Jason Kirk


"A lucid, deft and engaging summation of dogged determination and "heroic engineering" Nature

Product Details

  • File Size: 359 KB
  • Print Length: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (July 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,696 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
103 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intellectual and Timely Appetizer July 28, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space by Lisa Randall

"Higgs Discovery" this timely and topical Kindle Single, is written to enlighten the public to what the discovery of the Higgs boson means and to explain where it will take us. Influential and highly acclaimed theoretical physicist and best-selling author of "Knocking on Heaven's Door", Lisa Randall, gives the reader an intellectual appetizer on the implications of the announcement that a key particle, the Higgs boson was discovered. Randall's expertise and ability to convey such a complex topic to the layperson is what makes this Kindle Single such a great value. This 83-page book is composed of three sections: Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space, An Excerpt from Warped Passages and An Excerpt from Knocking on Heaven's Door.

1. A timely and fascinating topic, written at an accessible level for the layperson and everyone in between.
2. Randall's expertise in the field and background as an educator provides the perfect mix to reach out and educate the public.
3. A great Kindle Single value. A great Amazon idea that is now benefitting authors and readers alike. In merely 83 pages, the author provides much needed information on what has become a pop-scientific topic.
4. What the Higgs boson is. Finally, I get it, I think.
5. The implications of the discovery.
6. As a true scientist and educator, Randall keeps the discovery in perspective. That is, in science everything is a matter of degrees of certainty.
7. Not to be confused with the Higgs boson but also insight into what the Higgs mechanism is and its implications.
8. Understanding what empty space really is.
9. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC)...what makes it a remarkable machine and its future use.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Summary and Review August 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Randal's book consists of 3 chapters. The first chapter details Randall's reaction to the discovery of the Higgs boson, as well as some general information about the particle and what it implies about the physical laws of the universe, and the future direction of this understanding now that the discovery has been made. The two remaining chapters are taken from Randall's previous books, and are meant to provide additional context around the Higgs boson and what it entails, as well as why scientists were expecting to find it.

Beginning with the basics, we learn that the Higgs boson is an elementary particle--a fundamental constituent of matter out of which all things are made (there are 3 types of elementary particles: quarks, leptons and bosons, and the Higgs is a variety of boson). The Higgs particle was created by way of smashing protons together at very high speeds in the LHC. The reason it took so long to identify the Higgs is because many elementary particles are produced when protons are smashed together (and the Higgs is produced only very rarely in these collisions), and differentiating between the various particles requires analyzing the results over numerous trials (to ensure that random noise is not adulterating the data).

The discovery of the new fundamental particle was significant in its own right, of course, but the real reason why finding the Higgs was so important is because the particle has peculiar qualities that implies the existence of a charged field that pervades space. This field is known as the Higgs field, and in order to see why it is so important we will have to make a brief detour into the Standard Model of particle physics.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Takes Energy to Read August 17, 2012
By Kendra
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I took Differential Equations in college, I knew I had made a mistake, not in taking the class, but in waiting so long to take it. The last math class I had taken was either Calc. III or Linear Algebra and it had been two years of nothing math related since. I was an English major. But I was an English major who loved the language of math, a language I had lost from lack of use.

Apparently, I haven't been reading enough physics books lately, because I've lost that language too. I agree with another reviewer that the average layman or laywoman can't read this book and come out with any understanding of the Higgs Boson. I don't blame Lisa Randall for that. I'm just not her target audience.

But what I did take from this short little nugget of physics is that physicists and poets have a lot in common. They see the world in different ways than the rest of us. But both see beauty in unique and fascinating ways.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great perspective from an expert July 28, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having a thorough understanding of a complex subject is a different skill than being able to present it to a wide audience. Professor Lisa Randall does both very well, and this book is another reason she is one of my favorite science authors (along with Sean Carroll, Phil Plait, Freeman Dyson, Michio Kaku, and Brian Greene).

Coming only three weeks after CERN confirmed the probable discovery of the Higgs boson, this book explains why the story was important enough to vault from obscure physics to late-night TV. But Randall takes us beyond the headlines, and describes what the Large Hadron Collider will do with the Higgs, and what it could mean for exciting discoveries beyond the Standard Model.

If you don't already have some background in particle physics, this book might seem a little daunting. (Read the first few chapters of her book, "Warped Passages".) But you don't need a PhD to read this, either. It's meant for a general audience with an interest in science.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An insightful view into the world of quantum mechanics and ...
An insightful view into the world of quantum mechanics and particle accelerators. This book describes the concepts behind the Higgs Boson discovery, what scientists were looking... Read more
Published 2 days ago by eric
5.0 out of 5 stars very good interpretation of the Higgs field discovery
Lisa has done it again, very good interpretation of the Higgs field discovery.
Published 4 days ago by Carol A Hahn
1.0 out of 5 stars A complete wast of money. Not only can you ...
A complete wast of money. Not only can you get basically the same information reading the wiki write up, THE BOOK IS ONLY 40 PAGES LONG!!!! Read more
Published 18 days ago by Dana Gleason
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the small amount I paid for it
Mostly a rehash of previous writing, offers very little real insight and is written by someone who is at best on the periphery of the work at the LHC. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Ed Millard
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Less than satisfying explanation.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Understandable! Not a lot of material but covered well.
Published 1 month ago by Ted Allman
5.0 out of 5 stars Higgs
Published 1 month ago by man in the hat
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Higgs Discovery by Lisa Randall
Ms. Randall is a well known scientist who happens to write in a maner that everyone can understand. She makes a complex and difficult subject comprehensive and estimupating even... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jerry villacres
1.0 out of 5 stars The power of empty paper
One more book about the "Higgs boson".
Not even the LHC teams that "discovered" the "Higgs boson" are sure about what they have found. Read more
Published 3 months ago by L. Victor
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More About the Author

Lisa Randall is Professor of Physics at Harvard University. She is one of today's most influential and highly cited theoretical physicists, and has received numerous awards and honors for her contributions. Her work has been featured in Time magazine, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Vogue, the Economist, Scientific American, and elsewhere. Randall is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Physical Society, and is the recipient of several honorary degrees. When not solving the problems of the universe, she can be found rock climbing, skiing, or contributing to art-science connections. Hypermusic Prologue, a small opera for which she wrote the libretto, premiered in the Pompidou Center in 2009, and Measure for Measure, an art exhibit she co-curated, opened in Los Angeles in 2010.


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