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What gives objects mass? Guardian science correspondent Sample explains the current theory behind this tantalizing question, a theory based on a mysterious, fundamental particle called the Higgs boson, which cannot be broken down into smaller particles and imbued matter with mass right after the Big Bang. The theory, developed by Peter Higgs in 1964, was elegant and neatly filled in a hole in the list of elementary particles--but the Higgs boson could only be found with particle accelerators much more powerful than those then in existence. Physicists in Europe and the U.S. dueled to build such an accelerator but have yet to isolate the Higgs boson. Inconsistent funding, some name-calling, wild publicity over the possibility of a superpowerful accelerator turning into a "doomsday machine," expensive lab accidents and acts of sabotage create a roller-coaster of a tale. Sample keeps the physics accessible, but the real pleasure is in the personalities and drama he reveals behind the hunt for one of the most elusive objects in the universe. (Nov.) (c)
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Graham Farmelo, Guardian (London)
“[Peter] Higgs himself has proved almost as elusive as his eponymous particle. Until now. Ian Sample.... persevered long enough to secure an interview with him, and the results are among the highlights of Massive, a lively account of the genesis of both the LHC and its most famous particulate quarry....Sample has interviewed quite a few other leading scientists, too, and proves adept at prising insights from them....We are kept hooked by its fine reportage, which makes clear the sheer achievement of the scientists and engineers who have built the LHC, the most complex machine ever made in the service of pure science. We learn, too, of the many theoretical concepts that will be probed by it.”
Sadly, this book is like so many others that are supposed to be about science; it's *actually* about the people who created the science, rather than the science itself. Read morePublished 11 months ago by T. Hill
This book is a great read for anyone looking for background
on the hoopla surrounding the Higgs Boson (actually written two years
before the discovery). Read more
Investigative journalists that get this close to the action are rare indeed, Ian Sample could easily be seen as one of the Higgs team. Read morePublished on May 18, 2013 by Ray
I purchased this in order to learn about the Higg's mechanism, but only walked away with a history lesson. Read morePublished on May 12, 2013 by S. Sacek
This book was one five recommended in "The New York Times" as good sources of understanding of the search for the Higgs boson. Why was finding evidence of the boson important? Read morePublished on March 28, 2013 by Fred W. Hallberg
As a retired engineer, I do a little test in a book store to see if a popular technical book is worth buying. I open it at one or two random spots and see if I learn anything. Read morePublished on March 6, 2013 by Donald E. Fulton
Excellent primer on the Higgs particle for the non-scientist! Provides a solid history and explanation of the Standard Model of Particle Physics as well. Read morePublished on February 19, 2013 by P. Gagliardi
I enjoyed the more narrative form of writing out of all of the physics books I have read this year. Dealing with theories not yet fully understood and explaining collider that few... Read morePublished on February 15, 2013 by nathan
Since the other comments are already quite detailed, I would just add that I agree with those who give it 5 stars. Read morePublished on July 11, 2012 by Robert Ginsberg