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Massive: The Hunt for the God Particle Paperback – International Edition, July 5, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

 • "The discovery of the Higgs boson is the jewel in the crown of particle physics." --Observer

 • "Fine reportage... 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." --Graham Farmelo, Guardian

About the Author

IAN SAMPLE is an award-winning science correspondent at the Guardian newspaper. He was named investigative journalist of the year in 2005 by the Association of British Science Writers and was previously a feature writer for New Scientist. He holds a PhD in biomedical science from Queen Mary, University of London. Born in Oxfordshire, he now lives in London.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books; Airport / Ireland / Export ed edition (July 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075352211X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753522110
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,974,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G. Poirier on May 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
The field of elementary particle physics comes to life in this fascinating book. The author's main theme is the theoretical prediction and subsequent search for the particle responsible for giving mass to other non-zero rest mass particles. That particle has been named the Higgs boson.

The author starts with a brief summary of the history of elementary particle physics and highlights the major discoveries made through the twentieth century. Then, he zeroes in on theoretical physicist Peter Higgs with a quick mini-biography and his theoretical prediction of the possible existence of the boson that now bears his name. But most of the excitement contained in this book comes with the author's recounting of the building of large particle accelerators - on different continents - and the ardent competition between them to be the first to find the Higgs boson experimentally.

The author's writing style is clear, friendly, lively, and quite captivating. Although some discussions on the physics of elementary particles are briefly included, this book is mostly a history. The technical matters that are presented are very clearly explained, thus making the book accessible to a wide readership. This is a book that can be enjoyed by anyone, although science buffs would likely appreciate it the most.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Claffey on April 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
I liked the first half of the book, it clearly explained the major advances in Particle Physics over the last one hundred and fifty years. In particular he is very clear on how the various forces have been linked together over the years - magnetism and electricity, leading to the photon, mass and energy leading the quantum electrodynamics, the origin of mass which the Higgs theory attempts to explain. In the latter parts Sample has a go at showing the relevance of supersymmetry, string theory and dark matter and dark energy. The book is a good read for this, and the references and bibliography provide an excellent source for further reading.
For me, however the second part - about the rivalries between the various sites and scientists trying to experimentally verify the theoretical frameworks , and their interactions with public funding agencies - was quite dull. I knew in advance that the Higgs particle had not been found, and to me I'm not hugely interested in the fact that five other scientists have a claim to having postulated that the particle exists. I am not interested that Stephen Hawking has bet that it will never be found.
So, really this book could have been shorter, or should have waited until the boson is discovered.
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Format: Paperback
This book is rather strong on politics (and public sensationalism) but somewhat weak on physics in several regards. It is even wrong in locating FermiLab in (at) Chicago, p. 81 (it is NEAR Chicago....I've been there for study).... For better physics, see Frank Close's recent book. I bought this book as it discusses work of some physicists I know personally from graduate school days and beyond. Can possibly add more later...
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Format: Paperback
I have enjoyed this book because I like background stories of the great discoveries.

Also, since the Higgs boson was discovered on July 4, 2012 and tentatively confirmed on March 14, 2013, reading this book seemed appropriate.

However, the story ends in 2010, so Ian Sample did not know at the time of publishing that Higgs boson WILL be found.
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By Amazon Customer on December 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For me it is always exciting to explore the frontiers of science. This book is a good example for this.
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