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The Quantum Frontier: The Large Hadron Collider 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801891441
ISBN-10: 0801891442
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Editorial Reviews


What Lincoln does brilliantly is dispel the popular myth that the LHC was built solely to discover the Higgs boson, or 'God particle'. This is a project with a far wider reach... His fresh analogies and insights make this book very readable.

(Valerie Jamieson New Scientist)

The book is written in a very readable and entertaining style, and I can warmly recommend it to anyone with more than a passing interest in science.

(John L. Hutchison infocus)

A Fermilab scientist conveys the excitement surrounding the LHC.

(Science News)

This small book conveys the excitement and the importance of science's biggest ever experiment.

(The Bookseller)

I deeply enjoyed Lincoln’s very accessible discussions of antimatter and Cerenkov radiation. And the in-depth explanations of what the different calorimeters and solenoids do inside the LHC’s vast underground accelerator are fascinating.

(Sally Adee IEEE Spectrum Magazine)

It is to the author’s credit that he succeeds in explaining all the major ideas at a level that should be comprehensible to a very wide readership, using little or no mathematicallanguage... The style of writing is extremely pleasant, and any reader who has an interest in particle physics, including those without any previous knowledge of the subject, should find this material accessible and interesting.

(Contemporary Physics)

Don Lincoln's book should be in the hands of everyone interested in physics―even if only vaguely. It conveys the excitement particle physicists feel―and everyone else should feel―about the start of the Large Hadron Collider.

(Gabor Domokos, The Johns Hopkins University)

The Quantum Frontier... prepares readers with what they can anticipate when the LHC becomes operational.

(John S. Rigden and Roger H. Stuewer Physics in Perspective)

Should be in every physics library: it offers an exciting assessment of the Large Haldron Collider, which runs between France and Switzerland, and surveys just why its opening is so significant. You needn't be a physicist to appreciate its importance, and the clear explorations in layman's terms imparts excitement. Perfect for any general lending library strong in science.

(Midwest Book Review)

Don Lincoln's playful, energetic style took me from the fundamentals of contemporary physics through to the extremely complex and sophisticated guts of the LHC experiments, touching on everything from the Earth's 'inevitable' destruction by black holes to speculated future physics experiements in a post-LHC era. Cracking it open for the first time, I was worried that a book taking under 200 pages to cover such an ambitious topic would be riddled with sterile facts listed on after the other. But the contrary is what I found.

(Jordan Juras CERN Courier)

[A] practical attitude is typical of The Quantum Frontier... a useful experimental companion to the many theory-oriented books on particle physics.

(Physics World)

Lincoln (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory) uses a relaxed style to lead (and draw) the reader slowly into the complex subject matter. The text is supported by many helpful tables and figures that summarize and/or explain their topics well.


This engaging story will be appreciated by readers interested in the frontiers of science.


About the Author

Don Lincoln is a scientist with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He is the author of Understanding the Universe: From Quarks to the Cosmos.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition (February 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801891442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801891441
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,059,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating book that explains in simple terms what has been learned from high energy physics research, and why it's important and exciting.

Lincoln does a great job of using metaphors, and things that I understand, to describe things I never thought I could comprehend. He writes with an easy, conversational style and sense of humor, so that reading the book feels like a conversation with a very patient friend who wants to help me understand what he does when he goes to work and why he loves it.

The book gives the background to the building of Cern's LHC, the world's largest collider, and anticipates the discoveries that may come from the research done there.
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Format: Hardcover
Don Lincoln writes as an expert from the front lines of particle research, but one who cultivates a pleasant style that is the opposite of stuffy -- without becoming cutesy. Writing for the sort of broad audience that might drop in to Fermi Lab with kids in tow, he describes in simple but effective terms what scientists hope to learn from the Large Hadron Collider, how they will know what they are seeing, and how the technology works.

Although informal in approach, Lincoln's chapters stay on topic with minimal excursions into peripheral details. For those who like a more discursive, "humanistic" reading experience, Lincoln supplies an annotated list of recommended books. The strength of the present volume, however, lies in the quantity of up-to-date science that has been distilled into a quick yet probing read. So one doesn't really mind occasional asides that address the reader like a group of Saturday afternoon visitors. (For example, in a discussion of matter/antimatter decay asymmetries the author explains that a molecule of water comprises two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.)

Chapters 1 and 2 provide, first, a summary of what physicists knew about the subatomic realm at the time the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) opened for business and, second, what they hoped to learn from experiments with the LHC. Naturally, the Higgs boson is part of this discussion, as are supersymmetry and dark matter. While many fine volumes are entirely devoted to such theoretical topics, Lincoln's briefer overview is by no means superficial. This is as good a place as any to point out that the business model for the present university press publication allowed for quite a few charts and illustrations of a quality not often seen in popular science books.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a very good intro to the basics of the LHC, but then changes gears in the middle of chapter 4. Here he tells you that the book is going to go into more details so general readers should just skip to the next chapter. It read to me like he had written the last half of the 4th chapter first, then was told to dumb it down for real people and just wrote around it. He really should have gone back and put some more time into that part.
Still, it has lots of interesting stuff throughout. It begins by telling us why it is safe and what we already know about the standard model. Stuff like quarks and neutrinos and the strong force. Then it explains the stuff the LHC will look for like the Higgs Boson, Supersymmetry and even possible what makes up quarks. Then it gets more interesting talking about how the LHC will create beams of particles, and how it will detect the aftermath of the collisions. I was most entertained by the last chapter's insight into what the future holds for this type of research, including dark matter and the future of large colliders. So although it is rather thin, especially without half of a chapter, I still recommend it if you don't mind getting half a book for full price.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not a scientist but am deeply interested in quantum physics. I've purchased quite a few books on the subject but without a science background or vocabulary, I have had difficulty getting through most of them. I've seen shows about the LHC for years but I wanted to know more. I came across this book and admit that I purchased it mainly because I thought the cover was beautiful.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Don Lincoln is a scientist, but he has an ability to speak to the reader in plain English while still explaining some very complex issues. Don Lincoln helped me understand what all those other physics books I'd read were actually talking about! And the book delivers on its promise - it explains in layman's terms what the LHC is, what it does, and why it's important.
If you are interested in quantum physics and/or the LHC, you will enjoy this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a largely non-technical treatment of particle physics with emphasis on experimental aspects.
The author,who works at FermiLab outlines the major particles including quarks,mesons, neutrinos and others. The outstanding impression I got from the book was an idea of the sheer size and complexity of the large hadron collider at CERN- particularly the detectors. A valuable part of the book is the list of suggested readings at the end. The book came out in 2008 before the announcement of the discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN.
The book is compact and can be read in a weekend.
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