The Particle at the End of the Universe:
About the book
The Higgs boson. Key to understanding why mass exists and how atoms are possible, this elusive particle has finally been found after $9 billion, decades of effort, and the work of over six thousand researchers at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. In 2012, the history of a quest that began with the atomists of ancient Greece over 2,500 years ago reached a dramatic and historic turning point.
Caltech physicist and acclaimed writer Sean Carroll takes readers behind the scenes of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, to meet the theorists, engineers, and experimentalists, illuminate this landmark event, and explain the science of the Higgs boson, infamously known as "the God Particle."
What is so special about the Higgs boson? As Sean Carroll eloquently explains, without it we wouldn't understand how elementary particles could have mass at all. With it, we have found the final piece of the puzzle of ordinary matter: the atoms and forces underlying everything from DNA to global warming. Now a doorway is opening into the extraordinary: the mind-boggling world of dark matter and beyond. The Higgs discovery represents a triumph of the human passion for discovery, and the dawn of a new era in our exploration of the cosmos.
The Particle at the End of the Universe not only explains the importance of the Higgs boson but also the Large Hadron Collider -- the largest machine ever built. Such a project could not have happened without a certain amount of conniving, dealing, and occasional skullduggery -- and Sean Carroll explores it all. This is an irresistible story of how the human thirst for understanding led to the greatest scientific achievement of our time.
Praise for The Particle at the End of the Universe:
"In this superb book, Sean Carroll provides a fascinating and lucid look at the most mysterious and important particle in nature, and the experiment that revealed it. Anyone with an interest in physics should read this, and join him in examining the new worlds of physics to which this discovery may lead."
--Leonard Mlodinow, author of The Drunkard's Walk
"Carroll tells the story of the particle that everyone has heard of but few of us actually understand. After you read his book -- an enticing cocktail of personal anecdote, clever analogy, and a small dose of mind-bending theory -- you will truly grasp why the Higgs boson has been sought after for so long by so many. Carroll is a believer in big science asking big questions and his beliefs are infectious and inspiring."
--Morgan Freeman, Actor and Executive Producer of Through the Wormhole
"The science is authoritative, yet bold and lively. The narrative is richly documented, yet full of human drama. Carroll's saga pulls you aboard a modern voyage of discovery."
--Frank Wilczek, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics
"With his trademark wit and lucidity, Carroll delivers the story of the search for the elusive Higgs boson... Carroll's clarity and unbridled enthusiasm reveal the pure excitement of discovery as much as they illuminate the facts."
"A leading particle physicist explains why the official confirmation of the existence of the elusive Higgs Boson ('the God Particle') was a world-changing scientific milestone... A fascinating chronicle of an important chapter in fundamental science."
- NPR, Adam Frank
- New Scientist, Michael Brooks
- Science News, Alex Witze
- Times Higher Education Supplement (book of the week), Frank Close
- Los Angeles Times, David Ulin
- Scientific American, Anna Kuchment
- Blogcritics.org, Joseph Maresca
- About.com, Andrew Zimmerman
- TED Blog, Kate Torgovnick
- Financial Times, Clive Cookson
- Financial Times, Best Books of 2012
- The Independent (UK), Manjit Kumar
- Nature, John Butterworth
- The Guardian, Best Science Books of 2012, Tim Radford
- The Point
- Next to Godliness
- Atoms and Particles
- The Accelerator Story
- The Largest Machine Ever Built
- Wisdom Through Smashing
- Particles in the Waves
- Through a Broken Mirror
- Bringing Down the House
- Spreading the Word
- Nobel Dreams
- Beyond This Horizon
- Making It Worth Defending
- Appendix One: Mass and Spin
- Appendix Two: Standard Model Particles
- Appendix Three: Particles and Their Interactions
- Further Reading
About the author
Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1993, and worked at MIT, the Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Chicago before moving to Caltech. His research involves theoretical physics and astrophysics, focusing on issues in cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. He is the author of From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, a popular book on cosmology and the arrow of time, and Spacetime and Geometry, a graduate-level textbook on general relativity. He has produced a set of introductory lectures for The Teaching Company entitled Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe; and blogs regularly at Cosmic Variance. His lives in Los Angeles with his wife, writer Jennifer Ouellette.
- The Colbert Report
- NPR's Science Friday
- NOVA, The Nature of Reality blog (excerpt)
- Attack of the Show, with John Barrowman
- Reddit: Ask Me Anything
- Coast to Coast AM
- Malcontent's Gambit podcast, Alan Litchfield
Here is a list of known errata.
To contact the author, send email to seancarroll [at] gmail.com. Unfortunately I can't answer every email; see contact policy here.
I love giving talks to all sorts of audiences. You can email me, or get directly in touch with the BrightSight Group, who handles my speaking engagements.
For media queries and book publicity questions, contact Liza Cassity at Dutton:
Publicity & Marketing
Dutton, Penguin Group USA
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Liza.Cassity [at] us.penguingroup.com