Higgs: The invention and discovery of the 'God Particle'

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OUP Oxford, Aug 13, 2012 - Science - 304 pages
The hunt for the Higgs particle has involved the biggest, most expensive experiment ever. So exactly what is this particle? Why does it matter so much? What does it tell us about the Universe? Did the discovery announced on 4 July 2012 finish the search? And was finding it really worth all the effort? The short answer is yes. The Higgs field is proposed as the way in which particles gain mass - a fundamental property of matter. It's the strongest indicator yet that the Standard Model of physics really does reflect the basic building blocks of our Universe. Little wonder the hunt and discovery of this new particle produced such intense media interest. Here, Jim Baggott explains the science behind the discovery, looking at how the concept of a Higgs field was invented, how the vast experiment was carried out, and its implications on our understanding of all mass in the Universe.
 

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One way to visualise this kind of stuff is to understand why Quantum Field Theory (QFT) is seen as weird. Imagine a 2D field (a sheet) that you excite with some energy – you get waves in the sheet of ... Read full review

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Contents

About the Author
Form and Substance
The Poetry of Logical Ideas
Not a Sufficient Excuse
People Will Be Very Stupid About
Applying the Right Ideas to the Wrong Problem
In which Gerard t Hooft proves that YangMills field theories
Alternating Neutral Currents
They Must Be
Throw Deep
A Fantastic Moment
The Shakespeare Question
The Construction of Mass
Glossary
Bibliography

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About the author (2012)

Jim Baggott is a freelance science writer. He was a lecturer in chemistry at the University of Reading but left to pursue a business career, where he first worked with Shell International Petroleum Company and then as an independent business consultant and trainer. His many books include Atomic: The First War of Physics (Icon, 2009), Beyond Measure: Modern Physics, Philosophy and the Meaning of Quantum Theory (OUP, 2003), A Beginner's Guide to Reality (Penguin, 2005), and A Quantum Story: A History in 40 Moments (OUP, 2010).

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