The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?
The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?

Leon Lederman

Leon Lederman
A fascinating tour of particle physics from Nobel Prize winner Leon Lederman. At the root of particle physics is an invincible sense of curiosity. Leon Lederman embraces this spirit of inquiry as he moves from the Greeks' earliest scientific observations to Einstein and beyond to chart this unique arm of scientific study. His survey concludes with the Higgs boson, nicknamed the God Particle, which scientists hypothesize will help unlock the last secrets of the subatomic universe, quarks and all—it's the dogged pursuit of this almost mystical entity that inspires Lederman's witty and accessible history.From Publishers WeeklyThe "God particle" of the title is Lederman's term for what other physicists call a Higgs boson--a hypothetical particle that might hold a key to the subatomic world of quarks and leptons. To find out if a Higgs boson indeed exists, this Nobel laureate in physics conceived of the Superconducting Super Collider, which, if constructed, would be the world's most powerful particle accelerator. Writing with Teresi (coauthor of The Three-Pound Universe ), Lederman first surveys moments of discovery from Newton to Einstein in a breezy, folksy style that can be annoying ("Galileo was an irascible sort of guy . . . . He could be a pain in the ass"). This style, however, serves the reader well when Lederman and Teresi enter the complexities of subatomic physics, clarifying the search for squarks and winos, grand unified theories, superstrings and dark matter. $100,000 ad/promo; author tour. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library JournalNobel Laureate and physicist Lederman is funny, clever, entertaining, and highly accessible as he charts the course of experimental physics from 430 B.C. to the planned opening of the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC), of which he is one of the principal architects. This book might be seen, in fact, as a sort of advertisement for the SSC, answering as it does the question, What is the SSC for ? Even allowing for Lederman's open bias toward big physics, his book is a delight to read and absorb, far more accessible than most books about contemporary physics, because it is rooted in the experimental; the "God particle" of the title is the missing link of experimental physics, just as this book is the missing link between a complex world and the general reader. By contrast, Amit Goswami (physics, Univ. of Oregon) is interested in the metaphysical, or perhaps the meta-metaphysical. Drawing heavily on New Age and Eastern philosophical concepts, he attempts to demonstrate that the world as we know it is but a construct of human consciousness; mind, not matter, is the stuff of which we are made. Where Lederman explains for the delight of knowing, Goswami explains only to support his thesis, making for a much more abstract and strange book. All but the converted will find this heavy sledding. The books are thus not interchangeable: Lederman will appeal to those interested in learning about science and the physical world, Goswami to those seeking a hip confirmation of their own sense of self-enlightenment.- Mark Shelton, Athens, OhioCopyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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