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The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World
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The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,353 Ratings  ·  207 Reviews
It was the universe’s most elusive particle, the linchpin for everything scientists dreamed up to explain how physics works. It had to be found. But projects as big as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider don’t happen without incredible risks – and occasional skullduggery. In the definitive account of this landmark event, Caltech physicist and acclaimed science writer Sean Carroll ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Dutton (first published 2012)
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Jan 16, 2013 brian rated it really liked it
Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars — mere globs of gas atoms. Nothing is "mere". I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination — stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern — of which I am a part... What is the pattern or the meaning or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little more about it. For far more marvelous is ...more
Jan 10, 2014 Szplug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Without the Higgs Boson throwing its weight around, we'd all resemble mucoid strings of unpalatable jello. Or more so.

I have desperately wanted to put together a review that, in compartmentalized but orderly fashion, connects the various utterly absorbing stories which Carroll is telling in this highly-recommended book about the discovery of the elusive Higgs Boson on July 4th, 2012, at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland; a review wherein the politics, personalities, costs, designs
Nov 05, 2013 David rated it really liked it
Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist, and he has written an engaging book about the history of the search for the Higgs boson. This is a fundamental particle that cannot be observed directly, but can only be surmised by indirect evidence in a high-energy accelerator. Its existence was proved by two experiments at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) at CERN, on the border between Switzerland and France.

Sean Carroll tells the story of the LHC wonderfully. He tells the story of the predecessors to L
Jose lana
Jul 22, 2016 Jose lana rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, physics
Each book about the standard model has its own personality,this one aside to rather briefly describing the model is more centered in tell the history of discovery of the Higgs boson announced by the CERN in July of 2012 and the histhory of the differen particle accelerators and its incerasing energies,Tevatron,SLAC,RHIC and others,but specially the Large Hadron Collider ruled by the CERN and the new physics that posibly this accelerator can open a door to,also tells the histhory of the failed by ...more
Jan 13, 2015 Nikki rated it liked it
I know I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately; yet another example of my whims, I think. There’s a few more physics books on my list to get to, too, though I might give them a bit of a rest right now. The problem with me reviewing all of these is, of course, that I wouldn’t know a Higgs boson if it came up and introduced itself. All I can say is how well I understand what the writers offer. In Sean Carroll’s case, I felt my understanding was pretty good: the chapters are relatively short ...more
Feb 16, 2016 Lemar rated it it was amazing
Sean Carroll effectively communicates his knowledge and enthusiasm about the search and discovery of the Higgs boson. After reading this book a person can explain the significance of the discovery and share in the excitement of the collective accomplishment. In addition, the exposure to Carroll's scientific mind, equal parts skepticism and wonder, is time well spent.

Carroll is willing to speak in declarative sentences, not a lot of hedging here.

"Matter is really waves (quantum fields and paren
Jan 13, 2014 Roger rated it it was amazing
If the definition of understanding a subject is being able to summarise it in your own words for the benefit of someone else then I admit failure. Whilst I learnt a lot from this book there was still much that I couldn't fully comprehend. Nevertheless, I doubt that any other author could explain the concept of the Higgs field and Higgs boson in a better way than Sean Carroll. He has a talent for putting across difficult ideas in a way that non-specialists can follow. Yet even he, at least as far ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
Apr 12, 2015 Cassandra Kay Silva rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Grats everyone we found the Higgs! Our money wasn't wasted, and we will continue to learn from the data gathered at the LHC for a long time. The author takes a look at the pioneering work that went into the building of the accelerators and the scientific work of those leading up to this finding and what it will mean for us in the long term. I read this back to back with Lee Smolins work "the trouble with physic". I find this an interesting companion to this work and highly advise to read the two ...more
Diane Henry
Dec 03, 2012 Diane Henry rated it it was amazing
Actually 4.5 star, but I love this book. There doesn't seem to be a quick easy way to describe what the Higgs boson is, what it does and why we should care. Carroll carefully and methodically takes the reader through each of these and I, a person with no physics background, am actually learning and understanding about particle physics (at a layperson level, obviously). I think I need to read it a second time to really solidify my understanding, but I've learned tons on just this first reading.
Ami Iida
Feb 26, 2016 Ami Iida rated it really liked it
Shelves: physics, astronomy
I finish reading the book.
last chapter it is written "Dark Matter" in it.
Higgs Boson and LHC are written in detail in it.
Apr 05, 2014 Joan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: science lovers
This really would be more of a 4.5 but since the lack is in me, I don't think it is fair to pull down the rating of the book. I keep reading science books in hopes of eventually understanding this stuff. It is absolutely fascinating! I do wish I had more of a brain for understanding science! It is really some of the most fascinating things in the world! In any case, on to this specific title.

From comments in the book I am positive that the obvious allusion in the title is there on purpose. He di
Mar 01, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
THE PARTICLE AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads us to the Edge of a New World. (2012). Sean Carroll. ****.
This book is a primer on particle physics, although it dips deeply into some aspects of the subject. My education was in chemistry and I had my fair share of physics courses, but the area covered by this book was mostly discovered after I had graduated, so I am continually reading books of this sort to try and catch up with the technology. The focus of the boo
Chelsea Nash
Feb 28, 2013 Chelsea Nash rated it really liked it
I've been knee deep in popular physics books over the past year, and I am glad to find each new book bringing something fresh to the table. This book is especially good at introducing the experiments being run to find the Higgs (and other particles.) Also, this author had a lighter touch with the political side of funding Big Science than some others I've recently read, which ended up being more convincing to me. It's a nice complement to Lisa Randall's books and I was glad to find it did not re ...more
Jun 22, 2016 Francesco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Davvero un ottimo libro di divulgazione. Alterna capitoli puramente teorici a capitoli in cui spiega come avvengono praticamente le scoperte, raccontando anche la storia che ha portato all'ideazione del meccanismo di Higgs. Molto interessanti anche le appendici finali più tecniche in cui cerca di giustificare, in modo comprensibile al lettore, determinate assunzioni presenti nella fisica moderna (come il bisogno della presenza di un campo che dia massa alle particelle e l'impossibilità che quest ...more
Jul 22, 2014 Gary rated it really liked it
This was not an easy book to understand and the particle zoo plays a large role in the discussion and often I would lose my way only because the material is sometimes hard to follow, but the book covers everything you always wanted to know about the Higgs Boson and its field, but were afraid to ask.

I absolutely loved the author's previous book, "From Eternity to Here", and couldn't wait for this book. He's such a good writer and explains better than almost anyone. There are enough good parts in
Nov 08, 2013 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
There was one chapter I didn't understand a single paragraph of, and another that sometimes gave me the "I'm lost" feeling. Though overall there is plenty for the uninitiated science geek like me to sink their teeth into.
Христо Блажев
На лов за елементарни частици:

В последно време излязоха доста книги за Космоса (примерно класиката “Бледа синя точица” на Сейгън и знаковата “Вселена от нищото” на Краус), но “Частица на края на Вселената” гледа в другата посока – към безкрайно малките тухлички на реалността. Там, където всякакви шантаво звучащи теории се сблъскват с реалността на експерименталните данни, пречупват се в нещо още по-шантаво – и се оказва, че много абсурдни на пръв поглед и
Daniel Shawen
Jun 06, 2014 Daniel Shawen rated it it was amazing
An excellent read. It has details about the LHC and the discovery of the Higgs boson that cannot be found anywhere else.

Sean is the one whom, after the discovery quipped: "We can't call it the god particle anymore because it actually exists."

Indeed it does. The Higgs is the first scalar particle ever discovered and 'completes' the so-called Standard Model. The Standard Model is a mathematical construct that purports through various techniques to relate the strong nuclear force and the electrowea
Aug 07, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing
My first thought after reading this book is if any person that is, has, or will be is interested in life they must read this. Then of course I rethought it and realized this is a book that is for those who are interested in the very essence of life and not just existing. I am sure we have all heard of the massive collider built is Switzerland that scientists believe will open some thoughts or visions on the big bang theory. You can accompany the author at the discovery of the Higgs Boson, this p ...more
Jan 29, 2013 Pammie rated it it was ok
I'd give this book more than 2 stars if there was a "HUH???" category. The writing was interesting and engaging, he told a lot of fascinating anecdotes, but it just doesn't counter the fact that I still don't understand what is going on with the Higgs boson. If I read this book two or three more times along some sort of Particle Physics for Dummies I might have a better handle on this stuff. Right now I still couldn't really answer the question of what the Higgs boson is, but that is not Carroll ...more
Nov 21, 2012 Nicholas rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: congress, people who want to know what this Higgs thing is all about (certain parts anyway)
Shelves: science
(Reviewers Note: 3 stars for me personally because it felt more like a recap of things I've already learned, but when I think about it as a recommendation for a different type of audience, the less scientifically initiated, the rating goes up significantly to 4-5 stars. If the world of particle physics is completely new to you, this is a 5-star book and the place you should FIRST read about the Higgs. If you've got some physics training and are a blog-junky, read for the history of the project, ...more
Jan 11, 2013 Brenton rated it really liked it
This is a good but difficult read if you're interested in discovering more about particle physics and particle accelerators especially CERN. It's probably not the best first book to read on the subject, but it was my first, and I managed to comprehend several concepts. I was especially curious to learn that most physicists detest the so-called search for the "God particle." They are not all necessarily engaged in an atheistic cosmological quest. The term "God particle" owes its popularity to jou ...more
Feb 19, 2013 Matt rated it liked it
This book is a great continuing conversation for anyone who got sucked into Stephen Hawking's "Brief History of Time" back in the day, and came away from that one with an interest in the Standard Model of particle physics. This one is less accessible-more nuts and bolts than Hawking's style, with less scientific philosophy and creative metaphor to help the lay reader to really understand. Also: the book deals with one of the most interesting machines built in human history, but wastes most of th ...more
Dec 26, 2015 Tara rated it it was ok
I'm sure this is a good science book but it's a lousy popular science book. It's the sort of book that would be assigned for the freshman year physics class you signed up for when all the Anthro 1 sections with labs were gone and dropped after the first week's homework was graded. I was expecting a lot more narrative a la Simon Singh (who I love) or a Wired article to keep a story moving and present the concepts appear in a way that you think you're understanding them (which, be real, you're not ...more
Aug 03, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it
While I have been aware (in a layperson's way) of the construction of the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs particle for quite a while, this book fills in the details very well and from multiple perspectives. To choose just a few: 1) I always appreciate science books that reach beyond the genius scientists themselves and take note of the complimentary contribution of others in supporting roles. Here, the author provides a narrative of the design, construction, testing, start-up, ...more
José Monico
Jul 07, 2014 José Monico rated it really liked it
This had been sitting on my bookshelf for about a year. Prior to the release of this book, I had followed consistently the news surrounding the Higgs particle. So I definitely knew what I was coming into.

However I am quite surprised at how engaging, and welcoming Carroll portrays not only the daunting task of wrapping your head around particle physics, but the cracks and crevices of what the Higgs findings entail. The ability to simplify such high-level knowledge into everyday language is a tal
Yasser Mohammad
Jul 18, 2014 Yasser Mohammad rated it really liked it
The book is engaging and easy to follow (standard Carroll), yet I think that Carroll wasted a chance to delve a little bit more into the specifics of Quantum Field Theory which is admittedly a very difficult subject to write about for general audience. Nevertheless, someone has to start and I believe Carroll is one of the best qualified to do that.
It is revealing to contrast Carroll's statement that: "reality consists of fields that appear to us as particles when we look up close" with Faymann's
Aug 23, 2015 Lenny rated it it was amazing
Quantum mechanics isn't my area of expertise, but Sean Carroll does a wonderful job in summing up the work being done by the CERN team at the Large Hadron Collider (ATLAS and CMS locations alike) while also taking his audience to the edge of Higgs possibilities by exploring research being preformed. A huge portion of this books goes to the understanding of particle physics and general background on Quantum discovery.

The underlying reason why this book gets 5 stars is because of Carroll's drive
Francisco Battiti
Jan 24, 2015 Francisco Battiti rated it it was amazing
Sean Carroll does a great job at introducing somewhat complicated ideas and concepts in a simple and understandable fashion; great for anyone curious but with no technical background.

The book's main focus regards the search of the Higgs Boson, from the scientific part of the process to the political. He also takes the time to introduce the standard model and the characteristics of the elementary particles as well as introducing ideas such as Symetries and Supersymetries, the four kinds of forces
Stuart Brown
May 30, 2016 Stuart Brown rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
I got this book because I follow Sean Carroll's Cosmic Variance blog, which is very informative and well-written. I'm sorry to say, but I was very disappointed. The content and information may be decent, but the book is messy and baggily put-together; in fact I rather wonder whether it is a set of loosely stitched-together posts from the aforementioned blog. Altogether far too much space is taken up with trivial biographia, and far too long spent lauding the LHC. When he does get into the meat o ...more
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Science and Inquiry: November 2013 - Particle at the End of the Universe 29 101 Dec 31, 2013 05:31AM  
Higgs ? 2 24 Mar 19, 2013 01:29PM  
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Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1993. His research focuses on issues in cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His book The Particle at the End of the Universe won the prestigious Winton Prize for Science Books in 2013. Carroll lives in Los Angeles with his wife, writer Jennifer Ouellette.
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“We are part of the universe that has developed a remarkable ability: We can hold an image of the world in our minds. We are matter contemplating itself.” 20 likes
“At heart, science is the quest for awesome - the literal awe that you feel when you understand something profound for the first time. It's a feeling we are all born with, although it often gets lost as we grow up and more mundane concerns take over our lives.” 6 likes
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