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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

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  2,674 Ratings  ·  227 Reviews
Scientists have just announced an historic discovery on a par with the splitting of the atom: the Higgs boson, the key to understanding why mass exists has been found. In "The Particle at the End of the Universe," Caltech physicist and acclaimed writer Sean Carroll takes readers behind the scenes of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to meet the scientists and explain this ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published November 1st 2012 by Dutton Books
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Jan 06, 2013 brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 27, 2013 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  ·  review of another edition
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 Moa
May 31, 2016 Jose Moa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 23, 2013 Roger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 31, 2016 Lemar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ami Iida
Jan 18, 2016 Ami Iida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 31, 2014 Joan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 16, 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
Chelsea Nash
Feb 09, 2013 Chelsea Nash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 22, 2013 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 01, 2013 Tasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 15, 2012 Nicholas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Brian Clegg
Jan 25, 2013 Brian Clegg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The possible discovery of the Higgs boson has prompted a flurry of books – in part because it’s significant (and because the Large Hadron Collider is a sexy bit of kit) and in part because the whole business of the Higgs field and its importance for the mass of particles is one of the most obscure and unlikely bits of physics in the current canon.

I have really mixed feelings about this entry in the genre from physicist Sean Carroll. It’s not because his book is too difficult to understand – it’s
Will Boncher
Feb 23, 2017 Will Boncher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, listened
My knowledge of particle physics has gone up orders of magnitude. Great stuff.
Daniel Shawen
Jun 06, 2014 Daniel Shawen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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 15, 2013 Pammie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 22, 2014 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 11, 2013 Brenton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Angela Powell
Dec 04, 2012 Angela Powell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We all know about Higgs Boson. The story is over. Now, we are looking for something new, something fresh from the oven, which is beyond the Higgs Boson field. Definitely, Higgs Boson is the end of an old chapter.
Carroll tried to open a new chapter with an interesting outlook. Carroll tells the story of the particle in very easy way, so that everyone can understand that.
Mohamed al-Jamri
I learned a lot about particle physics which I had only the slightest idea about.

Story of a physicist (name? Juan Hewitt), who has been waiting for LHC for 25 years (SSC in USA was cancelled by Congress).

Moment of discovery of the Higgs boson, 4 July 2012.

3 types of fundamental particles: bosons, fermios and the Higgs. The Higgs particles arises from the Higgs field, which pervades space. Higgs field is always there. Without it particles would be massless and there would be no atoms.

This is of c
Julian Palmer
Julian Palmer
Mrs. Allen
Pre-AP English 1-5th
October 7, 2016

“The particle at the end of the universe: How the hunt for the Higgs Boson leads us to the edge of a new world”
In,“The particle at the end of the universe: How the hunt for the Higgs boson leads us to the edge of a new world”, Sean Carroll, the author, equips the reader with knowledge of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), the particles discovered there, and a little bit about the Standard Model. Throughout the novel, he expresses his thoug
Chad Staats
Jan 09, 2017 Chad Staats rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a fan of Sean Carroll's writings, you will enjoy this book. Reading Carroll is like sitting in your favorite GER class your sophomore year. Why? Because it was the professor that made it so interesting, and in this case the professor is Carroll, who takes a fairly complex topic and narrates in an understandable, yet incredibly interesting delivery. He begins the first few chapters at a higher level, discussing the politics surrounding the LHC, middle chapters do a brief deep dive into ...more
Hugh Mannfield
Dec 06, 2014 Hugh Mannfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean M. Carroll.

The Higgs Boson?

In this book, Sean Carroll tells the story of the building and operation of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) in the search for the Higgs boson. He also explains the standard model and attempts to explain what the Higgs boson is and why it was worth 9 billion dollars to find it. I say attempts because after reading the entire book, including all appendixes, I can’t say I fully understand it. This is not because Sean has fai
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Science and Inquiry: November 2013 - Particle at the End of the Universe 29 102 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.
More about Sean Carroll...

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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.” 23 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.” 8 likes
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