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Present at the Creation: The Story of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider
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Present at the Creation: The Story of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  181 ratings  ·  26 reviews
The Large Hadron Collider is the biggest, and by far the most powerful, machine ever built. A project of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, its audacious purpose is to re-create, in a 16.5-mile-long circular tunnel under the French-Swiss countryside, the immensely hot and dense conditions that existed some 13.7 billion years ago within the first trillion ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Crown Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2010)
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This book starts off with an outright lie:
" the likes of which has not seen in our universe since a fraction of a second after the Big Bang"
First of all, the kinetic energy in a 100mph fastball is one hundred million times as great.
More applicably, "The Universe as a whole conducts more than 10 million million LHC-like experiments per second" in the form of cosmic rays which bombard the Earth.
I'm afraid to r
I wanted to read this book to find out what all the "God Particle" fuss was about. I probably understood about 10% of this book, but what I did understand was pretty mind-blowing. Here are some facts I learned about the LHC:

It's the largest machine ever built- a 16.5 mile "race track" beneath the ground in Geneva, designed to crash protons into each other to replicate the conditions of the universe 1 trillionth of a second after the big bang. These protons crash into each other at 99.9999991% th
I thought that this was a very good oveview of the current state of theory in modern physics centered around the large Hadron Collider. The author gives a quick historical review of the development of what is called "modern physics" and the role of particle accelerators in the various discoveries about the origin of the universe and what matter is made of.
The LHC is by far the largest and most expensive machine ever built, costing around $20 billion in today's dollars. It was built to find a the
This book was a bit odd in a way: very uneven in quality. Some were excellent descriptions of the science involved and why the LHC is so important. Other parts were simply gossip such as recounting how a physicist had an arranged marriage back in Africa or maybe India, I forget which, and then had a concurrent marriage in England and how both wives came to the Nobel ceremony and the etiquette people were going nuts trying to figure out how to seat the trio. Who cares, really? Sure, it made a bre ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
It was a pretty basic read. The information was good although some of the examples seemed perhaps wrong for what was being described? The paperclip example? I felt like that had too many flaws to gloss over, and there were others that were likewise perhaps unhelpful. Overall though it was better than the last book I read on the LHC, both in readability and content.
The Large Hadron Collider is the biggest, and by far the most powerful, machine ever built. A project of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, its audacious purpose is to re-create, in a 16.5-mile-long circular tunnel under the French-Swiss countryside, the immensely hot and dense conditions that existed some 13.7 billion years ago within the first trillionth of a second after the fiery birth of our universe.
The collider is now crashing protons at record energy levels never creat
Daniel R.
A wonderful overview of the science behind and the science being tested at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The book describes the collaboration and building of the greatest machine in history and in the process introduces many of the people responsible for its creation and the many theories that scientists hope to test as it reaches ever larger energy levels. At times the shear breadth of material can be a little overwhelming if you are not well versed in topics such as particle physics, quantu ...more
Thomas Fackler
The last chapter is dated at this point and there was some commentary about women scientists that was a little awkward, but otherwise this was a superb introduction not only to the LHC, but to the history of theoretical and experimental particle physics up to the development of the LHC.
The large Hadron collider was built to prove the standard model of the universe is true or to find an alternate theory that really proves everything. I understood the first part of the book because it reviewed the particles sought and I was familiar with this. The second section of the book deals with cosmological theory and I understood very little of this because it was all new. The final section of the book is about the actual machine and is very readable. I think the author tries to condense ...more
Nicholas Dummer
This was a well written and informative introduction to the LHC at CERN. It provided information regarding the history of CERN, the history of some of the major characters and theories involved in its development, a brief overview of simplified particle physics, the detectors and experiments at the LHC, and some hopes for the future. This book is now a couple of years dated. I might recommend The Particle at the End of the Universe for a more up to date picture of the CERN experiments which goes ...more
It was good! The scope was a bit narrow only really focusing on the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, but it's understandable since the LHC hasn't been in operation that long.

The history behind the construction and the different roles played by the partner nations was all very interesting and I really enjoyed the little vignettes of the high-energy and quantum scientists that pioneered the field.

My favorite factoid: the LHC is comprised of over 1 billion miles of ultra-fine
G Budai
An excellent intro on basics of large hadron. Detailed historical overview, great insight into engineering of the facility, to issues faced and about the science itself behind. All in more than brief, just in quantity that is enough. Despite basic, reader must possess some knowledge about what quantum mechanics is supposed to be.
Vincent Russo
A nice overview of the current state of particle physics at the time this book was released. Since then, the Higgs has been discovered, but the book is still quite relevant as much of the content on the Higgs was the implication for its existence within the standard model of physics. The book also has some nice anecdotes of the scientists working in this field to make it entertaining to a wider audience. Certainly a good book to advocate the importance of funding large projects in science, and w ...more
After reading this, I have a better idea of what CERN is and what the details of the different experiments being conducted at the Large Hadron Collider are. The snippets of interviews with so many eminent scientists were intriguing glimpses at the personalities of the heroes of modern physics.

Aczel does his best to describe the science behind everything for his readers - and thank goodness for the glossary at the back - but I still got lost in the supersymmetry chapter and felt my head swimming
Jonna Higgins-Freese
Not at CRPL
Present at the Creation: The Story of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider by Amir Aczel was a very good overview. I'm sure that Aczel simplified the reality to make it somewhat understandable to someone like myself. I appreciate the effort he made to screen me from the complex math and physics. Perhaps I don't understand the significance of the Higg's Boson or the Large Hadron Collider to the same degree as the project's scientists, but after reading Aczel's book, it does seem to make sense.
Mohammed alkindy
the book took my breath as it describes the journey from its infancy in 1954 till the big succsess in 2010 when CERN managed to witness a collision of 7 GeV of protons that took place. my visit to CERN this week was the icing cream of my readings in my interest to physics. i enjoyed it so much that 5 hours pass as if it was a 5 min. looking forward for CERN to discover the log awaited particle, the heg boson
Decent introduction to CERN, with a brief history and summary of particle physics added on.

I would have liked to have heard more about the LHC itself, but it hasn't been in operation for too long. So that much can be excused.

Also a bit over simplified, and I had some doubts with some of the figures mentioned. Still a worthy read for the layperson, though.
"The Jo" .
Per usual, Amir Aczel does a superior job conveying scientific fact with clarity and ease. I especially appreciated the historical facts interspersed throughout. I learned a few details, I did not know...I would have especially appreciated more references and/or a more in-depth appendix aimed at quantifying some of the concepts in the text.
Nick Stengel
I'm a longtime reader of Aczel, and I think he has another hit with "Present at the Creation." He writes for the layperson, but doesn't dumb down scientific issues. I now know the difference between a meson, a lepton, and a boson, and I know why they're important. Good stuff and well written in an interesting manner.
This is a very accessible explanation of the history of high energy physics, the function of the LHC, and the Standard Model. Aczel has an appreciation for both the elegance of modern physics theory as well as the complexity of the world's greatest machine, the Large Hadron Collider.
Poněkud nevyrovnané, jednotlivé kapitoly z dějin fyziky naroubované LHC. Autor má ale čtivý styl, uvozovaný různými anekdotami.
Would be tough to get through for someone with little knowledge or interest in particle physics.
Deborah Joyner
w/ ASJ. Not sure how much of this one really made it into my brain.
Streator Johnson
A great history of the search for the Higgs Boson.
Treasure Tolliver
Amazing. Current events (sort of) that actually matter.
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