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  • John Murray
  • John Murray

Smashing Physics

Jon Butterworth

7 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, Popular science, Physics, Particle & high-energy physics

The first insider account of the work at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the discovery of the Higgs particle - and what it all means for our understanding of the laws of nature.

The discovery of the Higgs boson made headlines around the world. Two scientists, Peter Higgs and Fran ois Englert, whose theories predicted its existence, shared a Nobel Prize. The discovery was the culmination of the largest experiment ever run, the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider.
But what really is a Higgs boson and what does it do? How was it found? And how has its discovery changed our understanding of the fundamental laws of nature? And what did it feel like to be part of it?

Jon Butterworth is one of the leading physicists at CERN and this book is the first popular inside account of the hunt for the Higgs. It is a story of incredible scientific collaboration, inspiring technological innovation and ground-breaking science. It is also the story of what happens when the world's most expensive experiment blows up, of neutrinos that may or may not travel faster than light, and the reality of life in an underground bunker in Switzerland.

This book will also leave you with a working knowledge of the new physics and what the discovery of the Higgs particle means for how we define the laws of nature. It will take you to the cutting edge of modern scientific thinking.

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Praise for Smashing Physics

  • Most of the existing popular accounts of the events leading up to the July 2012 discovery claim at CERN are written from a theoretical perspective by outsiders. Jon Butterworth is an experimentalist and is the first to give a vivid account of what the process of discovery was really like for an insider. - Peter Higgs

  • Read this book! - Brian Cox

  • [A] charming, enlightening bulletin from one of the most exciting fields of human endeavour - The Guardian

  • [An] excellent account of one of the greatest intellectual adventures of modern times . . . I loved this insider's story of the discovery of the Higgs boson. - Sunday Times

  • More than just another telling of the story of the hunt for the Higgs at the LHC - the reader here is utterly immersed in the politics, excitement and sheer intellectual adventure of discovery... from someone who was actually there! - Jim Al-Khalili

  • The story of the search for the Higgs boson is so edge-of-your-seat exciting that it practically tells itself-but still, why not get the story from someone who was there for every step along the way? Jon Butterworth is a talented writer and a world expert in the physics, and his book is hard to put down - Sean Carroll, author of The Particle at the end of the Universe

  • Seethes with insights on the project's science, technology and 'tribes', as well as his personal (and often amusing) journey as a frontier physicist - Nature

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Jon Butterworth

Jon Butterworth is a leading physicist on the Large Hadron Collider, and Head of Physics and Astronomy at UCL. He writes the popular Life & Physics blog for the Guardian and has written articles for a range of publications including the Guardian and New Scientist. Jon often discusses physics in public, including talks at the Royal Institution and the Wellcome Trust and appearances on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, The Infinite Money Cage, BBC Newsnight, Horizon, Channel 4 News and Al Jazeera. He was awarded the Chadwick Medal of the Institute of Physics in 2013 for his pioneering work in high energy particle physics, especially in the understanding of hadronic jets. His book Smashing Physics was shortlisted for the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize.

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