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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Winner of the prestigious 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books

“A modern voyage of discovery.” —Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate, author of The Lightness of Being

The Higgs boson is one of our era’s most fascinating scientific frontiers and the key to understanding why mass exists. The most recent book on the subject, The God Particle, was a bestseller. Now, Caltech physicist Sean Carroll documents the doorway that is opening—after billions of dollars and the efforts of thousands of researchers at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland—into the mind-boggling world of dark matter. The Particle at the End of the Universe has it all: money and politics, jealousy and self-sacrifice, history and cutting-edge physics—all grippingly told by a rising star of science writing.
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About the author

Sean Carroll, PhD, is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. After receiving his doctorate at Harvard, he pursued his research at MIT, the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, and the University of Chicago. Also the author of From Eternity to Here, he lives in Los Angeles.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Nov 13, 2012
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781101609705
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / History
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
Science / Physics / Atomic & Molecular
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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*INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER*
"Vivid . . . impressive. . . . Splendidly informative."—The New York Times
"Succeeds spectacularly."—Science
"A tour de force."—Salon

Already internationally acclaimed for his elegant, lucid writing on the most challenging notions in modern physics, Sean Carroll is emerging as one of the greatest humanist thinkers of his generation as he brings his extraordinary intellect to bear not only on Higgs bosons and extra dimensions but now also on our deepest personal questions: Where are we? Who are we? Are our emotions, our beliefs, and our hopes and dreams ultimately meaningless out there in the void? Do human purpose and meaning fit into a scientific worldview?

In short chapters filled with intriguing historical anecdotes, personal asides, and rigorous exposition, readers learn the difference between how the world works at the quantum level, the cosmic level, and the human level—and then how each connects to the other. Carroll's presentation of the principles that have guided the scientific revolution from Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness, and the universe is dazzlingly unique.  

Carroll shows how an avalanche of discoveries in the past few hundred years has changed our world and what really matters to us. Our lives are dwarfed like never before by the immensity of space and time, but they are redeemed by our capacity to comprehend it and give it meaning.

The Big Picture is an unprecedented scientific worldview, a tour de force that will sit on shelves alongside the works of Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Daniel Dennett, and E. O. Wilson for years to come.
A radical new view of the nature of time and the cosmos—“at once entertaining, thought-provoking, fabulously ambitious and fabulously speculative” (The New York Times Book Review).
 
What is time?
 
This deceptively simple question is the single most important problem facing science as we probe deeper into the fundamentals of the universe. All of the mysteries physicists and cosmologists face—from the Big Bang to the future of the universe, from the puzzles of quantum physics to the unification of forces and particles—come down to the nature of time.
 
The fact that time is real may seem obvious. You experience it passing every day when you watch clocks tick, bread toast, and children grow. But most physicists, from Newton to Einstein to today’s quantum theorists, have seen things differently. The scientific case for time being an illusion is formidable. That is why the consequences of adopting the view that time is real are revolutionary.
 
Here, the author of The Trouble with Physics argues that a limited notion of time is holding physics back—and what we need now is a major shift in scientific thought. The true reality of this manmade construct could be the key to the next big breakthrough in theoretical physics—and could hold implications relevant to issues from climate change to the economy.
 
What if the laws of physics themselves were not ageless? What if they could evolve? Time Reborn offers a radical approach to cosmology that embraces the concept of time and opens up a whole new universe of possibilities.
 
“With rare conceptual daring, Smolin beckons toward a new perspective for doing cosmological theory . . . A thrilling intellectual ride.” —Booklist, starred review
A rising star in theoretical physics offers his awesome vision of our universe and beyond, all beginning with a simple question: Why does time move forward?

Time moves forward, not backward—everyone knows you can’t unscramble an egg. In the hands of one of today’s hottest young physicists, that simple fact of breakfast becomes a doorway to understanding the Big Bang, the universe, and other universes, too. In From Eternity to Here, Sean Carroll argues that the arrow of time, pointing resolutely from the past to the future, owes its existence to conditions before the Big Bang itself—a period modern cosmology of which Einstein never dreamed. Increasingly, though, physicists are going out into realms that make the theory of relativity seem like child’s play. Carroll’s scenario is not only elegant, it’s laid out in the same easy-to- understand language that has made his group blog, Cosmic Variance, the most popular physics blog on the Net.

From Eternity to Here uses ideas at the cutting edge of theoretical physics to explore how properties of spacetime before the Big Bang can explain the flow of time we experience in our everyday lives. Carroll suggests that we live in a baby universe, part of a large family of universes in which many of our siblings experience an arrow of time running in the opposite direction. It’s an ambitious, fascinating picture of the universe on an ultra-large scale, one that will captivate fans of popular physics blockbusters like Elegant Universe and A Brief History of Time.

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