Since 2008 scientists have conducted experiments in a hyperenergized, 17-mile supercollider beneath the border of France and Switzerland. The Large Hadron Collider (or what scientists call "the LHC") is one of the wonders of the modern world--a highly sophisticated scientific instrument designed to recreate in miniature the conditions of the universe as they existed in the microseconds following the big bang.Read more...
Since 2008 scientists have conducted experiments in a hyperenergized, 17-mile supercollider beneath the border of France and Switzerland. The Large Hadron Collider (or what scientists call "the LHC") is one of the wonders of the modern world--a highly sophisticated scientific instrument designed to recreate in miniature the conditions of the universe as they existed in the microseconds following the big bang. Among many notable LHC discoveries, one led to the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics for revealing evidence of the existence of the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle.
Picking up where he left off in The Quantum Frontier, physicist Don Lincoln shares an insider's account of the LHC's operational history and gives readers everything they need to become well informed on this marvel of technology.
Writing about the LHC's early days, Lincoln offers keen insight into an accident that derailed the operation nine days after the collider's 2008 debut. A faulty solder joint started a chain reaction that caused a massive explosion, damaged 50 superconducting magnets, and vaporized large sections of the conductor. The crippled LHC lay dormant for over a year, while technical teams repaired the damage.
Lincoln devotes an entire chapter to the Higgs boson and Higgs field, using several extended analogies to help explain the importance of these concepts to particle physics. In the final chapter, he describes what the discovery of the Higgs boson tells us about our current understanding of basic physics and how the discovery now keeps scientists awake over a nagging inconsistency in their favorite theory.
As accessible as it is fascinating, The Large Hadron Collider reveals the inner workings of this masterful achievement of technology, along with the mind-blowing discoveries that will keep it at the center of the scientific frontier for the foreseeable future.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-07-21
- Reviewer: Staff
Particle physicist Lincoln follows up The Quantum Frontier: The Large Hadron Collider with an insider’s look at the LHC in the wake of the Higgs boson’s discovery. Particle accelerators are designed to replicate the high-energy conditions of the early universe 13.8 billion years ago, and the LHC is the most powerful accelerator ever built. Lincoln describes in vivid, accessible language how the LHC works, using surfers, tetherballs, and more. He also covers the day the LHC came online and the day the discovery of the Higgs was announced. What sets the book apart is a chapter of “War Stories” full of oddball facts, such as the economics of cave digging and that some LHC parts use brass from decommissioned Soviet naval shell casings. While nothing will actually blow your mind, Lincoln’s tales of the LHC, from its proton-making “Duoplasmatron”—“which seems to have stolen its name from 1930s pulp science fiction”—to the valuable information gathered by its detectors, offers readers fresh insight into some of the most significant research in modern physics. (Sept.)