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The Large Hadron Collider

, 240 pages

5 b&w photos, 19 b&w illus., 25 halftones, 41 line drawings

August 2014



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The Large Hadron Collider

The Extraordinary Story of the Higgs Boson and Other Stuff That Will Blow Your Mind

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.

Don Lincoln is a senior scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame. He is author of Alien Universe: Extraterrestrials in Our Minds and in the Cosmos and The Quantum Frontier: The Large Hadron Collider, both published by Johns Hopkins.

"The book is a fast read brimming with personality. Reading about the Large Hadron Collider, with its spinning particle streams, hypercontrolled collisions, and awesome implications, is like learning about what wizards do."

"Lincoln's tales of the LHC... offer readers fresh insight into some of the most significant research in modern physics."

"Laypersons interested in the building blocks of the universe and/or the newsworthy LHC will learn a lot from this work and enjoy the process."

"Physics blends with some amazing stories of the Higgs boson and other details in a powerful scientific survey packed with insights that are both scientifically detailed and widely accessible to general-interest readers."

"This engaging story will be appreciated by readers interested in the frontiers of science... Highly recommended."

"Written in accessible language and an engaging manner."

"I was pleased to see how Lincoln’s sense of humor... lightens what might otherwise be a tedious enumeration of technical details."

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