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The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? [Paperback]

Leon Lederman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Jan. 1 1994 0385312113 978-0385312110 Reprint


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From Publishers Weekly

The "God particle" of the title is Lederman's term for what other physicists call a Higgs boson--a hypothetical particle that might hold a key to the subatomic world of quarks and leptons. To find out if a Higgs boson indeed exists, this Nobel laureate in physics conceived of the Superconducting Super Collider, which, if constructed, would be the world's most powerful particle accelerator. Writing with Teresi (coauthor of The Three-Pound Universe ), Lederman first surveys moments of discovery from Newton to Einstein in a breezy, folksy style that can be annoying ("Galileo was an irascible sort of guy . . . . He could be a pain in the ass"). This style, however, serves the reader well when Lederman and Teresi enter the complexities of subatomic physics, clarifying the search for squarks and winos, grand unified theories, superstrings and dark matter. $100,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Nobel Laureate and physicist Lederman is funny, clever, entertaining, and highly accessible as he charts the course of experimental physics from 430 B.C. to the planned opening of the Superconducting Supercollider (SSC), of which he is one of the principal architects. This book might be seen, in fact, as a sort of advertisement for the SSC, answering as it does the question, What is the SSC for ? Even allowing for Lederman's open bias toward big physics, his book is a delight to read and absorb, far more accessible than most books about contemporary physics, because it is rooted in the experimental; the "God particle" of the title is the missing link of experimental physics, just as this book is the missing link between a complex world and the general reader. By contrast, Amit Goswami (physics, Univ. of Oregon) is interested in the metaphysical, or perhaps the meta-metaphysical. Drawing heavily on New Age and Eastern philosophical concepts, he attempts to demonstrate that the world as we know it is but a construct of human consciousness; mind, not matter, is the stuff of which we are made. Where Lederman explains for the delight of knowing, Goswami explains only to support his thesis, making for a much more abstract and strange book. All but the converted will find this heavy sledding. The books are thus not interchangeable: Lederman will appeal to those interested in learning about science and the physical world, Goswami to those seeking a hip confirmation of their own sense of self-enlightenment.
- Mark Shelton, Athens, Ohio
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish physics was this funny when I studied it Feb. 10 2008
By Steve G
Format:Paperback
The cover of the book had a caption that read “The funniest book about physics ever written”. Immediately springing to mind was the question, how many funny books on physics are there? Well, the cover of the book was correct. Professor Lederman, a Nobel Prize winner, managed to combine a detailed yet clear presentation of physics with a keen sense of humor. His disdain for theoretical physicists was actually quite funny. Lederman covered the history of physics, from the ancient Greeks up to modern times. While the book is a little outdated now (it was written in 1993) Lederman did update the preface in 2006. The only time that I got bogged down was when Lederman was discussing his own experiments. I feel that the book could have used more illustrations, particularly about particle accelerators. However, the web site [...] was very useful in clearing up much of my confusion. This book was well worth the investment of time and I was sad when I finished the book. I felt as if I were leaving an old friend and mentor in Professor Lederman.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The God Particle Sept. 22 2009
Format:Paperback
Written by a nobel prize winner, this book offers both a review of basic physics and an introduction to modern physics. As someone who last took a physics course in 1961, I found it valuable, and would not hesitate to recommend it. Not at all dry, it's witty, involving, and gives an insider's look at many of the scientists who've been most influential in creating our modern age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great "book" Feb. 2 2002
Format:Paperback
Who thought one could laugh (out loud) while reading a book covering physics.
I did not want this book to end. Each night, I would saver a page/chapter or two, and look forward to the next nights reading.
Leon Lederman is an exceptional writer! I would love to meet him someday.
Mr. Lederman tells the "story" of physics. His writing depicts his personality, intelligent, humorous, straightforward. He was writing (talking) to me! His writing style made me believe I could understand the complicated science of physics.
I highly recommend this book to everyone, regardless of his or her interest in physics or science.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was surprised to be able to read such a complete book on Quantum physics that easily. Although I am not a scientist, I was allways interested in the field and the discussion around the events of July 2012 in Switzerland boosted my curiosity towards the matter. I tried a couple of books but none was truly depicting in scientific terms and made available to the general public the real meaning of this discovery. Although the book was written in the early 90's it is still very actual and the great sense of humor that Dr Lederman displays through the book makes it more palatable to humble mortals like me. I recommend it warmly for those who get it and who don't.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Physics Book May 14 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is a good physics book, however (there's always a however)if you know anything about particle physics or quantum theory it probably is not worth reading. The book is very slow moving. Taking a painfully long time to explain trivial concepts and when it finally gets interesting there is a lot of hand waving involved. If you know absolutely nothing about physics, then read this book. If on the other hand, you got a well rounded education then I would have to suggest a different book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read Dec 3 2008
Format:Paperback
This book is very interesting to read and provides a good introduction to the world of physics for someone who has no knowledge on the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not a book on cosmology April 12 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I read this book, and thought it very informative and even fun. Later I read some of the reviews others readers had offered.
One review was very negative from someone, who, like most of us, I suspect isn't a physist.
This "gentleman" condemened this book because he felt the writers didn't understand cosmology. Perhaps he didn't understand this is not a book about cosmology. It is the story of the beginning of particle physics, and where it has led us....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Book! You must read it! Nov. 13 2001
Format:Paperback
This is undoubtedly one of the best popular science
books ever written!
Comparable in content and richness of presentation
with the 'Cosmos' by Carl Sagan, this book takes us
into a fascinating journey in pursuit of the a-tom!
The *truely* indivisible building block!
The fact that Leon is an authority makes this book a
godsend for the layman who has no clue of what's going
on in the wonderful sub-atomic world!
This is a very lucid account of the history of the search for the atom taking us one step at a time right from the very beginning of the atomic notion.
The highlight of the book is the manner in which Leon describes clearly and slowly, "How,Why and What led each individual to ask the various questions and their efforts to arrive at plausible answers", and how this endless sequence of such individuals, their questions and their theories built the tower of science one brick at a time.
A must read on *any* list.
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