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The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? Hardcover – Jan 1993


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (T) (January 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395558492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395558492
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #896,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.

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.

Customer Reviews

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steve G on Feb. 10 2008
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 By Richard M. deCaneva on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hrvoje on May 31 2001
Format: Paperback
Leon Lederman is an experimental physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize in physics (1988). If there will be Nobel Prize for the humor, he will be double winner. I read more than 100 books about popular physics, quantum theory and cosmology and this book is certainly in my Top 5 of all time! From the first hand you can read all newest information about what experimental physicists do, where are the problems, what is the next discovery they expect, and how look the atmosphere between scientists in the lab. In this book you can also read a much about history of experimental physics. But the main subject of this book is search for mysterious particle, Higss boson (God particle).
Why all material things have a mass? Nobody knows. God particle is propose to be an answer. Problem is that this particle is never been seen to interact with other particles or even to exist. It is pure imagination. But, if Higgs boson does not exist there will be a lot of serious problems for todays physical theories.
'The God Particle' is written with such a great charm and humor that I can not imagine better style than his. Lederman is first-class mind and in this book there are no speculations and mysticism, but only a pure scientific facts.
It seems to me that always a greatest minds (Gell-Mann, Feynman, Hawking, Weinberg,...) write a best book on the subject. This is the one. No doubt 'God Particle' deserve all 5 stars. Enjoy your self!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Adam Fantasia on April 26 2001
Format: Paperback
"The God Particle" was a truely intriging experience. The author Leon Lederman goes through an exilerating history of particle physics starting with the first theorists imagining the indivisible a-tom. In the begining it goes through a historical preview of the particle theorists and experimenters from 600 BC to the present. Including Aristole, Plato, Democritus and many others. It includes arguments on what,how and were the God Particle lies. The comprehensive theories, crazy as they may be, of today. There is also discusion about a new machine being built that may uncover the infamous God Particle, the Superconducting SuperCollider. Unfortunatly there was no rock hard evidence was found to prove the great mass giving particle, but there is hope. One of the books major strengths was its ability to really inform you everything about the people the author talks about. It grabs you with the interesting facts and unbelievable details. "The God Particle" challenges the greatest minds of the world. Will it be found? Will it give us a unified field theory that will end human suffering? Not one person on this earth knows, yet is explained well in this book. I give it ***** stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ganapathy Subramaniam on 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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