This book follows the story of the Higgs Boson, aka “the God particle.” The book follows the physicists, most notably Peter Higgs who were responsible for the theory that is the Higgs mechanism, a now important piece of the Standard Model. However, he is not the only person responsible for the creation of the Higgs mechanism, he even said himself “Contrary to the custom of this conference, I want to first of all to disclaim priority for some of the conceptts to which my name commonly attached to in literature.” He even went on to suggest that the Higgs mechanism should be renamed the “ABEGHHK’tH mechanism” after all the people (Anderson, Brout, Englert, Guralnik, Hagen, Higgs, Kibble and ‘t Hooft) who either discovered this or rediscovered it.
The book is not just about the theories and theorists behind the Higgs mechanism. It also delves into the world particle accelerators in the search for the Higgs boson, in order to prove the theory and tie down the Standard Model. He not only talks about the famous LHC, but he also introduces you other, less well known particle accelerators. Including the LEP (the large electron-positron collider), the LHC’s precursor, and even the Superconducting Supercollider which was sadly scraped by the US congress when it was only part built.
Ian Sample himself is not a physicist, he is an award winning science journalist, currently working for the Guardian. Therefore the book concentrates on telling the history of how the Higgs mechanism came to be, as well as the hunt for it’s boson, instead of explaining in detail what it actually is. Sample has researched this book very well leading to a wealth of anecdotes and stories gleaned form interviews with the scientists themselves.
I found this book extremely enjoyable and found it hard to put down. Sample has woven the stories from the physicists involved into an extremely interesting book the is accessible to all and worth a read. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the workings and the history of physics and would suggest that this book is required reading for anyone who wants to know what all the fuss behind the LHC and the Higgs is all about.