Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

The God Particle

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I’ve always wanted to write a book report. I’m now reading The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? In Kindle-speak I am only 46% into the book, but the urge to tell you all about it is growing.

The book is something of a science classic. It was written in 1993 by Leon Max Lederman, who is an internationally renowned high-energy physicist and Director Emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. Here is some of what he wrote in his Preface to the new edition:

A funny thing happened to me on the way to Waxahachie…

It is awkward writing a preface to a new edition of a 1993 book that was originally based on a false premise. It wasn’t the major premise, but a premise nonetheless. And the title of the book, The God Particle, problematic to begin with, was based on this misguided assumption.

I had assumed back then that the world of science was on the brink of a series of exciting new discoveries that would bring us closer to understanding how the universe works and the identities of the building blocks that make it possible. We were so close to a major epiphany in 1993 as we looked forward to a brand-new instrument, the Superconducting Super Collider (or SSC), then under construction in Waxahachie,Texas.

Before you conclude that this is about highly technical (and boring) particle physics and say I’m out of here, please hang around for a while. Dr. Lederman wrote his book for you and me, not his fellow physicists. He does a great job of making his physics entertaining and understandable. His story begins in 450 BC.

Trust me (at least until the next post).

Dave, waiting for Democritus.

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