Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

The God Particle – 10 At long last we get to the God Particle, aka the Higgs boson. At the time of writing (1993), and when it was updated (2005), the so-called standard model of how the universe works was not quite complete. The top quark is still missing as of early 1993. One of […]

The God Particle – 9 For some 275 rather tedious pages, about two-thirds through the book, we come to the 1950s and 60s. These decades, according to Lederman, were extremely productive in the search for the smallest particle, as the atom was methodically dismembered. One reason was that: …anyone with a good idea and a […]

The God Particle – 8 Chapter 6: Accelerators: They Smash Atoms, Don’t They? The mammoth underground rings that “smash” atoms are called particle accelerators, and they can cost billions. This poses a challenge to congress when they are asked to fund them. For example, in a fragment of conversation between Senator John Pastore and Robert […]

The God Particle – 7 After visits with Galileo (who Lederman calls “the Carl Sagan of 1600”), and Newton (“The force be with us”), we spend some time with John Dalton (1766-1844), who Lederman calls, “a made-for-TV movie image of a scientist. …A big day for him was a walking tour and maybe attendance at […]

The God Particle – 6 Where do we stand today compared to Greece circa 400 B.C.? Lederman asks. In answer, he suggests that today’s “standard model” is not all that different from Democritus’s speculative atomic theory. There is a historical trail that begins in Miletus, Greece, wends its way through the centuries touching base with […]

The God Particle – 5 The unkempt stranger, still wearing his time travel toga, was Democritus, and Lederman engaged him in conversation: LEDERMAN: Excuse me. Are you the new mathematician they were supposed to send over from the University of Chicago? GUY IN TOGA: Right profession, wrong town. Name’s Democritus. I hail from Abdera, not […]

The God Particle – 4 How to characterize this strange book divided into Chapters 1 through 9 and Interludes A, B, and C? Entertaining? Very much. Dr. Lederman (or perhaps Dick Teresi) would make a great stand-up comic. Instructive? Yes, even though my aging gray cells are not quite as quick as I might like. […]

The God Particle – 3 Bear with me while I gingerly probe the boundary between humor and sacrilege. If I provoke a thunderbolt from heaven, this might be the shortest book review on record. The quotation is from Chapter 8 of The God Particle, by Dr. Leon Lederman. The God Particle At Last And the […]

The God Particle – 2 Dr. Lederman, the author of The God Particle, deserves some special mention before we dive into the book itself. Nearing the end of an illustrious career at age 91, he is that rare combination of a Nobel Prize winning scientist and a popular communicator. In The God Particle he undertakes […]

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 […]