Books

I’ve been asked if I can recommend any normal-people books on particle physics. I do this in my ISP class and here is a part of a list that I give them. There are others besides these, of course.

  • The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? Dick Teresi, Leon M. Lederman…this is the book that started the whole “god particle” mess. Many of us worked with Leon and I had him visiting MSU when the book was just out and we did some book signing events. He was attacked for the title as you can imagine. That said, it’s the best description of “discovery” that I think I’ve ever read.

  • The Making of the Atomic Bomb Richard Rhodes…not strictly particle physics, but among the most comprehensive and engaging stories of the birth of quantum mechanics. There’s a sequel by Rhodes on the hydrogen bomb, again good history.

  • Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics Bruce A. Schumm…a little complex for non-science students, but you folks would like it.

  • Higgs Discovery Lisa Randall…some writers were waiting in the wings for our announcement of the Higgs Boson discovery. Lisa was one.

  • The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson… Sean Carroll…Sean was another.

  • The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics… Robert Crease…I love this book. It’s a history of the development of the Standard Model of Particle Physics.

  • Why Does E=mc2?: Brian Cox, Jeff Forshaw…Brian is a colleague on ATLAS from Manchester. Before going back to grad school, also a pop star in Britain. (It’s always embarrassing, but we’re often mistaken for one another.) He also has a couple of extremely popular TV programs on BBC about science of all kinds. This is pretty good. He’s also got one on Quantum Mechanics that I don’t think is as good.

  • The Quantum Frontier: The Large Hadron Collider Don Lincoln…Don is a colleague at Fermilab who writes at night. He has multiple books out. We were on D-Zero together and he’s the Outreach Coordinator for the LHC CMS experiment.

  • Understanding the Universe: From Quarks to the Cosmos Don Lincoln…and another.

  • The Greatest Story Ever Told—So Far Lawrence Krauss…Lawrence is really a cosmologist by trade, but was originally a particle theorist. This is his account of the Standard Model. He writes more than anyone I know (I took a sabbatical at ASU with him 3 years ago.) and all of his books are terrific. He got into the writing game with The Physics of Star Trek. I’m reading it now myself. He also writes regularly for the NYT, Scientific American, Discovery, etc…

How’s that?

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