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Download Present at the Creation: Discovering the Higgs Boson Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Present at the Creation: Discovering the Higgs Boson Audiobook, by Amir D. Aczel Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (107 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Amir D. Aczel Narrator: Byron Wagner Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2010 ISBN: 9780307735676
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The Large Hadron Collider is the biggest, and by far the most powerful, machine ever built. A project of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, its audacious purpose is to re-create, in a 16.5-mile-long circular tunnel under the French-Swiss countryside, the immensely hot and dense conditions that existed some 13.7 billion years ago within the first trillionth of a second after the fiery birth of our universe. The collider is now crashing protons at record energy levels never created by scientists before—and it will reach even higher levels by 2013. Its superconducting magnets guide two beams of protons in opposite directions around the track. After accelerating the beams to 99.9999991 percent of the speed of light, it collides the protons head-on, annihilating them in a flash of energy sufficient—in accordance with Einstein’s elegant statement of mass-energy equivalence, E=mc2—to coalesce into a shower of particles and phenomena that have not existed since the first moments of creation. Within the LHC’s detectors, scientists hope to see empirical confirmation of key theories in physics and cosmology.

In telling the story of what is perhaps the most anticipated experiment in the history of science, Amir D. Aczel takes us inside the control rooms at CERN at key moments when an international team of top researchers begins to discover whether this multibillion-euro investment will fulfill its spectacular promise. Through the eyes and words of the men and women who conceived and built CERN and the LHC—and with the same clarity and depth of knowledge he demonstrated in the bestselling Fermat’s Last Theorem—Aczel enriches all of us with a firm grounding in the scientific concepts we will need to appreciate the discoveries that will almost certainly spring forth when the full power of this great machine is finally unleashed.

Will the Higgs boson make its breathlessly awaited appearance, confirming at last the Standard Model of particles and their interactions that are among the great theoretical achievements of twentieth-century physics? Will the hidden dimensions posited by string theory be revealed? Will we at last identify the nature of the dark matter that makes up more than ninety percent of the cosmos? With Present at the Creation, written by one of today’s finest popular interpreters of basic science, we can all follow the progress of an experiment that promises to greatly satisfy the curiosity of anyone who ever concurred with Einstein when he said, “I want to know God’s thoughts—the rest is details.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Aczel brings the non-scientist reader up to speed with a clear description of theoretical and experimental scientific advances over past century and the development of accelerator technology. An exciting, true scientific adventure.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A fascinating discussion of research at the cutting-edge of physics.”

    Arthur Miller, author of Deciphering the Cosmic Number

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Treasure Tolliver | 11/29/2013

    " Amazing. Current events (sort of) that actually matter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 10/1/2012

    " Would be tough to get through for someone with little knowledge or interest in particle physics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Streator Johnson | 9/24/2012

    " A great history of the search for the Higgs Boson. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 11/14/2011

    " This book was quite interesting and I learned a lot about physics. There wasn't a lot about the Large Hadron Collider, which was a little disappointing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 3/10/2011

    " This is a very accessible explanation of the history of high energy physics, the function of the LHC, and the Standard Model. Aczel has an appreciation for both the elegance of modern physics theory as well as the complexity of the world's greatest machine, the Large Hadron Collider. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natasha | 12/14/2010

    " This book was quite interesting and I learned a lot about physics. There wasn't a lot about the Large Hadron Collider, which was a little disappointing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 11/9/2010

    " This is a very accessible explanation of the history of high energy physics, the function of the LHC, and the Standard Model. Aczel has an appreciation for both the elegance of modern physics theory as well as the complexity of the world's greatest machine, the Large Hadron Collider. "

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About the Author
Author Amir D. Aczel

Amir Aczel (1950–2015) earned his PhD in mathematics from UC Berkeley and is the author of the acclaimed Fermat’s Last Theorum, which was published in twenty-two languages. In 2012 he was awarded a Sloan Foundation grant; in 2004 he was awarded the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. From 2005 to 2007, Aczel was a visiting scholar at Harvard. He was also a research fellow in the history of science at Boston University. He wrote for Discover magazine online, regularly published in Scientific American as well as science pieces for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He often interviewed about science on radio and television, including recent appearances on NPR’s Talk of the Nation’s Science Friday.

About the Narrator

Byron Wagner is an audiobook narrator and voiceover artist based in Los Angeles. He began his career in entertainment at age eight, performing as a magician and ventriloquist for children’s parties, then graduated to theater, radio, TV, and film. After living in the UK for several years, his continuing love of acting and reading have happily led him back to the other side of the studio glass, doing voice acting and narrating, directing, and producing audiobooks.