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Download The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World Audiobook

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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (184 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sean Carroll Narrator: Jonathan Hogan Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2013 ISBN: 9781470341145
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Scientists have just announced a historic discovery on a par with the splitting of the atom: the Higgs boson, the key to understanding why mass exists. In The Particle at the End of the Universe, Caltech physicist and acclaimed writer Sean Carroll takes readers behind the scenes of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to meet the scientists and explain this landmark event.

The Particle at the End of the Universe not only explains the importance of the Higgs boson but also the Large Hadron Collider project itself. Projects this big don’t happen without a certain amount of conniving, dealing, and occasional skullduggery—and Sean Carroll explores it all. This is an irresistible story (including characters now set to win the Nobel Prize, among other glories) about the greatest scientific achievement of our time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The science is authoritative, yet bold and lively. The narrative is richly documented, yet full of human drama.  Carroll’s saga pulls you aboard a modern voyage of discovery.”

    Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate, author of The Lightness of Being

  • “An enticing cocktail of personal anecdote, clever analogy, and a small dose of mind-bending theory.”

    Morgan Freeman

  • “In this superb book, Sean Carroll provides a fascinating and lucid look at the most mysterious and important particle in nature, and the experiment that revealed it.  Anyone with an interest in physics should read this, and join him in examining the new worlds of physics to which this discovery may lead.”

    Leonard Mlodinow, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Carroll is a sure-footed guide through some of the most perplexing and fascinating insights of modern physics.”

    Brian Greene, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Carroll keeps it real, getting at the complex guts of cutting-edge cosmology in discussions that will challenge fans of Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.”

    Washington Post

  • “[Carroll] reconstructs the global hunt for the particle that gives all others their mass, stopping to explain basic physics along the way.”

    Scientific American

  • “[Carroll’s] writing is accessible and peppered with cultural refernces...[he] isn’t afraid to wade into topics that have befuddled even brand-name physicists.”


  • “Whether explaining complex physics like field theory and symmetry or the workings of particle accelerators, Carroll’s clarity and unbridled enthusiasm reveal the pure excitement of discovery as much as they illuminate the facts.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A fascinating chronicle of an important chapter in fundamental science.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dom Mcintyre | 2/19/2014

    " Fairly accessible pop science book about the Higgs boson, why theoreticians believe there must be such a thing, how the LHC experiments can reveal it, and quite a lot about the Standard Model of particle physics, along with a history of accelerators and the politics of getting the LHC built in the first place. I enjoyed this a lot, but there are a few bits I still haven't made sense of, in particular the bit in the appendices which explains why certain particles couldn't have mass without the Higgs in a way that makes me unable to understand how they can have mass even with the Higgs. The trouble with a book like this is that there are things you can't explain without mathematics, and analogies sometimes stretch past the breaking point; nevertheless, what I'd take from the section in question is that some particles can't actually exist! Might have to have another read of that bit. For context, I studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge in the '80s, focusing on Physics in my final year, but not taking any of the particle physics options. I'd like to hope that it's not just me being a bit slower on the uptake these days! I have heard that Carroll wrote this book very quickly when the discovery was announced, and perhaps that's where the rough edges come from. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason Whitehouse | 2/14/2014

    " This is great for us folks that are not physicist but still are interested in physics and space. The language is down to earth and you really get a grasp on what CERN is doing and all the possibilities of the discoveries! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 H. Peter Alesso | 2/12/2014

    " One of my all time favorites physics books. A beautiful compilation of discovery and explanation. From the Big Bang to the Standard Model interpreted with the new addition of the Higgs Field, this will become a classic in science. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 1/24/2014

    " I thought this was an entertaining and accessible (at least for me, as a chemist) text on the current state of elementary particle/field physics, as relates to the search and discovery of the (a) Higgs boson. I might have rated it higher but I was annoyed by the author's overuse of precise/precisely/precision, especially when the context indicated that he really meant accurate/accurately/accuracy. Just one of my pet peeves, I guess. Overall though, well done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 DavidO | 1/23/2014

    " I think I understood the book, but, as the author seemingly admits, finding the Higgs Boson taught us nothing except that our expectations were right. Kind of depressing really. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David R. | 1/19/2014

    " This work is probably best read by those who get deeply excited by particle physics. While I am intrigued by developments in the field, I simply can't get as breathlessly excited as is Carroll about a zoo of particles that don't make intuitive sense to the layman. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ella | 1/19/2014

    " Very informative and fascinating, comprehensible to someone with even only a very rudimentary grasp of physics like myself. Carroll doesn't shy away from difficult or abstract concepts but unlike a lot of "popular science" books out there he does not insult his readers by over-simplifying nor is it deliberately convoluted. Well written and engaging there are many enjoyable anecdotes and even a bit of subtle wit thrown in here and there, he can be a bit dry at times and I found myself having to read back over a few of the pages to remember where I was at, (But I read this book in fits and starts due to a hectic schedule and lack of time so it probably wouldn't be so bad if read in one go). You'll think twice about using the term "God Particle" in public after reading this. Anyone with an extensive knowledge of physics may however find this book to be painfully over-simplified. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul Mccollom | 12/28/2013

    " Difficult simply because the topic is so complex but the author does an amazing job of making it accessible to the layman. Reinforces the statement that "if you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don't..." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob4973 Wilson | 12/24/2013

    " Enlightening and great fun and dense and great fun. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael Sommers | 12/24/2013

    " Unlike many popular physics books, this one spends a bit of time on the machines, detectors, software, and so forth that are used to do the experiments. The descriptions of the physics are for the most part pretty clear, but there is, necessarily, a lot of hand waving. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gendou | 12/23/2013

    " I really liked this book. It contains a timely and comprehensive review of the Higgs mechanism. My favorite part was a telling of the experimental discovery of antimatter. I also liked the account of the building of the LHC, the sad cancellation of the SSC, and a nice expose on he great Lyn Evans. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Noah Richardson | 12/21/2013


  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Prajwal | 12/2/2013

    " A very good liaison for introducing laymen into particle physics. A lucid and vivid introduction into the process of scientific experimentation carried out by the scientific communities. A comprehensible explanation of the incomprehensible exotic theories and lastly CERN demystified. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 9/16/2013

    " I really enjoyed it. Science is awesome. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve Gross | 8/21/2013

    " This book has three parts: the search for the Higgs Boson, a description of the Large hadron Collider and what a particle physicist does. This book cries out for an editor - the author repeats himself endlessly. Still, some good physics explanations. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 BAKU | 8/9/2013

    " This is for the non-science audience. Starts to talk about how symetries lead to the forces on page 150 however, and appendix one is okay as far as ' so what's Higgs now ? ' "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wayne Carlson | 7/18/2013

    " Thank God for Google. Couldn't tell you how much stuff I looked up as I went along. Learned a lot. Glad I read this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scputval | 7/2/2013

    " Rated by Stephen who says it was "great." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marcus | 5/4/2013

    " Very well written and enlightening. Be sure to read the appendices. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Zak Warnick | 1/23/2013

    " First half-ish was good. Very last chapter or two were good. There is a bulk in the middle-ish that just talks about dumb stuff that I didn't care about. "

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About the Author
SEAN CARROLL is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He received his PhD in 1993 from Harvard University. Recently, Carroll has worked on the foundations of quantum mechanics, the arrow of time, and the emergence of complexity. He has been awarded prizes and fellowships by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Physics, and the Royal Society of London. His most recent award, in 2014, was from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Carroll has appeared on The Colbert Report (twice), PBS’s NOVA, and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, and he frequently serves as a science consultant for film and television. He has been interviewed by various NPR shows, Scientific American, Wired, and The New York Times. He has given a TED talk on the multiverse that has more than one million views, and he has participated in a number of well-attended public debates concerning material in his new book, including one in New York City in 2014 with Eben Alexander.
About the Narrator

Jonathan Hogan is a stage, television, and film actor. He has appeared in several episodes of Law & Order, as well as One Life to Live, As the World Turns, and Ryan’s Hope. In 1985 his performance in the play As Is earned him a Tony Award nomination.