The Search for the World's Smallest Particles

By Paul Halpern

Cover of "Collider"

We stand on the brink of a bold new age in science, precipitated by the most powerful particle smasher ever constructed. By crashing together particles at enormous energies, scientists hope to recreate some of the conditions merely a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. Explore the quest for the building blocks of the universe using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and other accelerators!

Could there be a single energetic field, nicknamed "The God Particle," that bestows mass upon everything else in the universe? Do the particles in the universe have mirror images, called supersymmetric companions? Might space have unseen dimensions? Why does the universe have far more matter than antimatter? Will mini-black-holes be produced in the LHC's energetic collisions? Why did the Superconducting Super Collider (SCC) suddenly get cancelled and what were the repercussions of that decision?

Collider investigates these fascinating questions and more, offering the background behind humanity's search for the most fundamental components of the cosmos. Take a literary trip into the fiery origins of all things and discover the path to ultimate unity!

Praise for Collider

  • A gem. The prose sparkles, the descriptions are exquisitely understandable, and the narrative is just plain fun. This book will charm experts, students, and anyone interested in scientific exploration.
    —Catherine Westfall, co-author of Fermilab
  • Paul Halpern is a gifted writer who brings science and scientists alive. This is a wonderful introduction to the world of high-energy physics, where gigantic machines and tiny particles meet.
    —Kenneth Ford, author of The Quantum World
  • Professor Paul Halpern takes the reader on a stimulating odyssey on topics ranging from particle physics and dark matter to unexplored dimensions of space. The masterful Halpern likens the physicist's quest to the excavation of archaeologists who seek to uncover 'new treasures' as they unearth wondrous gems that lay hidden all around us. Buy this book and feed your mind!
    —Cliff Pickover, author of Archimedes to Hawking
  • With clarity and a Sagan-esque gift for explanation, Paul Halpern traces the story of how physicists use immensely powerful machines to probe the deepest mysteries of existence. Halpern also conclusively debunks the ludicrous claims that the Large Hadron Collider and other high-energy physics experiments threaten to destroy anything—except our residual ignorance about the nature and workings of our wondrous universe.
    —Mark Wolverton, author of The Science of Superman
  • Paul Halpern has written a masterful account of particle accelerators and the theories they are constructed to investigate in a very accessible and engaging style. As the world's largest accelerator begins its search for the smallest particles, Halpern traces the human drive to find the ultimate building blocks of nature.
    —David Cassidy, author of Beyond Uncertainty: Heisenberg, Quantum Physics, and the Bomb
  • If you ever wondered about the Large Hadron Collider and what's brewing in high energy physics and cosmology, Paul Halpern is a wonderful guide. His lively and engaging writing deftly interweaves the historical background, the current frontiers, and the latest scientific instruments, now poised to address so many profound questions.
    —Peter Pesic, author of Sky in a Bottle

About the Author

Paul Halpern is a professor of physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He is the author of more than a dozen highly acclaimed popular science books, is the distinguished recipient of multiple awards related to his work, and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, including Future Quest and The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special. Learn more about him on his personal website.