66 million years ago, a ten-mile-wide object from outer space hurtled into the Earth at incredible speed. The impact annihilated the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. But what if this catastrophe was the sign of something greater: an opening vista onto the interconnectedness of the universe itself?
This is the story of the astounding forces that underpin our existence; a horizon-expanding tour of the cosmos that unifies what we know about the universe with new thinking. From the far-flung reaches of space, the makeup of the universe and our solar system's place within it, to the mysterious and elusive stuff of dark matter and how it affects life here on Earth.
Sunday Times Science Book of the Year 2011.
We are poised on the edge of discovery in particle physics (the study of the smallest objects we know of) and cosmology (the study of the largest), and when these breakthroughs come, they will revolutionise what we think we know about the universe, and the modern world.
Lisa Randall guides us through the latest ideas, charting the thrilling progress we have made in understanding the universe – from Galileo and Newton to Einstein and the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Yet it's about more than just physics - Randall explains how we decide what questions to ask; how risk, beauty, creativity and truth play a role in scientific thinking; and how answering the big questions will ultimately tell us who we are and where we came from.
On July 4th, 2012, one of physics' most exhilarating results was announced: a new particle – and very likely a new kind of particle – had been discovered at the Large Hadron Collider, the huge particle accelerator designed to reproduce energies present in the universe a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. The particle's existence had been speculated on for nearly fifty years: here, finally, was proof.
Professor Lisa Randall of Harvard University is one of the world's most influential theoretical physicists, and author of the bestselling Knocking on Heaven's Door and Warped Passages. In Higgs Discovery she deftly explains both this epochal discovery and it's startlingly beautiful implications.