Particle Accelerators, Colliders, and the Story of High Energy Physics


The Nordic mythological Cosmic Serpent, Ouroboros, is said to be coiled in the depths of the sea, surrounding the Earth with its tail in its mouth. In physics, this snake is a metaphor for the Universe, where the head, symbolizing the largest entity the Cosmos is one with the tail, symbolizing the smallest the fundamental particle. Particle accelerators, colliders and detectors are built by physicists and engineers to uncover the nature of the Universe while discovering its building blocks. Charming the Cosmic Snake takes the readers through the science behind these experimental machines: the physics principles that each stage of the development of particle accelerators helped to reveal, and the particles they helped to discover. The book culminates with a description of the Large Hadron Collider, one of the worlds largest and most complex machines operating in a 27-km circumference tunnel near Geneva. That collider may prove or disprove many of our basic theories about the nature of matter.The book provides the material honestly without misrepresenting the science for the sake of excitement or glossing over difficult notions. The principles behind each type of accelerator is made accessible to the undergraduate student and even to a lay reader with cartoons, illustrations and metaphors. Simultaneously, the book also caters to different levels of readers background and provides additional materials for the more interested or diligent reader.

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