HOW PHYSICS AND SCIENTIFIC
THINKING ILLUMINATE THE UNIVERSE
AND THE MODERN WORLD
List of Illustrations
What’s So Small to You Is So Large to Me
Living in a Material World
Looking for Answers
The Magical Mystery Tour
“Seeing” Is Believing
The Edge of the Universe
MACHINERY, MEASUREMENTS, AND PROBABILITY
One Ring to Rule Them All
The Return of the Ring
Black Holes That Will Devour the World
Measurement and Uncertainty
The CMS and ATLAS Experiments
MODELING, PREDICTING, AND ANTICIPATING RESULTS
Truth, Beauty, and Other Scientific Misconceptions
The Higgs Boson
The World’s Next Top Model
Bottom-Up Versus Top-Down
SCALING THE UNIVERSE
What’s So Large to You Is So Small to Me
Visitors from the Dark Side
Think Globally and Act Locally
About the Author
About the Publisher
EndnotesLIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Eiffel Tower as seen from different scales.
Temperature and pressure.
Three interpretations of light.
Scrovegni Chapel image.
Galileo experiment with an inclined plane.
Phases of Venus.
Painting of the sublime
Tour of small scales.
Atom size versus wavelength of visible light.
Valence quarks in a proton.
Production of matter and antimatter.
More complete picture of a proton.
Unification of forces.
Fixed-target versus collider experiment.
Differences among colliders.
The particle physics Standard Model.
The LHC in its setting.
Schematic of LHC rings.
A cryodipole magnet cross section.
The faulty busbar connection.
LHC time line.
Looking into the ATLAS cavern.
Looking down the beam pipe.
The ATLAS and CMS detectors.
Graphic of the CMS detector.
Simulation of a particle event in the ATLAS detector.
Lead tungstate crystal.
Part of the ATLAS ECAL.
The CMS muon detector under construction.
Graphic of the ATLAS detector.
The Standard Model in more detail.
Standard Model particle identification at the LHC.
Bottom quark signature.
Pictorial summary of the Standard Model.
Richard Serra sculptures.
Chartres Cathedral and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Asymmetry in Japanese art.
Higgs boson production modes.
Heavy Higgs boson decay to W bosons.
Light Higgs boson decay to a bottom quark and its antiparticle.
The hierarchy problem of particle physics.
Contribution to the Higgs boson mass from virtual particles.
Conference slide with different models.
Table of the supersymmetric Standard Model.
Supersymmetric contributions to the Higgs mass.
Squark production and decay at the LHC.
An open and a closed string.
Kaluza-Klein particle from large extra dimensions.
The graviton and warped geometry.
Rescaling in warped geometry.
KK particle production and decay in warped geometry.
Tour of large scales.
Red and blue shifts.
Pie chart of energy densities in the universe.
The Bullet cluster.
Expansion of the universe over time.
Detecting dark matter three ways.
Thinking outside the box.
We are poised on the edge of discovery. The biggest and most exciting experiments in particle physics and cosmology are under way and many of the world’s most talented physicists and astronomers are focused on their implications. What scientists find within the next decade could provide clues that will ultimately change our view of the fundamental makeup of matter or even of space itself—and just might provide a more comprehensive picture of the nature of reality. Those of us who are focused on these developments don’t anticipate that they will be mere post-modern additions. We look forward to discoveries that might introduce a dramatically different twenty-first-century paradigm for the universe’s underlying construction—altering our picture of its basic architecture based on the insights that lie in store.
September 10, 2008, marked the historic first trial run of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Although the name—Large Hadron Collider—is literal but uninspired, the same is not true for the science we expect it to achieve, which should prove spectacular. The “large” refers to the collider—not to hadrons. The LHC contains an enormous 26.6 kilometer
circular tunnel deep underground that stretches between the Jura Mountains and Lake Geneva and crosses the French-Swiss border. Electric fields inside this tunnel accelerate two beams, each consisting of billions of protons (which belong to a class of particles called hadrons—hence the collider’s name), as they go around—about 11,000 times each second.