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The Infinity Puzzle

23 Nov 2011, 01:14 UTC
The Infinity Puzzle
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There’s a fascinating new book by Frank Close out this week about the history of the Standard Model, called The Infinity Puzzle. Until now I’ve always recommended The Second Creation, by Crease and Mann, as the best popular book for this history, but Close’s new book gives that one a run for its money. While Crease and Mann is a comprehensive overview, covering theory and experiment, as well as a longer time-frame, Close gives an insider’s look focused on the decade or so that led up to the Standard Model coming together around 1973.
Knowing the history of a subject has always seemed to me an integral part of really understanding it, so I’d argue that anyone who wants to really understand modern particle physics should spend some time with a book like this. In addition, there’s an outside chance we may soon be seeing the collapse of one of the central pillars of the Standard Model, the Higgs field, and if this happens, an understanding of where the Higgs came from may very well be relevant to anyone who wants to think about how to live without it.
About a year ago I spent some time looking into ...

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