Sunday, December 5, 2010

Smashing re-creation of Big Bang conditions at the Large Hadron Collider

Last month, the Large Hadron Collider switched gears. It ended its proton run, involving smashing those elementary particles together, and switched to lead nuclei. The goal is creating an ultra-high temperature substance, called quark-gluon plasma. This fiery liquid is believed to resemble the content of the universe shortly after the Big Bang. Quarks and gluons, the constituents of neutrons, protons and other particles, are normally confined to either triplets or pairs. However, at high energies, their confinement breaks and they are freer to move. The lead nuclei experiments at the LHC thus offer an exciting window to the dawn of time.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Guardian Review of Collider

I'm pleased to report that Collider has been reviewed in The Guardian:

Guardian Review of Collider

The Guardian calls it a "very readable history of our quest to understand the building-blocks of matter."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Collider - in paperback, with a new preface

I'm excited to see that Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles is now available in paperback, with an all new preface about the suspenseful start-up of the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful particle-smasher in the world. If you (or a friend or relative) are curious about the quest for supersymmetry, investigations into why there is so much more matter than antimatter in the universe, the search for higher dimensions, and the effort to understand the source of mass in the particle world, the book answers many of these intriguing questions and more.

As Publishers Weekly wrote about Collider:
"Halpern makes the search for mysterious particles pertinent and exciting by explaining clearly what we don't know about the universe, and offering a hopeful outlook for future research"

Friday, July 30, 2010

B. Tripp's Book Review of Collider

There is an excellent new review of Collider on Brendan Tripp's book review site. Here is a short excerpt:

"I thoroughly enjoyed reading Collider and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in physics, or even science in general. Not only is is a wonderful survey of what has happened in the field, it provides personalizing backgrounds on many major players that I'd never encountered previously, as well information on folks who did significant pieces of research that I'd never heard of. "
-B. Tripp

Here is a link to the full review:
B. Tripp's Book Review of Collider

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Interview with Marcus Chown on

I recently had the fantastic opportunity to interview science writer Marcus Chown on the blogging "talk show" The topic was his new book "The Matchbox that Ate a Forty-Ton Truck."

As I am a long-time fan of his writings in New Scientist, and really enjoyed his book, it was a wonderful experience getting a chance to chat with him. He seems very down-to-earth, and has a gift for explaining difficult topics in a very visual, tangible manner.

Marcus's story about physicist Richard Feynman's letter to his mother is priceless. It is toward the end of the interview.

Here is a link to the video chat:

Interview with Marcus Chown on

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Collider in Paperback

Collider is now available in paperback for pre-ordering. I'm very excited about the colorful new cover, including a photo of the CMS detector.

The paperback edition includes a brand new preface about the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider and the future of particle physics.