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Lucifer’s Legacy

This is a delightful book. The books them is asymmetry in the natural world from the quantum level, to molecules, our macroscopic world and the heavens. The book is a well written and enjoyable journey  from the late 19 th century to the present. It provides the accretive account (but exciting and not predictable) development of the Standard Model of particle physics viewed from the lens of asymmetry (symmetry).  The journey has colorful personalities, accidents of discovery and historical attribution (fortune favoring the prepared mind).  The book is filled with useful analogies and allegories and I found layers of my own confusion and misconceptions falling away courtesy of these helpful descriptions. The author uses words and a few selected figures and no equations.

The book culminates in the meaning of the Higg’s field, the discovery of the Higg’s boson and the anticipation of a unifying theoretical framework of the four fundamental forces with supersymmetry (SUSY). The book does not aim to look at the mathematical or physical limitations ( testability, falsifiability issues). It hints at the future but provides us (provided me) a clearer and firmer understanding and integration of the concepts and discoveries that have got us to this point.

 

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