The Infinity Puzzle

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-11-29
  • Publisher: Basic Books
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Speculation is rife that by 2012 the elusive Higgs boson will be found at the Large Hadron Collider. If found, the Higgs boson would help explain why everything has mass. But there's more at stake--what we're really testing is our capacity to make the universe reasonable. Our best understanding of physics is predicated on something known as quantum field theory. Unfortunately, in its raw form, it doesn't make sense--its outputs are physically impossible infinite percentages when they should be something simpler, like the number 1. The kind of physics that the Higgs boson represents seeks to "renormalize" field theory, forcing equations to provide answers that match what we see in the real world. The Infinity Puzzleis the story of a wild idea on the road to acceptance. Only Close can tell it.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Prologue: Amsterdam, 1971p. 1
The Point of Infinityp. 17
Shelter Island and QEDp. 33
Feynman, Schwinger,… and Tomonaga (and Dyson)p. 55
Intermission: 1950p. 65
Abdus Salam: A Strong Beginningp. 67
Yang, Mills,… and Shawp. 77
The Identity of John Wardp. 93
The Marriage of Weak and Electromagnetic Forces-to 1964p. 107
Intermission: i960p. 125
Broken Symmetriesp. 127
"The Boson That Has Been Named After Me," a.k.a. the Higgs Bosonp. 151
Intermission: Mid-1960sp. 183
1967: From Kibble to Salam and Weinbergp. 185
"And Now I Introduce Mr. 't Hooft"p. 203
Intermission: Early 1970sp. 229
B. J. and the Cosmic Quarksp. 233
A Comedy of Errorsp. 257
Intermission: 1975p. 281
Heavy Lightp. 283
Warmly Admired, Richly Deservedp. 295
The Big Machinep. 313
Intermission: End of the Twentieth Centuryp. 333
To Infinity and Beyondp. 335
Epiloguep. 353
Postscriptp. 357
Glossaryp. 359
Notesp. 365
Bibliographyp. 413
Indexp. 417
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