Summary: ' The Big Bang, the birth of the universe, was a singular event. All of the matter of the universe was concentrated at a single point, with temperatures so high that even the familiar protons and neutrons of atoms did not yet exist, but rather were replaced by a swirling maelstrom of energy, matter and antimatter. Exotic quarks and leptons flickered briefly into existence, before merging back into the energy sea. This book explains the fascinating world of quarks and leptons and the forces that govern their behavior. Told from an experimental physicist's perspective, it forgoes mathematical complexity, using instead particularly accessible figures and apt analogies. In addition to the story of quarks and leptons, which are regarded as well-accepted fact, the author who is a leading researcher at the world's highest energy particle physics laboratory also discusses mysteries on both the experimental and theoretical frontier, before tying it all together with the exciting field of cosmology and indeed the birth of the universe itself. The text spans the tiny world of the quark to the depths of the universe with exceptional clarity. The casual student of science will appreciate the careful distinction between what is known (quarks, leptons and antimatter), what is suspected (Higgs bosons, neutrino oscillations and the reason why the universe has so little antimatter) and what is merely dreamed (supersymmetry, superstrings and extra dimensions). Included is an unprecedented chapter explaining the accelerators and detectors of modern particle physics experiments. The chapter discussing the hunt for the Higgs boson, currently consuming the efforts of nearly 1000 physicists, lends drama that only big-stakes science can give. Understanding the Universe leaves the reader with a deep appreciation of the fascinating particle realm and just how much it determines the rich beauty of our universe. Contents:Early HistoryThe Path to Knowledge (History of Particle Physics)Quarks and LeptonsForces: What Holds It All TogetherHunting for the HiggsAccelerators and Detectors: Tools of the TradeNear Term MysteriesExotic Physics (The Next Frontier)Recreating the Universe 10,000,000 Times a SecondEpilogue: Why Do We Do It? Readership: Students, scientists and lay people. Keywords:Particle Physics;Cosmology;Popular Science;Accelerators;DetectorsReviews: “Understanding nature's fundamental particles is part of the grand quest of understanding the universe. Don Lincoln never lets us forget that on this journey from quarks to the cosmos! The spirit of Leucippus of Miletus and Democritus of Abdera is still alive in Don of Batavia … There are many books on fundamental particle physics written for the general public. Most do a marvelous job of conveying what we know. Don Lincoln does more than tell us what we know; he tells us how we know it, and even more importantly, why we want to know it!” Edward (Rocky) Kolb Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics University of Chicago “… this is an account of particle physics by a person in the trenches, and there are many instances where the feel for doing particle physics comes through strongly … Lincoln has a good ability to make difficult concepts accessible through analogy, and uses this technique repeatedly … What this book brings of particular value is its discussion of HOW one learns the stuff that is summarized about particles and cosmology (the way that accelerators and experiments work), and something of the excitement of the chase … Lincoln's book sets down the main ideas in chatty and engaging style that goes a long way to making the subject appealing and accessible.” Paul Grannis Professor of Physics State University of New York, Stony Brook “Don Lincoln's book, Understanding the Universe, is an exciting description of what we know, and what we would like to know about the worlds of fundamental particles, astrophysics, and cosmology. The book is not only for students of physics or astronomy in high school or in the first years of college, it is for every non-scientist who would like to learn about the universe. The writing is clear and the diagrams are very helpful. This is the book to go to for a first explanation of subjects from the Higgs particle to early-universe inflation. And there are also short historical sections that are fascinating.” Martin Perl Nobel Laureate in Physics “The Universe, and the things it is made of, can be studied and understood by us, humble humans … This big adventure is notoriously difficult to explain to the layman, but Don Lincoln, a physicist at Fermilab near Chicago, has done a marvelous job. Being an experimentalist, he gives particularly colorful descriptions of numerous experiments, interspersed with humorous comments and anecdotes … This makes his book, ‘Understanding the Universe’, easy and pleasant reading.” Gerardus 't Hooft Nobel Laureate in Physics “Lincoln has an infectious love for physics … (and) demonstrates a humorous writing style that successfully engages the reader.” Publishers Weekly “The author is well equipped to write a book on the topic … It is not light reading, but worth the effort … Lincoln is careful to distinguish between what is known versus what is merely dreamed.” Mensa Bulletin “A veteran of many popular talks on physics, (Lincoln) charmingly relates the tale of humankind's almost insatiable curiosity about the ultimate nature of nature and the quest to determine the basic particles of matter. His style is engaging and obviously directed to informed lay readers, but the more scientifically minded will find it equally appealing … If digested with the notion that this topic is presented in a broad swath, both historically and scientifically, and not meant to be definitive, the work offers readers an appreciation of the investigative procedure, the accumulated body of research, and the people who did the investigating.” Library Journal “Don Lincoln, an experimentalist on DZero at Fermilab, motivates his tale of the development of particle physics, from its origins to its current state, almost entirely by experiments, a refreshing alternative to the usual theoretical treatments. Rather than posing thought experiments, Lincoln describes real experiments that have led to deeper questions and the consequent progress of particle physics … With his light and easy-to-read style, Lincoln's humor and personal tales do much to convey the flavor of modern particle physics research — a picture that is not often painted so realistically in other popular physics books. The content is more complicated than in most similar books, but this is a virtue for its intended audience, as it allows for greater depth.” Symmetry “Lincoln … helps explain, as the foreword writer (a theoretical cosmologist) puts it: ‘… what compels scientists to work for years on the world's most complicated experiments …’ After declaring physics the most interesting science and overviewing its scope for a general audience, he traces the history of what is known/theorized in the field up to ‘exotic physics’ (i.e., the next frontier). Chapters begin with quotes and include down-to-earth explanations.” Book News, Inc. “Knowledgeably written … ‘Understanding the Universe’ provides the nonspecialist general reader with a fascinating and informative introduction to the complex world of quarks, leptons, and the forces that govern particle physics. Written especially to introduce lay readers to subatomic mysteries, (the book) discusses the Big Bang, known and proven theories, suspected hypotheses that have yet to be firmly established, cutting-edge discussions of modern particle physics experiments, and much more. Black-and-white diagrams help illustrate the amazing ideas presented with a minimum of mathematics and a maximum of awe.” Midwest Book Review “Don Lincoln takes us on a rollicking tour of the universe: The reader finds out what we particle physicists understand about it, how we arrived at that understanding and where we think we're going next with our research … Lincoln enlivens the landscape with fresh details, irreverent (yet never unkind) remarks on the cast of characters, and explanations that are homey, humorous and often completely original … In his epilogue Lincoln addresses explicitly the question of why particle physicists ask why … the real reason we do research is simply this: It's tremendously fun to figure the universe out.” American Scientist “… Lincoln offers lay readers a complete tour of particle physics …(he) writes very well, using a mixture of humor, history and analogies as well basic scientific explanations … (and) does a particularly good job of covering the full gamut of particle physics.” Choice “This book is addressed to the curious layman, with only a murky recollection of school physics, who wants to know how far mankind has gone in understanding the world around us … It is an excellent reference for any scientist who is occasionally unsure how best to explain a particular physics concept to a non-specialist audience … his understanding and explanations of complex phenomena are excellent and the book strikes a balance between depth and accessibility.” CERN Courier '