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Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten

Massive: The Hunt for the God Particle

Massive: The Hunt for the God Particle - Ian Sample WARNING: THERE WILL BE A SHORT QUIZ AT THE END OF THIS REVIEW

Okay, now that I've got your attention, read the following descriptions of two subatomic particles, then answer the question. The particles in question are the Higgs and the inflaton. Ready?


Theoretical status

Higgs: Hypothetical.

Inflaton: Hypothetical.

What they're supposed to do

Higgs: Unify the electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces, by mediating a scalar field which assigns mass to the W and Z particles. May also assign mass to other particles.

Inflaton: Create the whole universe. May also have created an infinite number of other universes.

Experimental status

Higgs: Rumoured to have been observed at the Large Hadron Collider a few weeks ago.

Inflaton: Will probably never be observed.



Which one is often referred to colloquially as "The God Particle"?

Yes... needless to say, the answer is the Higgs. Whoever said "the inflaton" can stay behind after class and clean the erasers.