Sean Carroll

The Particle at the End of the Universe

How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to The Edge of a New World

Sean Carroll, 2012, Hillsboro 539.721

Mostly about the development of the Standard Model, mathless. There is a large "bandgap" between word salad physics descriptions and the full-mathematical graduate-level description, and very little in between. This is among the best word-salad books, but I hope to find one which at least includes some algebra, and better technical illustrations of the geometry. Many more drawings explaining symmetries would help.

Lyn Evans, the man who built the LHC. Learn more about this engineer/scientist/manager.

Page 110 LHC, bunches collide 20 MHz. Hundreds of millions of collisions per second, up to 100 or more particles per collision, one megabyte per collision, "1000 1-terabyte hard drives per second"

Page 119 "science consultant for big-budget Hollywood movie", planet shaped like a disk. COuldn't find reference with websearch.

Page 208 Particle Fever, David Kaplan, Walter Murch, Sundance 2013.

Page 219 More and Different: Notes from a Thoughtful Curmudgeon by Phil Anderson.


The Big Picture

On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

2016, Beaverton, 576.83 CAR

This is philosophy, not science as such. Trying to turn science into "emotional meaning" is difficult; "is" is not "ought". I checked it out hoping to learn about why cosmologists chose the models they do, and why those models are absurdly oversimplified; perhaps the message is that they choose oversimplified models so the can write emotional philosophies like this book.

My own view is that nature in the miniature is rule-driven, but those rules have extremely complex and baroque, with surprising non-obvious outcomes. Nature at maximum scope is far more complex, but difficult and expensive to observe, so there is still a wilderness for the philosophers to hypothesize the existence of islands of philosophical orderliness. Spherical cows have been banished from the Earth and from our particle colliders, but they still orbit at the extremes of space and time.

Or, I'm rectocrainially inserted, and I should devote more hours to reading books like this. That would leave less time to read books with math in them.

The appendix has some math, the equation for the standard model "action", page 437:

W = { \Huge \int _{\large {k<\Lambda} } } { \large { [Dg][DA][D\psi][D\Phi] } } ~ exp \Bigg\{ ~ i ~ { \Huge \int } d^4 x \sqrt{-g} \Bigg[ { { \large { m_p^2 \over 2} } ~ R - { \large {1 \over 4} } { \large ~ F_{\mu\nu}^a ~ F^{a\mu\nu} + ~ i ~ { \overline { \psi ^{ \small i } } } ~\gamma^\mu ~ D_\mu \psi^{ \small i } + \left( { \overline { \psi_{\small L}^{\small ~ i } } } ~ V_{ij} ~ \Phi ~ \psi_{\small R}^{ \small ~ j } + h.c.\right) - | D_\mu ~ \Phi |^2 - V(\Phi) } }\Bigg] \Bigg\}


{ \Large \int _{ {k<\Lambda} } } { { [Dg][DA][D\psi][D\Phi] } } ~ exp ~ { \large \{ } ~ i

Quantum Mechanics


Ultraviolet cutoff, energy limit for valid calculation




bosonic force fields

D \psi


D \Phi


{ \Large \int } d^4 x \sqrt{-g}

integral over curved spacetime


curvature of spacetime

{ \large { m_p^2 \over 2 } } ~ R



Planck mass


Curvature scalar


hermetian conjugate; use only real part of complex numbers in these terms


Field Strength tensor

F_{\mu\nu}^a ~ F^{a\mu\nu}

other forces like electromagnetism

i ~ { \overline { \psi ^{ \small i } } } ~\gamma^\mu ~ D_\mu \psi^{ \small i } + \left( { \overline { \psi_{\small L}^{\small ~ i } } } ~ V_{ij} ~ \Phi ~ \psi_{ \small R }^{ \small ~ j } + h.c.\right)



Mixing matrix, fermion decay

subscripts L and R

Left-handed and right-handed fields work differently, parity violation

| D_\mu ~ \Phi |^2 - V(\Phi)

Higgs kinetic and potential terms, always nonzero

SeanCarroll (last edited 2019-03-24 01:17:27 by KeithLofstrom)