Tag Archives: Simon Schama

Higgs Force

I just knew the day would come. And here it is!

I have given the Resident IT Consultant permission to review a book for me. All will become clear if you read on. It’s the kind of book I’m not as qualified to review as I’d like to be. I know I covered Anne Rooney’s Physics book a while back, but this one takes me out of my comfort zone. And when I saw how eagerly the poor man grabbed hold of Higgs Force by Nicholas Mee, I came to the conclusion it would be a kindness to let him write a review.

My impression is that this is a really interesting book. It’s just that I couldn’t say anything relevant or intelligent even if I tried. (In order to possibly gain advantages of some sort, other family members have hinted I might just understand it.)

“Higgs Force is clearly designed (or at least, titled) to capitalise on the interest surrounding the impending confirmation of the existence of the Higgs particle. Although it devotes relatively little space to the work of Peter Higgs and the Higgs particle, this is not a weakness as it provides a well-written and clearly explained overview of the way in which our understanding of the fundamental forces in nature has developed over the last two thousand years. I very much enjoyed reading it.

Popular books on complex scientific concepts can approach their subject in two different ways; they can focus on human interest, describing people and incidents linked to the concept, or they can try to explain the science and how it has developed. Many popular science books today completely ignore the science. Others, like Simon Singh’s book on Fermat’s Last Theorem or Anne Rooney’s The Story of Physics give roughly equal weight to both. Nicholas Mee’s book concentrates mainly on the context and development of the science, with much less attention paid to the background and personalities of the individuals involved.

The book is well illustrated throughout. It provides a very readable account of developments in our understanding of natural forces, how these have led to our current view of fundamental particles and the role of symmetry in our understanding of the universe. Readers without any formal training in Physics will probably need a certain amount of intellectual curiosity and determination to complete it but I believe they will find it rewarding. It might be particularly suitable as preliminary reading for those intending to study Physics at university.”

And there you have it. Not our normal bookwitch fare but quite intriguing all the same. I suspect that Daughter is about to launch another review of the book over at her place, one of these days. Isn’t it nice when the generations grapple over a book?