Special thanks to Jonathan Butterworth for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – Smashing Physics: Inside the World’s Biggest Experiment
Jonathan Butterworth is a physics professor at University College London. He is a member of the UCL High Energy Physics group and works on the Atlas experiment at Cern’s Large Hadron Collider. – The Guardian’s bio.
Author’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/jonmbutterworth
#1 – What was the impetus for Smashing Physics?
To share the experience and knowledge of the discovery with as many interested people as possible, and more generally to give an insight into how science is done these days.
#2 – Your book talks about the lead up to the discovery of the Higgs boson. What was it like being part of the discovery?
Well, you’d have to read the book for a full answer. But basically, an underlying sense of exhilaration and awe, overlaid with interspersed periods of boredom, fun, frustration and excitement.
#3 – Since its discovery, how has it changed our view of the world?
It has completed the “Standard Model” we have of physics, especially our understanding of how fundamental particles get mass. And yet that theory leaves a number of big questions unanswered. So that leaves us in something of a quandary.
#4 – Who have you written this book for? Scientists? The public? Teachers? Students?
I know it’s ambitious, but all of the above. I hope the narrative will make people want to read on, and carry them through, while there are some (optional) pretty chewy bits of physics in there which will certainly be knew even to most scientists.
#5 – Are you working on any new books/projects you can tell us about?
There’s my ongoing column/blog on the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/science/life-and-physics and I am working on something else too, but unfortunately I can’t tell you about it just yet.
[Image Credit: http://www.macleans.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/BUTTERWORTH.jpg ]