The Infinity Puzzle

Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe

Publisher: Vintage Canada

With the mind of a scientist and the skill of a journalist, bestselling author and renowned physicist Frank Close gives us an insider's look at one of the most inspiring--and challenging--scientific breakthroughs of our time: the Large Hadron Collider, where the Higgs boson-like particle was discovered. Now updated with a new afterword.

About 40 years ago, 3 brilliant yet little-known scientists made discoveries that later inspired the construction of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva: a 27-kilometre-long machine which has already cost $10 billion, taken 20 years to build and promises to reveal how the universe itself came to be. The Infinity Puzzle is the inside story of those 40 years of research, breakthrough and endeavour. The work of Peter Higgs, Gerard 't Hooft and James Bjorken is explored here, played out against a backdrop of high politics, low behaviour and billion-dollar budgets. Eminent physicist and award-winning author Frank Close writes from within the action and draws upon his close friendships with those involved.


Amsterdam, 1971

And now I introduce Mr. ’t Hooft, who has a theory that is at least as elegant as anything we have heard before.
—Tini Veltman, “amsterdam international conference on elementary particles,” 1971

Tini Veltman is a contrarian: a forthright man who has...
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Praise for The Infinity Puzzle:
"Close's magisterial work is sure to become the definitive account of the story."
—The Economist

"An engrossing history that's also accessible for a general audience."
—Publishers Weekly

"Masterpiece...I never normally give 5 stars but for this I make an exception."
—John Gribbin, BBC Focus

"Outstanding scholarly work.... Powerful.... The deep character and high caliber of the author's brilliance flows through his prose with effortless style."
—Sacramento Book Review
(5 stars)