• Elusive

  • How Peter Higgs Solved the Mystery of Mass
  • By: Frank Close
  • Narrated by: Richard Burnip
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first major biography of Peter Higgs, revealing how a short burst of work changed modern physics

On July 4, 2012, the announcement came that one of the longest-running mysteries in physics had been solved: the Higgs boson, the missing piece in understanding why particles have mass, had finally been discovered. On the rostrum, surrounded by jostling physicists and media, was the particle’s retiring namesake—the only person in history to have an existing single particle named for them. Why Peter Higgs? Drawing on years of conversations with Higgs and others, Close illuminates how an unprolific man became one of the world’s most famous scientists. Close finds that scientific competition between people, institutions, and states played as much of a role in making Higgs famous as Higgs’s work did.  

A revelatory study of both a scientist and his era, Elusive will remake our understanding of modern physics.  

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2022 Frank Close (P)2022 Basic Books

Critic Reviews

“Rich, compelling, and surprising. Fundamental physics can be equal parts awe-inspiring and head-spinning, and Frank Close masterfully captures those qualities in this deeply satisfying tale of Peter Higgs's convoluted, and very human, journey through life and science.”
 —Caleb Scharf, author of The Ascent of Information

What listeners say about Elusive

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A gripping beautifully written biography

This biography of Peter Higgs and the Higgs Boson is fairly dense on the science but with the help of Wikipedia mostly understandable and very educational about particle physics and the standard model. But because it’s written beautifully by an eminent physicist like a gripping novel spanning a century of science it’s truly a page turner. I have listened to many books on science and the history of science and this one is my favorite. And the narrator is terrific.

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Frank Close has been hit-and-miss; this is a HIT!

Extremely well written, well narrated, deeply informative, and entertaining. Though not as profoundly insightful as most of Brian Greene's works, it is also much easier to grasp and to stay engaged.

Lot's of great details on the theory of the Standard Model, as well as most of the important experiments that proved it.

I wrote in the review title that Close's works have been hit-and-miss; this is mainly based on my firsthand experience with The Infinity Puzzle, which was written and narrated in such a way that I found it impossible to stay engaged. Maybe I should give it a second attempt, now that I know Frank is capable of getting the message across in an effective way... or maybe Elusive is his attempt at fixing what he did wrong with Infinity Puzzle.

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Must read for physics undergraduates

More than just a dive into the Higgs Boson, Elusive is a history of particle physics that anyone can follow, and a portrait of the great minds along the path that led to the standard model. The book provides context to the relationship between subatomic particles without any mathematics, and illustrates the great influence of politics and social pressure on the path that led to creation of LHC and beyond. It may even appeal to readers who don't harbor any great interest in physics, so long as they appreciate the historical significance and recounting of monumental discoveries.

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Excellent Read!

Well written book about a difficult to understand concept as well as a interesting take on a difficult to understand man. While I am not a theoretical physicist, I am extremely intersted in the field of quantum mechanics, the Big Bang, and the increasingly fascinating way our universe is put together. Frank Close has written a well put together book detailing how equations written on white boards or bar napkins turn into pivital moments in our quest to understand our universe. At the same time, he writes a delightful story about the man with an idea who is surprised and a little befuddled about the fuss being made over him and his discovery. I thouroughly enjoyed this book.

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Amazing book

The story of the Higgs Mechanism is a complex journey into Quantum Field Theory, Gauge Theory, Symmetry and Particle Physics. Frank Close has done an amazing job walking us through this landscape and giving us an appreciation for the dedicated physicists and mathematicians that brought this revolutionary theory to light.