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Review: Smash! Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider

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Smash! Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider
Written by Sara Latta, Illustrated by Jeff Weigel
Teen
Graphic Universe, Jan 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5124-3070-7
72 pgs, $11.99USD

When the Large Hadron Collider was first built, the public imagination went wild with concerns about antimatter and black holes destroying the world. But these sci-fi inspired events don’t compare to the real science being done there. Smash! Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider not only explores the work being down now, but also the history that led to it.

Smash Exploring the MysteriesNick is visiting CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, with his cousin Sophie. Nick is hoping to come up with some ideas for a new comic. Sophie’s parents work on the Large Hadron Collider, so she shows him around the facility. Starting with a sculpture called Art And Science, they explore the history of physics and The Standard Model, a collection of theories that explain what the universe is made of and what holds it together. Einstein’s famous equation, E=MC² and the big bang are also discussed, leading to the actual Large Hadron Collider, how it works, and how the Higgs particle was discovered. By the end, Nick has a better understanding about science and new characters for his comic.

Physics is a subject that is often talked about but not really understood. Author Latta breaks the topic down and uses visuals that make it easier to grasp. She uses real life examples such as a sock stuck to clothing to describe the electromagnetic force and a famous artist at Comic Con for how a particle can gain mass. She explains what the Higgs boson really is, and she dedicates the last half of the book to showing how the Large Hadron Collider works and what scientists found to prove the existence of the Higgs particle.

Artist Weigel’s art is instrumental in getting these concepts across. He depicts decaying particles as popping like party poppers, and he also uses Nick’s illustrations to show Nick’s growing grasp of physics. His depiction of the four forces as superheroes was amusing and appropriate.

Smash! Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider is a fun and informative look into what physicists do and why it is important that they do it. While each new discovery adds another piece to the puzzle, there are still a lot of places left to look. Hopefully, this volume with inspire more kids to want to help complete it.

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Lori Henderson About Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!

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