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“A fictional approach to physics that captures both the substance of the theory and the passion of its practitioners.” — Kirkus Reviews
July 2012. When the decades long search for the Higgs Boson comes to a triumphant end, Leo, a science writer, and Sara, an aspiring string theorist, are among the jubilant crowd at CERN. As they discuss this historic event and the emotions it evokes, Leo suddenly experiences a moment of clarity - he realizes the true experience of science can never be communicated by words which fail to reflect the passion of the endeavor.
Encouraged by Sara, he makes it his goal to write a reimagined history of physics; one that captures the excitement and essence of moments that changed, forever, our perception of the universe. Over the next few months, Leo crawls into the minds of scientists who lived through these pivotal points in history, immersing himself in the intellectual confusion and the emotional struggles that accompany revolutions of thought. And then, he begins writing.
Each chapter in Leo's book gives voice to a science enthusiast struggling with a radical new theory. A young boy in the English countryside is enthralled and inspired by Newton's Principia; a university student at Cambridge ponders the power and poetry of Maxwell's electro-magnetism; a reticent school teacher reflects upon Relativity as he waits among the throngs at Battery Park to welcome his idol, Einstein, to New York; a post-doctoral researcher at Bohr's institute in Copenhagen tries to reshape his mind to accommodate quantum mechanics; a Pakistani professor, in Trieste for a conference, drifts into a reverie of particle physics and symmetry; after attending the Nobel Lectures in Stockholm, a young professional loses herself in thoughts of quantum field theory, while she re-evaluates her own relationship with the subject.
Leo discusses his manuscript in progress with Sara, and convinces her to write the chapter on string theory. As they relive centuries worth of discovery, their shared joy in the journey becomes a bond between the two.