Lucifer's Legacy: The Meaning of Asymmetry

Lucifer's Legacy: The Meaning of Asymmetry looks at asymmetry in the world around us, from the development of human embryos to the mysterious Higgs boson [the missing elementary particle that will reveal the origin of mass]

Explores the origins of asymmetry from life to the Universe at large, and asks whether this multitude of examples can be traced back to a single act that took place at the origin of our Universe - the Big Bang

Includes an insider's look at the biggest experiment of all - to recreate the Big Bang in Switzerland in 2005

Modern scientific theory describes a uniformly perfect creation; a universe in which matter would have been destroyed within an instant of its appearance and where nothing that we now know could ever have happened. Human life itself seems lopsided, as the spherical embryo is transformed into a highly structured being with its internal organs mirror asymmetric. The molecules of life differ from their mirror images: the milk in Alice's looking glass would not have been fit to drink. The mystery of how nature produces structured asymmetric patterns from an underlying uniformity is the focus of much current scientific research.

In Lucifer's Legacy,physicist and broadcaster Frank Close explores the origins of asymmetry from life to the Universe at large, and asks whether this multitude of examples can be traced back to a single act that took place at the origin of our Universe. Inspired by a chance meeting with Lucifer in the Tuillerie gardens in Paris, Close takes the reader on a sweeping tour of asymmetry in the world around us, from the development of human embryos to the mysterious Higgs boson. His tour culminates in Switzerland, where scientists are preparing an experiment to recreate the Big Bang and hope to resolve the mystery of original asymmetry.

Lucifer's Legacy describes the possible outcomes of this experiment, and assesses their implications for our understanding of the universe.

Published by Oxford University Press

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