2015 Hardcover (ISBN 9781571463104)

2015 Hardcover (ISBN 9781571463104)

From the Great Wall to the Great Collider

China and the Quest to Uncover the Inner Workings of the Universe

Steve Nadis

Shing-Tung Yau

Published: 23 October 2015

Publisher: International Press of Boston, Inc.


214 pages

With 29 pages of color photographs.

List Price: $29.50


The 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson was a sensational triumph—the culmination of a 48-year-long search that put the finishing touches on the so-called “Standard Model” of particle physics. While the celebrations were still underway, researchers in China were making plans to continue the centuries-old quest to identify the fundamental building blocks of nature. More specifically, they began laying the groundwork for a giant accelerator—up to 100 kilometers in circumference—that would transport physics into a previously inaccessible, high-energy realm where a host of new particles, and perhaps a sweeping new symmetry, might be found.

The case for such an instrument is compelling: Even though the Standard Model can describe the behavior of particles with astounding accuracy, it is incomplete. The theory has little to say about the Big Bang, gravity, dark matter, dark energy, and other far-reaching phenomena.

This book explains how an ambitious new machine—on the scale of China’s proposed “Great Collider”—could provide us with a fuller understanding of the origins of our universe and its most basic constituents.

Featured Book Review

“Beautifully written … abstract physical principles are intertwined with pertinent stories of their discoveries, which makes reading the book an enjoyable, engaging experience.”
Physics Today (April 2016)

Questions and Answers with Shing-Tung Yau

Read “Questions and Answers with Shing-Tung Yau” in the April 11 issue of Physics Today.

Winner of the AAP 2016 “PROSE” Award in Chemistry & Physics

From the Great Wall to the Great Collider has been awarded the 2016 PROSE Award in the category of Chemistry & Physics.

The American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Awards) annually recognize achievements in professional and scholarly publishing. Presented by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the awards are given to distinguished books, journals, and electronic content in over 40 categories. The awards have been judged by a panel of peer publishers, librarians, and medical professionals since 1976. Each year, the publishers of winning books, journals and eproducts are recognized at the PSP Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

Steve Nadis on WBUR’s Cognoscenti

Read Steve’s October 2015 article Worlds Collide: In China’s Bid To Advance Physics, An Opportunity For Scientists Everywhere — now on Boston NPR news station WBUR’s Cognoscenti.

Visit the book’s web site

On the book’s dedicated web site at http://thegreatcollider.com, you can read more about From the Great Wall to the Great Collider and leave a comment on its blog.

About the Authors

Steve Nadis is a graduate of Hampshire College and a Contributing Editor to Astronomy and Discover magazines. He has written or contributed to more than two dozen books, including The Shape of Inner Space and A History in Sum (which were also written with Shing-Tung Yau). Nadis has served as a staff researcher at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a science journalism fellow at MIT, and a consultant to the World Resources Institute, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Harvard Mathematics and Physics Departments, and WGBH/NOVA. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Shing-Tung Yau is the William Caspar Graustein Professor of Mathematics and Professor of Physics at Harvard University, where he has served on the faculty since 1987. He is the winner of the Fields Medal, the National Medal of Science, the Crafoord Prize, the Veblen Prize, the Wolf Prize, and a MacArthur Fellowship. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Yau has received honorary degrees from ten universities. He is also the director of six mathematical institutes in China. Yau has written and edited more than twenty books and is the editor of numerous mathematics journals. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Pub. Date





Size, Etc.


List Price

2015 Oct





7” x 10”. Dust jacket.

In Print