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IAN SAMPLE is an award-winning science correspondent at the Guardian newspaper in London. He has won several journalism prizes, including two from the Association of British Science Writers, which named him investigative journalist of the year in 2005. He joined the Guardian in 2003 after four years as a reporter, feature writer and news editor at New Scientist magazine. He has a PhD in biomedical science from Queen Mary, University of London. Born in Oxfordshire in 1970, he now lives in London.



Ian Sample's website

Featured titles

The Hunt for the God Particle


Shortlisted for the 2011 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books


Shows a keen eye for the personal equation, even while narrating large swatches of physics history… Sample’s exciting, easy-to-read narrative captures the collaboration, and competition, among the theorists – WALL STREET JOURNAL


A lively account… fine reportage… makes clear the sheer achievement of the scientists who have built the LHC – Graham Farmelo, GUARDIAN


A fast-moving narrative… a great scientific adventure – Frank Close, BBC FOCUS


A compelling work of popular science, full of mind-boggling ideas and a real sense of the excitement of scientific discovery – GUARDIAN 


Wondering what all the hype over the Higgs boson is about? Look no further… A hundred anecdotes bring the towering figures of particle physics and their key discoveries to life – NEW SCIENTIST


When the Higgs boson is discovered, it will be front page news, and this is the book that sets the stage. Ian Sample mixes cutting-edge science with behind-the-scenes stories to paint a compelling picture of one of modern science’s greatest quests – Sean Carroll, author of FROM ETERNITY TO HERE


A dramatic and gripping account of how one big idea has brought life and order to the Universe, sparking the greatest race science has ever seen, costing billions of dollars and involving the construction of the most complex machines ever made.


In the early 1960s, three groups of physicists, working independently in different countries, stumbled on an idea that would change physics and fuel the imagination of scientists for decades. That idea was the ‘God particle’, or Higgs boson. To find this elementary particle would be to finally understand the origins of mass – the last building block of life itself.


Weaving together the personal stories and intense rivalries of the teams of scientists searching for the particle, MASSIVE is a tale of grand ambition, transatlantic competition, clashing egos and occasionally spectacular failures. From the giant particle colliders built to further the scientists’ quest to the political fallout of budget blowouts and debates about whether the search might even destroy the Universe, it is an epic story of imagination, personal ambition, subatomic exploration and global significance. 


Drawing on his unprecedented access to Peter Higgs, the scientist after whom the particle is named, the award-winning science writer Ian Sample chronicles the science, culture and politics behind the multinational and multibillion-dollar quest to solve the mystery of mass. Until now, the story of the search has never been told. But with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Laboratory for Nuclear Research near Geneva, we may be on the cusp of discovering the God particle and with it the very origin of mass. Whichever way you look at it, this story is massive.


Publisher: Virgin (UK)/Basic (US)
Pub Date: 17 June 2010 (UK)/2 November 2010 (US) 
Length: 320 pages

All rights available excluding:
UK & Commonwealth, US, Greece (Travlos), Poland (Prószyński), Russia (Atticus/Azbooka)