Book Review: Smash! Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider by Sara Latta, Jeff Weigel

Smash! Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider is an informative graphic novel written by Sara Latta and illustrated by Jeff Weigel.Nick and Sophie, two cousins, are about to visit CERN for a tour of the mysteries of the cosmos. Sophie's a physics wiz. Nick, not so much. But by the time they're through, Nick and Sophie will both feel the power of hidden particles, fundamental forces, dark matter, and more. Ideas that are explored hinge on the question "What is the universe made of?" At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, scientists have searched for answers to this question using the largest machine in the world: the Large Hadron Collider. It speeds up tiny particles, then smashes them together, and the collision gives researchers a look at the building blocks of the universe. Our two characters explain and explore together.

Smash! Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider started off a little weak for me, because not everyone has a teen cousin with access to the Hadron Collider- or do they and I have just been missing out? Once I got past that little issue I was left trying to understand the science that Sophie is trying to explain to Nick. It starts off fairly simple, with ideas in physics that I already had a decent grasp on, but it progressed to ideas that I had to read a couple times to really feel like I had a grasp on. I think the graphic novel does a good job of introducing and explaining the information, and readers that are already enamored of science will greatly enjoy the read. I think it would be a wonderful resource for high school and even college courses that are covering these ideas, as a refresher or additional resources. I do think that it tries a little too hard to be cool, however those interested in the subject matter will be able to look past that, but it will make it less enjoyable for those reading the graphic novel for coursework of under and kind of duress (like teacher or parent suggestions).

Smash! Exploring the Mysteries of the Universe with the Large Hadron Collider is an interesting and informative read. I think young readers that have some interest in science, and physics in particular, will enjoy it the most.
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