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Author Topic: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'  (Read 1233 times)

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Online OniyaTopic starter

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'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« on: July 04, 2012, 12:51:33 PM »
(Apologies to Lewis Carroll, but the ability to pun 'Hunting of the Snark' is such an opportunity.)

Okay, they're still polishing up the fine details, but I got word on my newsfeed that the folks at CERN have made an important new discovery.

http://news.yahoo.com/scientists-unveil-milestone-higgs-boson-hunt-044513533.html

Quote
"If I were a betting man, I would bet that it is the Higgs. But we can't say that definitely yet. It is very much a smoking duck that walks and quacks like the Higgs. But we now have to open it up and look inside before we can say that it is indeed the Higgs."
- Best.  Quote.  Ever.

The Higgs boson is a particle that has been theoretical up until now, explaining why some particles (protons, neutrons) have mass, and others (photons, gluons) do not.  Finding the Higgs could explain why the universe has solid matter in it at all, and didn't spew everything out into a simple sphere of light-speed particles at the moment of the Big Bang.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 07:56:33 PM by Oniya »

Offline Vekseid

Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a bosun, you see.'
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2012, 05:33:00 PM »
I think it's spelled boson, bosun is short for boatswain >_>

Online OniyaTopic starter

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Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2012, 07:56:00 PM »
Oh bugger.  *goes to fix*  This is what happens from trusting spell-check.

Offline Jude

Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2012, 10:32:11 PM »
I'm disappointed because I like intrigue (was hoping the Higgs-Boson wasn't a real thing), but this is a huge victory for science.

The standard model predicted this years ago.  This result is the outcome of some seriously hard-working, ingenious individuals.

And it's always cool when our theoretical laws tell us how the universe should be ordered before we can look at that order and it turns out they were right.

Offline Sheol

Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2012, 06:52:57 AM »
A smoking duck :D that made me giggle hehe

Offline Trieste

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Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2012, 07:07:56 AM »
Hmmm. I wonder what this does for relativity. I made a couple physics-whizz friends of mine explain what was going on with CERN's research and they mentioned that it was in part to figure out whether the theory of relativity or the theories of quantum physics were correct - since the two don't match up entirely, it has been hypothesized that one or the other is a (very, very good) approximation.

If they establish that the HB definitively exists, if I followed correctly, it will then spark another look at relativity. I think.

Offline Sheol

Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2012, 07:20:00 AM »
Hmmm. I wonder what this does for relativity. I made a couple physics-whizz friends of mine explain what was going on with CERN's research and they mentioned that it was in part to figure out whether the theory of relativity or the theories of quantum physics were correct - since the two don't match up entirely, it has been hypothesized that one or the other is a (very, very good) approximation.

If they establish that the HB definitively exists, if I followed correctly, it will then spark another look at relativity. I think.

Yeah - its seems to be only consistent with special relativity - without gravity. Something to do with massless theory of particles being inconsistent with Higgs Boson as it gives mass. Interesting times.

Online OniyaTopic starter

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Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2012, 01:03:59 PM »
And the Internet jokes have started:


Offline Vekseid

Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2012, 10:23:47 PM »
Hmmm. I wonder what this does for relativity. I made a couple physics-whizz friends of mine explain what was going on with CERN's research and they mentioned that it was in part to figure out whether the theory of relativity or the theories of quantum physics were correct - since the two don't match up entirely, it has been hypothesized that one or the other is a (very, very good) approximation.

If they establish that the HB definitively exists, if I followed correctly, it will then spark another look at relativity. I think.

The Relativity<->QM tests often involve looking for things going haywire at extreme scales, such as differences in the how fast e.g. gravitational attraction and other forces change at extremely small distances, which might suggest extra physical dimensions on a very small scale. So they test various theories that have been proposed that call for these, and others besides, looking for evidence of e.g. Loop Quantum Gravity or String Theory.

Online OniyaTopic starter

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Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2012, 10:35:31 PM »
If I remember correctly, someone once proposed up to 11 dimensions in space-time.  I distinctly remember it was more than 8, because at one point in high school, there were three of us who kept trying to out-do each other in drawing representations of n-cubes (Hey - geeks gotta have crazy stunts, too!) and got to 8 before it degenerated into a hopeless tangle.

Offline Jude

Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2012, 10:44:44 AM »
I recall hearing Dr. Michio Kaku talk about the 11 dimension possibility.

One thing that is widely misunderstood about this Higgs-Boson discovery, I think, is that this isn't the end of the rabbit hole as far as physics goes.  There are far too many unanswered questions at this point, and just about everything we discover comes with a whole host of new quandaries to analyze.

I've heard people talking about it as if we've "finished" something.  Nope!

Online OniyaTopic starter

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Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2012, 11:03:01 AM »
I recall hearing Dr. Michio Kaku talk about the 11 dimension possibility.

One thing that is widely misunderstood about this Higgs-Boson discovery, I think, is that this isn't the end of the rabbit hole as far as physics goes.  There are far too many unanswered questions at this point, and just about everything we discover comes with a whole host of new quandaries to analyze.

I've heard people talking about it as if we've "finished" something.  Nope!

That's the amazing thing about science, in my opinion.  It may frustrate all the textbook writers, but knowing that there's always more to discover?  Bring it on!

Offline Vekseid

Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2012, 11:53:36 AM »
On the other hand, this does seem to be one of those rare points in science where we now have an answer rather than more questions.

This completes the standard model. Still, questions that clearly pertain to particle physics still remain e.g. wtf is dark matter.

Offline Sabby

Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2012, 01:01:51 PM »
And here come the crazies... who decided to call it the God Particle? Dx It's like they wanted the molotovs to hit the fan.

Online OniyaTopic starter

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Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2012, 01:44:44 PM »
I believe the whole 'God Particle' name came from the fact that if it hadn't existed, none of the particles created at the Big Bang would have developed mass.  Without mass, you have no gravitation.  Without gravitation, you don't have bits of matter sticking together (short of electromagnetic and nuclear forces).  The funny thing about gravity as a force is that it doesn't have a corresponding 'repeller' force.  Once you get bits sticking together under gravitation, they tend to get bigger as long as there is matter to collect.  Electromagnetic forces tend to balance each other out over time, and the nuclear forces are mostly effective at very short distances (hence, 'nuclear').

So, without bits sticking together, you don't get planets, much less stars.  Without planets and stars, you don't get life.  Ergo, without the Higgs boson, life could not have come into being.

Offline Sabby

Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2012, 01:52:46 PM »
I suspected it was something like that ^^' it's still an unfortunate name. Appropriate, but unfortunate.

Online OniyaTopic starter

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Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2012, 01:56:17 PM »
I'll agree with you on that - although I still like the pun of 'without me, you couldn't have mass.'  ;D

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2012, 08:29:34 AM »
That's the amazing thing about science, in my opinion.  It may frustrate all the textbook writers, but knowing that there's always more to discover?  Bring it on!

Maybe it frustrates the textbook writers, but it delights the textbook sellers. [/grumble]


On-topic....nifty. Now where can we take this for practical application, rather than more theoretical research? Will I be riding a Higgs Boson's chair up to a spaceship in my lifetime? ;)

Offline Flaming

Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2012, 05:21:57 PM »
who decided to call it the God Particle?

...Ergo, without the Higgs boson, life could not have come into being.

I know another story: in 1993 Leon M. Lederman wrote the book "The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?" which talks about particle physics.
His first intention was to call it the "goddamn" particle, because it was impossible to find and it was making physicists swear all around the world, but the publisher didn't agree on such title so they opted for something more polite.

Wikipedia reference
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_Particle:_If_the_Universe_Is_the_Answer,_What_Is_the_Question%3F

Offline Chelemar

Re: 'For the Higgs /was/ a boson, you see.'
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2012, 11:26:56 PM »
Quote
Scientists struggling to explain the theory have likened Higgs particles to a throng of paparazzi photographers; the greater the "celebrity" of a passing particle, the more the Higgs bosons get in its way and slow it down, imparting it mass; but a particle such as a photon of light is of no interest to the paparazzi and passes through easily - a photon has no mass.

Gives a whole new meaning to the term rock star!  ;D