2012-07-04

HIGGS!

Today is Independence Day for the United States of America. But more importantly, today was the day that the Large Hadron Collider announced the discovery(ish, because more experiments have to be done to verify its other properties) of the Higgs boson!
This is HUGE! It's an amazing vindication of the Standard Model of particle physics as it stands today, and it should be the last nail in the coffin of the old trope I have heard frequently that there is no new interesting research to be done in physics. So with that in mind, happy Independence Day, but more importantly, HAPPY HIGGS DAY!!!

4 comments:

  1. Joseph John Thompson, according to Wikipedia, on 30 April 1897 suggested some properties for the particles he called "corpuscules" -known later as electrons- and was awarded the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics for it (among other things actually). During those nine years lots of experiments confirmed, verified, and reaffirmed what Thompson "suggested". Now we get to know a certain "suggestion" regarding something called "Higgs boson" and, within seconds, the whole wide world is aware of it and, somehow, this awareness confers some kind of truthfulness to the news, which is certainly not true; there is now an unknown span of experiments to be done to confirm whatever truth is behind the announcement, if it exists. As was the case with Thompson, we will remember this date only after its announcements are confirmed, verified and reaffirmed, not less.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @hexram: I certainly agree that the discovery of the Higgs boson would be even more of a triumph if all of the predictions about it (i.e. not just its existence and mass) do pan out. That said, theoretical physics has advanced far beyond the late 19th century when it was common for theories to form after experiments, so that's why given how fundamental the Higgs boson is to the Standard Model, it's incredibly exciting to see something even as basic as it being found with the predicted mass; plus, although this isn't a scientific reason to get excited, governments and other organizations have poured so much money and time into CERN and the LHC that it's great to see these kinds of results, no matter how basic they may be. Anyway, thanks for the comment!

      Delete