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God’s particle – A boost for particle physics


There are points in the history of mankind that are never forgotten; three days ago such a moment happened. The DNA of the universe, the Higgs Boson, was finally found at CERN (World’s biggest particle-physics laboratory) to the delight of Peter Higgs (now 83) who first predicted the Higgs Boson back in 1964.

Peter Higgs 

The discovery makes sense of everything scientists currently believe, for without it there would be no mass. Without mass we wouldn’t have atoms and consequently no life. The Higgs Boson completes the Standard Model, which along with the general theory of relativity gives us the best explanation of the workings of the universe. The finding of the Higgs Boson has been a long time coming and was finally found using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in CERN, where protons were sent crashing into each other at the speed of light. It has taken so long so discover, because it was theorised that the Higgs Boson (by interacting with itself) would have a huge mass, which would consequently (using Einstein’s Theory’s) mean it would take a lot of energy to produce. The LHC provided the scientists with the power they needed, but they still didn’t know the mass of the Higgs Boson, so trial and error through countless experiments was needed. The hard work paid off though on the 4th July and helps justify the $10 billion it cost to build the LHC.

Showing the history of particle physics. Found at http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/07/daily-chart-1

However, contrary to the title of this article, a nick name given to the Higgs Boson, it does not explain the creation of the universe. In fact many are hoping the LHC can now help explain the biggest question mark in science right now, dark matter. The make-up of the universe as we know it is only accounted for by 4% matter. The rest is either dark matter or dark energy, which scientists know little about.  The Higgs boson’s discovery will now let scientists test out theories they hope will help explain such big question marks in the universe we live in.

Showing the make-up of the Universe.

The problem for particle physicists is that the discovery changes little in our society. It won’t change lives like Einstein’s theory of relativity which helped create nuclear weapons, or the discovery of DNA which lead to advances in modern medicine.

This helps explain the down fall in physics. Where once physicists  were key players in the running of the world (after giving governments the key to nuclear technology), they now live within tight budgets and experience little public interest in the discoveries they make. Particle physics has been overtaken by computer science and genetics in the science world, with both getting bigger budgets nowadays. This is especially true in the USA, where the Superconducting super collider was shut down last year (America’s version of LHC) as America allowed CERN to take the front seat in particle physics. In fact a planned mission into space in 2019 by America to study dark matter (discovered by America) will be launched by the European space agency instead, as NASA takes a minor role in a mission that was built up by the Americans themselves. When the biggest economy is the world isn’t taking particle physics seriously, you know there is something wrong.

The superconducting super collider, now shutdown. 

But the Higgs Boson’s discovery should pave way for new theories and explanations. It might not have any practical use right now, but the knowledge gained from the discovery should have a profound impact on the future of science. Indeed the Standard model which the Higgs Boson has now helped to complete is still rather flawed, and a better model could now be established in its place. There shouldn’t be a price on the knowledge of the universe; human beings should strive to know the inner workings of their surroundings. Discoveries could be made in the future that could benefit society, some could be made that make it worse, but regardless we should work towards knowing as much as we can about the laws of existence.

As a British Astrophysicist, Arthur Eddington once said: “Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine – it is stranger than we can imagine”.

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4 thoughts on “God’s particle – A boost for particle physics

  1. The U.S. turns its back on science at its own peril — unfortunately, the trend in education in the U.S. is to turn schools into narrow drill halls so that students have strong technical skills but no ability to think critically or independently. That fits the needs of business owners, but isn’t so good for a society as a whole. Nor does such a person make a good scientist.

    As long as the rest of the world continues to invest in science, and encourage the pursuit of scientific knowledge, humanity can continue to advance. The country that doesn’t is bound to fall behind. Good for the countries of Europe that scientific excellence remains a social commitment.

  2. My own thinking is that the world as a whole should take responsibility for Scientific discoveries. It shouldn’t be down to what is in the interest of each country but what is in the interest of human kind. But I doubt that will ever happen.

  3. You of course are correct that science is the common heritage of all humanity, and it does not matter where discoveries originate. But a country loaded with nuclear bombs that has turned its back on science and in which anti-intellectualism, xenophobia and intolerant religious fundamentalism hold sway over a large portion of the population is a danger to all of humanity. And when such a country turns away from scientific exploration, it leaves humanity with less resources to explore and discover. We in the U.S. have much work to do.

  4. Higgs Boson / “God Particle” -2012 Science news is actually a 150+ year old discovery by a different name ………………Infinite Intelligence….Steve Meyer / New Thought Movement / HolisticDNA

    The Sixth Sense Activation Sequence – GROUNDBREAKING New Book in 2012!

    “New Thought promotes the ideas that “Infinite Intelligence” or “God” is ubiquitous, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and “right thinking” has a healing effect…” Wikipedia

    Steve Meyer
    HolisticDNA@gmail.com

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