Skip to comments.Behind the Higgs: A primer on a long-sought boson
Posted on 07/25/2012 4:14:10 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
In 1964, physicist Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh proposed that the infant universe (as in, perhaps a trillionth of a second old) experienced... a phase transition. In much the way an iron bar can suddenly become a magnet when cooled below a certain temperature, space itself acquired a new feature. Instead of a magnetic field, space was filled with a new forcelike field -- since named for Higgs.
Other physicists worked out similar scenarios at about the same time, and later work showed how the Higgs phase transition could explain the distinct identities of two of nature's basic forces: electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force.
Before the Higgs field appeared in the vacuum, those two forces were one and indivisible. And all particles of matter and force carriers within the mathematical apparatus known as the standard model (shown) were massless. Afterward, particles of light, or photons, remained massless and propagated the force of electromagnetism. Weak force particles, and matter particles such as electrons and quarks, became massive...
Basically, particles moving through space are impeded by the presence of the Higgs field to a greater or lesser degree. Some, like photons, are not held back at all and therefore have no mass. But other particles chug through the Higgs field like bowling balls through mud, meeting resistance to their motion. Such resistance to motion (or more precisely, change in motion) is the very definition of inertia, which in turn is the very definition of mass.
With the Higgs field, physicists completed the standard model, which accurately describes the behaviors of all known particles and forces (except gravity)... Only one surefire method could verify the validity of the standard model: discovery of a particle -- the Higgs boson -- created out of the stuff of the Higgs field.
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencenews.org ...
what if it’s all a big hoax? A Higgs-hoax?
Technician Bob at the Large Hadron Collider.....
“I spilled my breakfast in the collider.”
“Crap! We discovered corn flakes again!”
“It’s OK. I forgot to plug it in anyway.”
Wow, I had trouble saying that three times fast...
Did finding the Higgs change anything, or confirm a theory?
Somebody back then had the bright idea that, if peer reviewers were anonymous and free from accountability, they would be more candid and more truthful. For about five decades, ...NSF, NASA and other agencies have been doing what no foreign adversary or terrorist organization has been able to do: They have been slowly and imperceptibly undermining American science, driving America toward third-world status in science. Secret, unaccountable reviews - frequently by one's competitors - give unfair advantage to reviewers who would falsely berate a competitor's proposal for research funds... The system has been to open to corruption for decades, and remains open to further corruption... There is a far, far more devastating consequence of secret, unaccountable reviews: Out of fear of being "denounced" in secret reviews, many scientists have become pale-gray, defensive, adopting only the consensus-approved viewpoint and refraining from discussing anything that might be considered a challenge to other's work or to the funding agency's programs. Political correctness is the order.Thanks FGS.
Ernest Lawrence, a pure experimentalist... said, "Don't you worry about it -- the theorists will find a way to make them all the same." -- Alvarez by Luis Alvarez (page 184)
I must reiterate my feeling that experimentalists always welcome the suggestions of the theorists. But the present situation is ridiculous... In my considered opinion the peer review system, in which proposals rather than proposers are reviewed, is the greatest disaster to be visited upon the scientific community in this century. No group of peers would have approved my building the 72-inch bubble chamber. Even Ernest Lawrence told me that he thought I was making a big mistake. He supported me because my track record was good. I believe U.S. science could recover from the stultifying effects of decades of misguided peer reviewing if we returned to the tried-and-true method of evaluating experimenters rather than experimental proposals. Many people will say that my ideas are elitist, and I certainly agree. The alternative is the egalitarianism that we now practice and that I've seen nearly kill basic science in the USSR and in the People's Republic of China. -- ibid (pp 200-201)
Whoops, I forgot to take out “Thanks FGS.” [blush]
Lettuce, Hoagie with Cheese.