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Do we have a Higgs sighting?
Old 07-02-2012, 01:06 PM   #1
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Do we have a Higgs sighting?

Rumors are flying in particle physics circles that CERN will announce strong evidence for the Higgs Bosun at a conference on July 4th. I know some of the gear heads around here have been waiting on pins and needles so I wanted to get the thread started.
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:11 PM   #2
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Oh my g*d.
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:32 PM   #3
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In this economy and political climate, people will ask what this Higgs's proposal is, regarding reduction of health care costs.
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
In this economy and political climate, people will ask what this Higgs's proposal is, regarding reduction of health care costs.
Grasshopper has it -- it's the God particle. If it exists and we can harness it disease will be a thing of the past and we can forget about health insurance.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:55 PM   #5
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In this economy and political climate, people will ask what this Higgs's proposal is, regarding reduction of health care costs.
Probably too much inertia for that... We'll have to wait and see what the mass involved in this field does.
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:46 PM   #6
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Speaking as a person whose non cola pension comes from the world's largest defense contractor - I love taxpayer funded stuff - both national and international.

So get that thar G particle!

heh heh heh - To snarky or not to snarky that is the question.
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:49 PM   #7
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This must be some obscure Navy variant?

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strong evidence for the Higgs Bosun
Higgs boson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:16 PM   #8
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This must be some obscure Navy variant?

Amethyst



Higgs boson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:34 AM   #9
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This must be some obscure Navy variant?

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Got me.
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Old 07-04-2012, 05:34 AM   #10
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Yes, this has been confirmed a few minutes ago at the CERN.
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Originally Posted by donheff
Rumors are flying in particle physics circles that CERN will announce strong evidence for the Higgs Bosun at a conference on July 4th. I know some of the gear heads around here have been waiting on pins and needles so I wanted to get the thread started.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:33 AM   #11
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I have to rant.

Let's face it, this particle is a big jobs project for physicists (full disclosure: I am a member of the American Institute of Physics).

There is no known benefit to mankind to knowing anything about this particle. This is just filling in a number in a table. Period. It will keep some high energy physicists employed, but there are better ways to keep people employed. (I realize there is a trickle-down jobs effect: construction workers, administrateive assistants, journalists, advertising agencies, etc).

Frankly, I am dismayed that journalists and media have contributed to the propaganda and given no reason why we even need to know why this particle exists.

Please tell me how this will help mankind in the future. This stuff is the most esoteric and useless bit of knowledge that should have be left to future generations to work on if they wanted to.

Example: BBC News writes:

Quote:
A confirmation that this is the Higgs boson would be one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the century; the hunt for the Higgs has been compared by some physicists to the Apollo programme that reached the Moon in the 1960s.
This is unfair to Apollo. This is stated without any supporting data at all. Please tell me why "this ... would be one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the century; ..."

Hint: Big scientific discoveries end up in text books of elementary school-age kids. I don't think Higgs boson will appear in text books any time soon.

So I just want real reasons why this is important at all. Really. Thanks. It sure seems like an Emperor's New Clothes story to me.

And while you are at it, tell me what causes gravity and how it works.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:41 AM   #12
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So I just want real reasons why this is important at all.
Frankly, I have absolutely no idea. Stuff like that is admittedly way over my head.

But I also know the first airplane had little practical value, as was the case with the first laser, the first rocket (which later made GPS navigation possible) and the list of esoteric discoveries and inventions that later had very practical applications could go on and on.

Which is why I still think it is at the least interesting, possibly exciting, and I think basic research is worth the effort.

Who knows? We may yet get a transporter beam out of it.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:55 AM   #13
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C'mon, airplanes and rockets had practical value from the get-go. I am not saying that basic science has no place in the world. I am a scientist. Most scientists have learned to justify what they do by how it benefits mankind even if only in a peripheral way. They would not get the money to do what they if they could not write a justification. These Higgs boson folks have not done that at all.

NPR has a Q&A with this:
Quote:
If everything they find is in line with the Standard Model, it'll feel like a dead end.
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Old 07-04-2012, 07:48 AM   #14
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Isn't H-B just about finding the lost weight in an atom? Look Hon I found another microgram of matter.
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:27 AM   #15
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Well I am not a member of the American Institute of Physics, but today's findings validate the Standard Model, correct ? This to me is worth the big news unless I am missing something.
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Originally Posted by LOL!
I have to rant.

Let's face it, this particle is a big jobs project for physicists (full disclosure: I am a member of the American Institute of Physics).

There is no known benefit to mankind to knowing anything about this particle. This is just filling in a number in a table. Period. It will keep some high energy physicists employed, but there are better ways to keep people employed. (I realize there is a trickle-down jobs effect: construction workers, administrateive assistants, journalists, advertising agencies, etc).

(...)

So I just want real reasons why this is important at all. Really. Thanks. It sure seems like an Emperor's New Clothes story to me.

.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:01 AM   #16
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CERN is where the World Wide Web was conceived. Think that made a difference?
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:12 AM   #17
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Lol - you can certainly argue about whether the mega billions spent on the LHC is a worthwhile expenditure (the US has largely abandoned huge expenditures on manned space exploration as a warranted expenditure). The US decided not to go all out to compete for this collider and I don't really care. But confirmation of the long predicted key missing piece of the Standard Model is a big deal regardless whether you think the money was wasted.
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:37 AM   #18
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I've been reading the news articles all over the web this morning. I cannot find a single one that describes why this information is important to know. They all pretty much say, "This is important to know because it is important." Or, "This is a big deal because this is a big deal." All I am asking is "Why?"

With no answer to Why? that means to me that there is no reason to know this. At the moment, we could have just as easily simply said, "The Higgs boson exists as predicted" and we would be at exactly the same point we are right now, but without spending any money.
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:55 AM   #19
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I've been reading the news articles all over the web this morning. I cannot find a single one that describes why this information is important to know. They all pretty much say, "This is important to know because it is important." Or, "This is a big deal because this is a big deal." All I am asking is "Why?"

With no answer to Why? that means to me that there is no reason to know this. At the moment, we could have just as easily simply said, "The Higgs boson exists as predicted" and we would be at exactly the same point we are right now, but without spending any money.
Well, I am not a scientist so my "whys" don't hold much value. Nevertheless, even I can see that confirmation to 5 sigma of such a fundamental missing component will allow the particle physics and cosmology communities to fine tune their focus going forward. Lets face it, for the average Joe you could say the same thing about experiments confirming the quantum nature of light early in the last century (i.e. why is important for me to know, not is the search worth the cost).
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:47 AM   #20
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Well I am not a member of the American Institute of Physics, but today's findings validate the Standard Model, correct ? This to me is worth the big news unless I am missing something.
One of the funny things about physics is that the really interesting bits are things that violate theory, like finding something that doesn't fit the Standard Model. These things are interesting, specifically because they point out Things We Don't Know, new unknown areas that could lead to really interesting (and potentially useful) stuff.

I think I'd be more excited if something unexpected was found.

A great example of this from 100 years ago was the phenomena called Rutherford Scattering.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutherford_scattering
Quote:
The initial discovery was made by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden in 1909 when they performed the gold foil experiment under the direction of Rutherford, in which they fired a beam of alpha particles (helium nuclei) at layers of gold leaf only a few atoms thick. At the time of the experiment, the atom was thought to be analogous to a plum pudding (as proposed by J.J. Thomson), with the negative charges (the plums) found throughout a positive sphere (the pudding). If the plum-pudding model were correct, the positive "pudding", being more spread out than in the current model of a concentrated nucleus, would not be able to exert such large coulombic forces, and the alpha particles should only be deflected by small angles as they pass through.

However, the intriguing results showed that around 1 in 8000 alpha particles were deflected by very large angles (over 90), while the rest passed straight through with little or no deflection. From this, Rutherford concluded that the majority of the mass was concentrated in a minute, positively charged region (the nucleus) surrounded by electrons. When a (positive) alpha particle approached sufficiently close to the nucleus, it was repelled strongly enough to rebound at high angles. The small size of the nucleus explained the small number of alpha particles that were repelled in this way. Rutherford showed, using the method below, that the size of the nucleus was less than about 10−14 m (how much less than this size, Rutherford could not tell from this experiment alone; see more below on this problem of lowest possible size).
Atoms got structure! This opened up the study of the electron structure of atoms, the quantum nature of electron orbitals (which had a big impact on chemistry), and led to the whole realm of quantum and nuclear physics.
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