Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The God Particle

The new breakthrough on the so-called “God Particle” could mean that the world will cease to exist billions of years from nw. Heck, I could’ve told you that in 1st grade. The whole story here contains the elusive Higgs boson particle, thought to be the main ingredient in “mass”; in other words the block upon which everything tangible rests. The most comical part of this whole experiment, at least for me, is the uncertainty which permeates all of their claims. Examine the quotes carefully and you will see that the latest claim is based on the previous inconclusive claim.

So, in essence, we now have proof that the earlier claim was erroneous, but in the right direction, thereby proving the latest claim, which, if you read the article all the way through ends with the assertion that “"It may be the universe we live in is inherently unstable, and at some point billions of years from now it's all going to get wiped out." Does that mean we should just stop working to make the world a better place?

I believe in science. I believe in Darwin and evolution. They make absolute sense to me. Carbon dating seems to be an accurate measure of the age of the objects which we find in archaeological digs the world over. All of those things yield a vast amount of knowledge which is of great value in understanding ourselves and how we got to be where we are today. But to spend time and money to prove that which is unprovable, and not even worthy of the result, is ludicrous.

What good is it to know that we will be unsustainable in billions of years? There is so much work to be done now in saving the planet from ourselves, and feeding the hungry; not to mention taking care of those who are physically ill; that the unproven “knowledge” of ultimate doom gained by these experiments is really worthless.

I used to sit and watch the Mercury and Gemini flights take off during our “race” to the Moon with great excitement. Nothing came of it. And we’re getting ready to go back, though no one has adequately explained to me what for.  I love science, and I believe in furthering man’s knowledge about his beginnings.

The Egyptians had the Book of the Dead and concentrated on the next life, thus speeding the decline of their empire. The Christians have the Apocalypse to look forward to, thus engendering a fight with the Islamics who share the same fatalistic view of humanity. Their course of action already has us on that path,  and making good time towards a future based on conjecture at best;  superstition at the worst. And now science has joined in on the chorus of doom and gloom.

Just as many millions of others around the world, I would love to know where we are heading. But first, I want to fix the here and now. And the atom smashing experiments; with their unfounded predictions of ultimate demise; leaving us only billions of years to exist, prove to me that we've still got plenty of time.

Here is the article which prompted me to write whatever it is that I just wrote;

A newfound particle discovered at the world's largest atom smasher last year is, indeed, the Higgs boson, the particle thought to give other matter its mass, scientists reported today (March 14) at the annual Rencontres de Moriond conference in Italy.

Physicists announced on July 4, 2012, that, with more than 99 percent certainty, they had found a new elementary particle weighing about 126 times the mass of the proton that was likely the long-sought Higgs boson. The Higgs is sometimes referred to as the "God particle," to the chagrin of many scientists, who prefer its official name.

But the two experiments, CMS and ATLAS, hadn't collected enough data to say the particle was, for sure, the Higgs boson, the last undiscovered piece of the puzzle predicted by the Standard Model, the reigning theory of particle physics.

Now, after collecting two and a half times more data inside the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) — where protons zip at near light-speed around the 17-mile-long (27 kilometer) underground ring beneath Switzerland and France — physicists say the particle is the Higgs. [In Photos: Searching for the Higgs Boson]

"The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is," said CMS spokesperson Joe Incandela in a statement.

Dave Charlton, ATLAS spokesperson agreed, the new results "point to the new particle having the spin-parity of a Higgs boson as in the Standard Model," referring to a quantum property of elementary particles.

To confirm the particle as the Higgs boson, physicists needed to collect tons of data that would reveal its quantum properties as well as how it interacted with other particles. For instance, a Higgs particle should have no spin and its parity, or the measure of how its mirror image behaves, should be positive, both of which were supported by data from the ATLAS and CMS experiments.

Even so, the scientists are not sure whether this Higgs boson is the one predicted by the Standard Model or perhaps the lightest of several bosons predicted to exist by other theories.

Seeing how this particle decays into other particles could let physicists know whether this Higgs is the "plain vanilla" Standard Model Higgs. Detecting a Higgs boson is rare, with just one observed for every 1 trillion proton-proton collisions. As such, the LHC physicists say they need much more data to understand all of the ways in which the Higgs decays.

From what is known about the particle now, physicists have said the Higgs boson may spell the universe's doom in the very far future. That's because the mass of the Higgs boson is a critical part of a calculation that portends the future of space and time. Its mass of 126 times the mass of the proton is just about what would be needed to create a fundamentally unstable universe that would lead to a cataclysm billions of years from now.

"This calculation tells you that many tens of billions of years from now there'll be a catastrophe," Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., said last month at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"It may be the universe we live in is inherently unstable, and at some point billions of years from now it's all going to get wiped out," added Lykken, a collaborator on the CMS experiment.

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