This Little Higgy Gave Roast Beef Its Mass

OK. That sucks as a nursery rhyme. However, it is really cool science that they found the Higgs particle. Major kudos to Professor Peter Higgs for theorizing this decades ago and for his good luck in living to see the day the particle was found. Major kudos also to all of the theoretical and experimental scientists at CERN for working together to develop and run the experiments that finally found this elusive particle.

Higgs boson-like particle discovery claimed at LHC

And, for comic relief, here’s a related clip from the TV comedy The Big Bang Theory.

Now, if I could just convince people to stop calling this “the god particle”!

Unlike any god, the Higgs boson exists. Unlike any god, there is nothing magical or supernatural about the Higgs boson. The Higgs boson would kick God’s ass, were God to exist and have an ass to kick. However, I should state that it would not be a fair fight. The Higgs boson is literally infinitely more massive than any god, even at a mass of just 126 GeV.

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32 Responses to This Little Higgy Gave Roast Beef Its Mass

  1. Rodnikov Magillovich says:

    Am I correct in my recollection that the LHC has not been energized to its full capacity, yet? And if so, do they plan to carry on testing at another higher energy level to see what happens, ie. does this new particle still appear, and at roughly the same Ge V ?

  2. You are correct. The LHC is not at full power yet. It’s currently at 4TeV per beam. It is expected to reach full energy late in 2014.

    http://press.web.cern.ch/press/PressReleases/Releases2012/PR01.12E.html

    Of course, the Higgs was not the only intent of the LHC. Dark matter particles are a possibility. Kaluza-Klein particles are a possibility. Supersymmetric particles are a possibility. The complete unknown is a possibility. They are also still searching to see how the Higgs behaves, i.e. what it decays into.

    So, yes, they will continue to collide particle beams now that the Higgs has been found.

  3. buckeyenonbeliever says:

    Scott, I could live with the Higgs bosen being called the God particle with a little tweak: “G.O.D. particle” …………….

    G – God
    O – Obviously
    D – Disappears

  4. Cerberus says:

    Hi Scott, buckeye,

    Since the babble is nothing but a work of fiction, why not add another character to the name of their so-called god?

    Gullom’s
    Obsessed
    Drivel. Or God.

    “My precious! “

  5. Good ones buckeyenonbeliever and Cerberus. But, for God to disappear, S/He would first have to exist. So, I’m going with Gollum. Yessss … my precioussssss!!

    One particle to rule them all.
    One particle to find them.
    One particle to bring them all and in the darkness give them mass?

  6. Here’s an amusing and well-thought-out take on the god-awful name god particle to mean the Higgs boson.

    http://ffrf.org/news/blog/the-god-particle-one-less-place-to-hide/

  7. Rodnikov Magillovich says:

    Here is a link to an interesting article this morning:

    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1223002–higgs-boson-explains-a-lot-about-nothing

    This still leaves a lot to wrap ones head around!

    • Yes. But, we have less missing than we had before. Every advance helps in our understanding of the universe in which we live.

      Are you saying that the article added to your confusion or merely didn’t erase it all?

      • Rodnikov Magillovich says:

        Specifically, I don’t get the concept that one sub-atomic particle can give numerous others mass, aka gravity! Charged particles, OK, very light high speed neutral particles, OK, but how can a HIggs Boson add mass/gravity to Protons, Neutrons, et al? Neutrinos, I get, and Electrons, but Quarks that is beyond my comprehension!

      • It’s actually not the particle that gives other particles their masses. It’s the field. For every field, there is expected to be a particle. Finding the Higgs particle provided direct evidence of the existence of the Higgs field.

        Electrons and neutrinos are elementary particles, having no known sub particles. The proton and neutron are composite particles, being composed of three quarks each. If you can get the concept of splitting the atom, the proton and neutron are not a big reach from there.

        The way in which the Higgs field gives particles their masses can be thought of as slowing them down. So, as a field of mud would slow us down on our travels, so too does the Higgs field slow down particles on theirs. By doing so, it creates the effect of mass, making it harder to push these objects.

        So all of “empty” space is mud. Clear as mud?

      • Rodnikov Magillovich says:

        Yes, that makes more sense. But the mention of turning the HIggs Field off, does not! A magnetic field does not turn off, but an electromagnetic field does when you cut the power to the windings in the magnet. The difference between Protons and Neutrons is the valence charge or lack there of.
        There has to more that needs to be described in mathematical equations covering the HIggs Field, now that it has been tentatively shown to exist. I should live so long to see it, but will I understand it? Not likely!

  8. Rodnikov Magillovich says:

    Here is another article regards the Higgs Boson:
    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/scientists-speculate-higgs-boson-discovery-could-light-speed-170349538.html
    -I sort of get this concept, except for “Turning it off”!
    -and now the Neutrinos at faster than light are not so far fetched!
    after all! But I won’t hold my breathe waiting for Warp Speed
    Travel, Scotty! I am already too fragile to be beamed up!

  9. Rodnikov Magillovich says:

    Here is another interesting aspect to this developing story:
    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1224265–higgs-boson-india-feels-snubbed-that-scientist-bose-not-getting-enough-credit-in-god-particle-find
    What else lurks in the shadows and laboratory wings?

    • Bose does deserve a Nobel prize for his work on subatomic particles. However, not mentioning him at the addition of yet another boson does not seem to be snubbing him. In fact, at least w can see that in the naming of all bosons, Bose is recognized for his contribution. Posthumously awarding him a Nobel though would be the recognition he deserves, regardless of whether he is explicitly mentioned with regards to the Higgs.

  10. Rodnikov Magillovich says:

    Update: Here is an additional article on this story:
    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/scientists-speculate-higgs-boson-discovery-could-light-speed-170349538.html
    All very speculative at this time!

    • This blog post, in addition to being highly speculative, is also a bit loose with terms. One cannot “turn off” a particle. One may be able to counteract a field like the Higgs with an equal and opposite field. But, the idea of turning off a field that one did not turn on but rather is part of empty space, seems inaccurate.

      For travel, it seems to me that we’d do better working on opening up worm holes. We could either create them with about 400,000 times the total power of all generators on earth today, or we could warp space and time and punch holes through it to give the appearance and effect of faster than light travel. This would be very roughly like pulling a long runner in a hallway toward you while running over it, thus getting to the end of the rug much faster than one’s own running speed.

      Both of these options are within the laws of physics as we know them but way beyond our current capabilities. These seem speculative enough to me at present without having to “turn off” the Higgs field. They also allow for effective faster than light travel rather than “mere” light speed travel.

  11. Rodnikov Magillovich says:

    The only problem is that the Nobel Prize is never awarded post humously, pity!

  12. Rodnikov Magillovich says:

    I concur 100%!
    [am back @ my home bunker! 2 1/2 hours and did not break the cruise control except for a 10 min. break @ Trfalgar Rd. Tim Hortons coffee shop! night driving is coller and less hassle!]

    • Cruise control rocks! I even wrote a mediocre blog post about it four years ago.

      Dare to Cruise

      And, I agree about night driving. I didn’t think I would until one trip that my wife and I took to Florida by car. We were planning to find a motel for the night. But, at every given point, one of us was awake to keep driving … so we did. We got there earlier and probably no less rested by each of us getting whatever sleep we needed while the other was driving. And, yes, there was little or no traffic. Just lock the cruisebot on our preferred speed and go.

      Even a relatively quick stop at a motel would have required us to minimally unpack, shower, change, and feel pressured to get back on the road, cutting sleep a bit short. Without the stop, we got into Sanibel Island in the early afternoon instead of late in the evening, showered, found dinner, had a bit of time to scout out trailheads and canoe launches, and even saw some good birds while doing so.

      I don’t know if we could do that for a cross country drive, which we’re considering at some point. 25 hours without a shower is one thing. 50 would be another. But, in our old camry, driving probably burned as much fuel on a long trip as flying, assuming the plane is full. In our prius, the balance is way tipped toward lower carbon footprint for driving. And, we get to have our canoe in the trunk.

  13. Rodnikov Magillovich says:

    Living out on the Big Road in a Big Truck [sleeper bunk equipped], you learn how to go 2 and 3 days between showers and still maintain some semblance of personal hygene.
    -keep the A/C cranked
    -use those medicated wipes called Wet Ones
    – plan your logging/fuelpurchases accordingly [free shower / 100+galllons of diesel]
    -run engine+A/C overnight while in the bunk asleep [complete chg of clothes for sleeping]
    Remember that about 9% of North America lives this way for weeks and sometimes months at a time. Longest I did was 5 weeks pedalling between Winnipeg and East Chicago and back with the backhauls going to Thunder Bay. Lots of truck stop meals, plus a few groceries from stores kept in a cooler bungied to the passenger’s seat. This is the other reason to keep the A/C cranked, is that those coolers only chill down from the internal ambient temperature by about 30 degrees, so if the ambient is too high then your perishables will not last! [I could reach inside the cooler and retrieve a cheese mini-slab or pepperette with out taking my eyes off the road! distracted driving, not! And you learn to take a swig of coffee or soda with minimal loss of road view, too!
    But it is well advised to adhere to the 1 1/2 to 2 hour break from driving to check tires, brakes. lights,etc. for a relief from the noise and vibration. My half pint bladder [literally] ensured that!
    You can legally do 1100Kms [660 miles] between your mandatory sleep breaks, but teams can go on until they reach the max. hours in 8 days.
    Extended driving SAFELY requires a combination of learning, training, experience, and developing the body’s tolerances. I could not team well [chain as they call it] because I could not sleep properly in a moving vehicle, plus I hate waking up in some place other than where I went to sleep [it is disorienting!]. You also have to get up and be functional for Customs Inspections at the borders. Never mind the worry about how safe your team mate drives!
    Summer driving always had the additional stress of coping with vacation car drivers that were not road experienced, often lost or confused, with over loaded vehicles, or unsafe towing. Night driving after those idiots are off partying was the solution plus the blazing Sun drains everyone!
    As for Carbon footprint(s). Everything you wear, eat, and play with was delivered by a Big Truck, and may also have been aboard a ship, train or plane, too! The solution to that is Hydrogen, but not everyone sees it, plus the danger is far higher!

  14. Thank you for the reminder of why our fuel prices need to quadruple.

    Leave the engine on a big rig running just to run the A/C to avoid paying for a shower? If that makes economic sense, we’re not valuing things correctly.

    How many gallons of fuel per night does this burn?

    Wouldn’t a small generator for the A/C and a mini-fridge be better?

    Wouldn’t buying local, or closer to it, be a lot better than shipping?

    Oh, and hydrogen is not a fuel. It is a battery, meaning a way to store energy, not to generate it. Anyone who says hydrogen is the answer needs to be very specific about where the hydrogen is coming from. Unlike oil, big reserves of hydrogen are not found underground. Separating hydrogen from oxygen in water takes more energy than it returns. So, a solar powered hydrogen plant might make sense. But, then we need to ship hydrogen, which is dramatically harder to ship than natural gas, so much so that it probably doesn’t make economic sense even once the hydrogen is separated from the oxygen.

    • Rodnikov Magillovich says:

      Good point. That is what is now in use in the newer units. The fuel consumption os not that much overnight, around 1.0 to 1.7 gallons, but it increases engine wear, plus lube oil contamination. The vibration is what helps you get a better night’s sleep in two ways: it massages the bunk bed, and the noise covers up the noise of your transient neighbors comings and goings!
      There were truck stops with a fresh air supply for sale that is piped into the cab through a large flexible duct through the passenger window. I hated that idea, as you depend on the facility to protect the air quality from contamination and sabotage!

      • I wouldn’t trust that air supply either. But I’d trust parking a bit away from other trucks, especially those idling all night, and opening the windows, possibly with the addition of a small but fairly powerful fan. I rarely use air conditioning at home, mostly when company comes over. We were away for some of the worst of the heat wave, but were here for a significant piece of it and have not yet turned on the A/C at all this year. On the road, we have no choice due to actually being in a greenhouse when in a car. Surprisingly, I’ve not seen a difference in gas mileage due to A/C in the prius. I think the greater efficiency of the hybrid system at warmer temps outweights the costs of the air conditioning.

  15. Rodnikov Magillovich says:

    Regards buying products and food from more local sources. That is not realistic, nor economical. All Winter fresh veggies/fruit are shipped quicker and more economically by truck than rail all over the whole continent. Both rail and air freight just don’t cut it! If we switched to Hydrogen, that too does not cut it economically, either!
    The electrical grid will soon benefit by both solar panels and wind turbines, but transportation is a tougher nut to crack. Wind turbines are getting much resistance from many here in Canada, that claim they are a health hazard to those living near by!

    • For around 199,930 years or so, the 3,000 mile salad and 8,000 mile fruit were not an option and humanity survived and expanded our range. We always locally until very recently.

      I agree it is not realistic these days. However, it is not only economical, it will be extremely necessary to do so again as the extremely unsustainable global economy completely and utterly collapses.

      Already, food production is declining globally due to climate change.

      Our economy may already be being pushed to the limits. Perhaps the global recession we’re in is the start of the collapse. Perhaps we will temporarily recover. But, an economy founded on growth on a finite planet cannot continue. A global economy that is founded on stealing local resources from poor people around the world to feed the wealthy individuals of Europe, North America, and Japan is not going to continue.

      It can’t.

      I don’t mean that it shouldn’t for moral reasons, though certainly that is true as well. I mean that it physically can’t continue. We’re running far too short on planetary resources to keep up the economy of maximal waste.

      Check this out regarding the wastefulness of developed nations.

      http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/07/trash-charts-world-bank-report-economy

      Remember, that which is unsustainable is not going to keep happening.

  16. Rodnikov Magillovich says:

    Now I need to enlighten you! NEVER leave your vehicle unlocked with windows open at night! Park amongst others of your own kind, so as to not stand out! You would be surprised at the number of theives, hookers, and others who would rob you blind or stab you for just the food in your cooler and the coins in your pocket! Truck thefts are also a major consideration. If you have a load aboard which invoices at a million plus and your rig at a quarter to a third of million, that is more than enough incentive!
    I have known guys who have one or two pets aboard, everything from Pitbulls to Boas!
    Rule number one around big trucks: Never step up onto the running board with out first asking permission! You may sudenly have a large caliber stuck into your left nostril! Some of the owner operators have spent huge amounts of $ and effort into pimping their rig out, so it is part of their ego and persona if you get what I am implying! I have been told stories that I can’t verify and would not relate on line either about what some guys claim to have done, especially in some neighborhoods not very far from your domicile!
    It is a whole different world out there on the asphalt jungle!

    • Ack. Good point. Clearly, I’ve never done your job.

      So, is there no way to let in a bit of air? I think I’d hate any job that required me to stay in lockdown all night without a bit of fresh air. Do you worry about carbon monoxide? Or, do you leave the A/C vents open (i.e. not on recirculate)? Is that enough?

      Has anyone ever “pimped their rig” to include retractable steel bars that can be raised for the night allowing windows to be open? That’s probably be my first kluge to fix the problem. That or a roof that could be opened with bars preventing entry.

      Or, never mind. I think I’ll avoid driving a big rig anyway. That should keep everyone else on the road a metric fuckton safer.

  17. Rodnikov Magillovich says:

    You are right, I have seen the odd tractor with barred windows. But that is false security. There are those who can break and enter smooth and quietly while you are asleep! I won’t divulge on line!
    I have also been told of some of the revenge that drivers have taken. One guy stopped in Chicago to use a payphone [that is a while ago!] he watched as a pick up truck stopped and 3 Blacks proceeded to rip the refrigerator back door off and had several sides of beef into the pick up by the time he retrieved his sawed off 12 gauge plus proceeded to execute 2 of them. He did phone the cops who came and apologized for not being able to recommend him for a medal! His load was now compromised, so it was taken to the cop shop where it was kept as evidence. He claims he did not get charged, plus he never knew if the 3rd perp was ever found!
    Then there was the black owner op. who wiped an attempted hijacker off his running board using a power pole. He then had to get a new mirror assembly, proceed to his delivery point in Philly, with the promise to return to Joisey to fill out an accident report! He too was of the impression he would not be charged, since the dead perp had a hand gun which was recovered. That driver saved his own life with quick thinking and the use of a light pole!
    It is a rough life out there, but I survived it like I had horse shoes where the Sun don’t shine!
    With the A/C running, you always have the bunk side vents popped to vent out you stale air. One other point you would not realize is that those big block diesels throw a lot of heat, and the excess fuel is recirculated back to the tanks is also hot. Then in this high humidity, one needs good A/C for proper alert driving. Commercial Drivers typically are concentrating on the what happens 3 to 4 times further ahead than four wheelers do! It takes conditioning and experience to be proficient, safe, and economical! Getting lost or turning onto restricted roads can cost you a lot more than just a fine! Remember next time that you are in the grocery store, it all arrived by trucks, often it was trans-docked, too! It is a total false dream that our society can survive by using railroads!

    • Regarding trucks vs. railroads, neither will continue in the volumes they are today. Nor will container ships. They simply can’t. We must move to a stable economy not founded on never ending growth and also largely founded on local production.

      Again, that which is unsustainable is not going to keep happening.

      This is true for never ending population growth and for never ending economic growth. We live on a finite planet. Never Never Land does not exist. A tremendous amount of changes are coming soon. Most we will not like.

      How soon is soon?

      I’m not that good a prognosticator. But, population continues to grow. Food production has already begun to decline due to climate change. Ocean fisheries began their decline in total world production in the mid 1980s.

      http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/07/conventional-agriculture-nor-ready-climate-change

      Do the math. More people. Less food.

      Then we can talk about all of the other imminent catastrophes, most of which are directly caused by burning fossil fuels. Enormous container ships may be our most fuel efficient means of transporting goods. But, not transporting them halfway around the world is far better. So is not transporting them cross-country.

  18. Rodnikov Magillovich says:

    First off, being correct is not only unfashionable, but just a bit more than dangerous. When serious food shortages occur, expect more crime, and eventually rioting. It will not be a pretty picture when the balance tips! When this does occur, expect the Regressive Preservatives in charge to become brutal and more autocratic!
    We are seeing the early edges of it here in TO [Toronto Ontario]. Last night at a big free food BBQ, two perps began a shoot out with hand guns. Two innocent bystanders dead, 19 injured by bullets, plus numerous others injured in the stampede! [only one perp in custody as I write].
    So much for Stevie Harpoid’s Tough on Crime legislation. It don’t work and can’t since jail sentences are not a deterent. This is un Canadian activity which deserves stripping of their citizenship and permanent exile to a wee Arctic Island in Hudson’s Bay! We the People are being dissed muver lickers! Time to call in the troops!

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