Monday, July 2, 2012

Physicists shrink God to particle-size

Today’s big headline in the persistently shameless Washington Post:

Researchers to announce evidence of ‘God’ particle that explains universe

Not enough, apparently to call it the ‘God’ particle;  now it’s the particle “that explains the universe” (an almost nonsensical hyperbole); next time it’ll be the particle that explains the universe and cures cancer and does windows.
In short, more physics porn.

This story never dies, and never really changes.  Here’s a repost of our notice from 7 March 2012.

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Higgs-like odor detected

Crowds Go Wild

From today’s New York Times:

Physicists from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., say they have found a bump in their data that might be the long-sought Higgs boson,
Beate Heinemann, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has been deeply involved in analyzing data from the Large Hadron Collider, said recently of the CERN results, “This very much smells like the Higgs boson.” But, she noted, the signal could also go away when more data is obtained.

Those of you who enjoy hearing the thing (or the no-thing) called the “God particle”, can consult a more breathless account  in today’s Washington Post, still pandering away at the same stand.   (The downside to such a come-on is, should physics determine that there’s no Higgs after all…. You see the problem.)

The Higgs boson, you probably know, is the Official Subatomic Mascot of the media, doing yeoman work over the years and decades, by repeatedly being sought-for, and repeatedly failing to show up.  The Godot boson, we might dub it.  The whole process feels a little like the Republican Presidential primaries.
Exciting details here.

[Update, July 2012]  Some well-done and informative graphics here:

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