Thursday, 5 July 2012

More Boson

The trouble with the Higgs Boson discovery - if that is what it is - is that, as someone on the radio this morning put it, rather eloquently, it completes a building that has no windows. That is to say, if it does indeed confirm and complete the Standard Model of the Universe, there may be nowhere left to go without stepping outside that model altogether - which, if it is indeed true, cannot (by definition) be done. Stephen Hawking was surely right to say, having hailed the breakthrough, 'It is a pity in a way, because the great advances in physics came from results we didn't expect.' Well, quite. And as the Standard Model apparently has nothing to say about the 96 percent of the Universe's matter that we cannot apprehend, let alone comprehend, this doesn't seem a very satisfactory state of affairs. Is it time, I wonder, for a paradigm shift? Not that I'm volunteering...


  1. Ah, science, the roar of the trial, the smell of the error.

  2. personally I'm all for wormholes

  3. Steady on Nige, the LHC's only just winding up. Who knows what new physics will appear at 14 Tev? Any sign of supersymmetry and a huge new fundamental branch of physics will be accessible.

  4. Good - I do hope things get interesting again...

  5. "We seem to live our lives in perfect indifference to the Standard Model of particle physics, the world we inhabit not only remote from the world it describes but different in detail, thank God."

    "Over there, fields are pregnant with latent energy, particles flicker into existence and disappear, things are entangled, and no one can quite tell what is possible and what is actual, what is here and what is there, what is now and what was then. Nothing is stable. Great impassive symmetries are in control, as vacant and unchanging as the eye of Vishnu. Where they come from, no one knows. Time and space contract into some sort of agitated quantum foam. Nothing is continuous. Nothing stays the same for long except the electrons, and they are identical, like porcelain Chinese soldiers. A pointless frenzy prevails throughout."

    "Over here, space and time are stable and continuous. Matter is what it is and energy does what it does. There are solid and enduring shapes and forms. There are no controlling symmetries. The sun is largely the same sun now that it was four thousand years ago when it baked the Egyptian deserts. Changes appear slowly, but even when rapid, they appear in stable patterns. There is dazzling variety throughout. The great river of time flows forward. We anticipate the future, but we remember the past. We begin knowing we will end."

    "The God of the Gaps may now be invited to comment--strictly as an outside observor, of course. He is addressing us. And this is what He has to say: You have no idea whatsoever how the ordered physical, moral, mental, aesthetic and social world in which you live could ever have arisen from the seething anarchy of the elementary particles."

    "It is like imagining sea foam resolving itself into the Parthenon."

    --David Berlinski