Talk:Higgs boson

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because of the recent announcement, I deleted the "scientists may announce as early as july 2012" bit and replaced it with what I hope is a relatively clear, concise update on the status of the research.--Guitarsniper 18:46, 4 July 2012 (EDT)


Somebody needs to figure out where, if anywhere, the capital letters go.

Higgs Boson? Higgs boson? Boson? bosun? You guys are all over the place on this one. JeffreyB 17:01, 10 July 2012 (EDT)

"Higgs" is a proper name of an individual, so it will be capitalized; "boson" (correct spelling) is the name of a thing/object, and it is not capitalized. Make any corrections to reflect this. Karajou 17:05, 10 July 2012 (EDT)

Is it real? Is it the Higgs?

I may be confused, but I think a recent edit may be wrong. I'm not an expert on this, and my knowledge comes from the popular press. But I thought that what they announced, with 5 sigma / 1 in a million possibility of being a fluke was that the blip in the data at 126 Gev is real, and hence that there is a particle in there. This was the announcement that was made with such fanfare on the 4th. The particle has the properties that the standard model predicts for the Higgs, that it decays into bottom quarks, etc. etc. This makes it very likely, but not 5 sigma likely, that it actually is the Higgs. So the announcement came in two parts -- it is a particle, for sure, and it is the Higgs, most likely. A recent edit went in the opposite direction. Since I'm not an expert, I'll defer to LucoDaw on this. But please have a second look at this issue. JudyJ 22:16, 11 July 2012 (EDT)

Scientists tend to avoid making conclusive statements when they're not sure. Unfortunately, "we think this might be the Higgs, assuming certain other conditions are met and we get more data" isn't as quotable in the popular press as "SCIENTISTS FIND GOD PARTICLE". There are other particles that the new data might represent, and THIS ARTICLE has a pretty good layman's overview of what other things the new discovery could be. Cheers!--Guitarsniper 12:28, 13 July 2012 (EDT)
I tend to agree with GuitarSniper here. I also abhor the name 'God particle'. It has nothing to do with god in any sense, I think it was poorly conceived, and perhaps intended as more a descriptor of its elusive and mysterious nature. I have yesterday's Nature Journal in front of me, however, and the news section is treating the discovery as the Higgs, effectively. A little bit of background is necessary here I think; they have discovered a new particle with an energy which the Standard Model predicts is within the acceptable range for a theoretically predicted particle. It was one of the few remaining energies to be explored, which I think is down to poor luck than anything else. Because of this, CERN would have been announcing either that it is does, or does not exist, very soon anyway. Not existing would have potentially been even more exciting news, as it would suggest the Standard Model was actually incomplete. I should point out, also, that the standard model is self-consistent, which means it seems to explain all the fundamental forces, except gravity, without needing any more elements. This is normally a sign of a solid candidate for a scientific theory. Many super-/string theories are also self-consistent, but the energies needed to test the hypotheses are unattainable at the moment, and may never be realized. The real goal in the search for the Higgs was to confirm the existence of the Higgs field, which all massive particles are believed to interact with in order to derive their mass. This is achieved by smashing protons together hard enough such that a quantized, discrete particle flys out of the mix. This is analogous to the photon being a quantisation of an electromagnetic field. The higgs field is effectively that which fills a vacuum, and is persistent across the whole universe. The probability of the data recorded being due to an as-yet uncharacterised particle, rather than random chance or noise, is 99.99996... etc percent. The scientists involved can only say the particle currently appears to be consistent with the theoretically predicted higgs boson. Work to determine the behaviour of the particle will be required now to confirm that is does do what is expected (and there are a few gaps in the knowledge relating to this too). The Standard Model of particle physics says this is the last piece of the jigsaw. but it isn't necessarily in reality, as there are many non-standard models that include other elements (it is too early to tell whether any of these hold any truth). Further, the behaviour could be discovered to be radically different from what we expect of the Higgs mechanism (the process by which matter is bestowed mass) - in which case, whether it should still be called the 'Higgs' boson would be largely a linguistic choice. The 5 sigma (standard deviations) of significance that the result was determined to be within is what, in the Particle Physics community, constitutes a confirmed new particle. This result was found by the ATLAS detector. The Large Hadron Collider determined it to within 4.5 sigma I believe. It is an exponential scale, so 5 sigma is an order of magnitude or so better than 4 sigma.
It is definitely fair to consider the particle 'discovered', and the Higgs is the most suitable name for it right now (and we need a name better than "a-particle-consistent-with-the-Higgs-boson-determined-to-5-sigma-accuracy. So I can say with what is effectively certainty, in this context, is that the Higgs exists. I will let someone else update the article in light of this information, I am not going to step on anybody's toes, I haven't made any reversions myself either. I have made the odd edit here and there, but on minor points. I can't really edit myself anyway due to the lack of night editing based on the server's own clock (I'm in Europe). Plus, I'm too tired to write in an encyclopaedic manner right now. Some simple scripting could potentially determine the user's localtime if the rule must be in place?
Judy, regarding the relativity page, I am going to leave it well alone on reflection. But I will make a few points about it while I have your attention. I don't want to wade in on that talk page really, so I'll explain a few things below and you can take away from it what you like. To stress to other readers, relativity and the Higgs boson are not closely related - I'm just digressing a little. You can view the relationship between the Higgs and relativity as follows: atoms (matter in general) interacts with the Higgs field, gaining mass through the exchange of 'virtual' particles (view this as an exchange of information), which then results in a tiny distortion in the geometry of space, (now we're in the realm of relativity - a seperate theory. The combination of these into one model would be wonderful), propagating out at (probably) the speed of light, which results in the mutual attraction of all objects within each others 'light cones' - which means, simply put, that light could have travelled that distance between the two objects since the creation of those atoms.
The Nobel committee never announce nominees for the Nobel prize. The first you hear of it is after you have won it. On that basis, the information about Robert Dicke being passed over due to his views on relativity, is going to have to be personal opinion, unless someone on the committee themselves wrote it! I tried to include this in the article, but had it reverted (?) - it is a fair statement. I can look up this information on the Nobel website if necessary. Robert Dicke devised the lock-in amplifier I originally trained in electronic engineering, and I acknowledge this was a very useful invention. I suppose it could be the view of someone in the field that he deserved it, but I have doubts that he rejected relativity himself. I couldn't find anything in the literature that really suggested that. In fact, he devised some very stringent tests for relativity (hey, that's what science is all about). I suppose this could be misconstrued as him disbelieving relativity, but in any case, when his tests were performed, relativity did pass them. I don't really understand why the two theories (general and special) are painted as so controversial on this website. In the very early days, many people had significant doubts about relativity (as you might expect, it was incredibly unorthodox thinking at the time). People mistakenly drew certain philosophical parallels with relativity, and it was met with widespread misunderstanding. It is a purely physical theory relating to the fact that agreements on velocity and time periods depends on the measuring devices inertial frames of reference. No conclusions about morality, the nature of life, or anything biological or theological, can be drawn from the theory of relativity, either general (inc gravity) or special (referring to reference frames not in the context of gravity)
Every model of reality in science is wrong. But some models are also useful. This is the nature of abstracting the real world into, in a platonic sense, a purely mathematical set of rules. Relativity is one of the useful models. I know the GPS argument has been had already, but rest assured it is due to a very very tiny degree of time dilation. As an interesting aside, the astronaut with the greatest calculated dilation was a Russian who has experienced in total <20ms less time than he would of had he stayed on the surface of Earth instead. Newton's inverse square law very closely approximates Einstein's equations, and in many cases they provide an adequate framework for calculations of gravity. So, Newton's model of gravity is also useful. Perhaps more useful - the equations are so much simpler to deal with, and in many cases are fine to use. Plutos orbit comes out slightly wonky with Newton's model of gravity though, as an example)
I saw one user discussing on the relativity talk page (or perhaps the counter examples of relativity talk page?), and the suggestion was that time dilation can be explained by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. A response to this statement by another user detailed the order of magnitude of difference it would really make. The calculation was basically correct numbers wise, but it can't actually be applied to time in this sense, as I understand it. The uncertainty principles refers to the notion that you cannot determine the momentum of a particle without changing it's position, and vice versa. The more accurately you know the position, the less accurately you can know the momentum. This only has an effect on extremely small scales. The ultimate goal of modern physics is to unite gravity with quantum mechanics, so, as was suggested in the talk page, if the effects of special relativity (with no gravity) can be expressed in terms of Heisenberg's and Schrodinger's framework for quantum mechanics, then this really ought to go off to a journal. It would be relatively trivial to extend such a joining of these theories to include general relativity (inc. gravity), and without a doubt, would very rapidly lead to a Nobel prize!
Finally, just because relativity (an accurate model of part of reality, and nothing more) implies that in a mathematical sense, one could travel back in time, it is really not that straight forward. It would require energies that will just simply not be achievable, and it wouldn't allow any time travel in a useful sense. It could, possibly, allow a space-traveller to appear to some external viewers in a certain frame of reference, travelling in a certain different direction, to actually move backwards in time. The 'time-traveller' would not themselves find themselves in the past. I'm trying to be very general here with the concepts. My point is, it wouldn't ever allow the rewinding of time, and theoretically possible scenarios do not necessarily have to be achievable. Stephen Hawking suggests an idea of cosmological censorship, the concept that the universe simply will not allow it. I think the idea has merit. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions on this. What I'm really trying to say, is that it is a staggering piece of work, and has possibly more accurate predictions than any other model within science, of anything. And yes, has no connection to any philosophical school of thinking, no theological implications that I am aware of, and certainly nothing to do with moral relativism. There is nothing in relativity that prevents an absolute morality from existing, which is something I felt has been implied at times, especially around these parts. If I am missing some scriptural conflict with the theory, I'd be grateful if someone could point me in the right direction. I don't see any conflict given we're talking about clocks, momentum and the force of gravity.
Oh, I'll say something about the graviton, too. Nobody knows if it exists, or if gravity is indeed a force in that sense. Some rather recent work suggests that gravity can entirely be expressed in terms of an entropic effect, rather than a force in its own right. I thought it was a very interesting piece of abstract mathematics, and it essentially arrives independently of relativity at the same results. I do not however, buy into it as a better fit for reality. This is for rather nit-picky points that aren't relevant here.
I hope at least some of this made some sense to somebody! Luke (Luc'o) LucoDaw 19:51, 13 July 2012 (EDT)

Why is it called the God particle?

Is someone saying that proving its existence disproves the existence of God? Does the Higgs boson replace God, for anti-Creationists?

How did the term "God particle" get connected to the particle, and why would we bother to perpetuate that connection? --Ed Poor Talk 17:14, 20 July 2012 (EDT)

Apparently scientists claim the particle is "powerful" and "everywhere", which we know are attributes of God. Funnily enough, the scientist who hypothesized its existence is an atheist and doesn't like the name. Biblethumpinjosh 17:25, 20 July 2012 (EDT)
Actually, as far as I know, it was referred to as the "God Particle" because of its elusive, mysterious nature. Moreover, when scientists want to get the general public interested in their work, a name like "Higgs boson" is far less eye-catching than "God particle".--Guitarsniper 21:31, 20 July 2012 (EDT)

You guys.

Please, relax. It's called the "God" particle because it gives mass to all things, allowing things to be here. It's not intended to offend anyone, and in fact, is a creation of God himself, as all things are. c:

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