Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Growing Consensus: The Higgs Boson Exists

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the actually-they-just-like-to-play-with-equipment dept.

Science 254

It's a long, slow road from tentative discovery, to various forms of peer review, to wide acceptance, never mind theory and experimental design, but recent years' work to pin down the Higgs Boson seem to be bearing fruit in the form of cautious announcements. FBeans writes with excerpts from both the New York Times ("Physicists announced Thursday they believe they have discovered the subatomic particle predicted nearly a half-century ago, which will go a long way toward explaining what gives electrons and all matter in the universe size and shape.") and from The Independent ("Cern says that confirming what type of boson the particle is could take years and that the scientists would need to return to the Large Hadron Collider — the world's largest 'atom smasher' — to carry out further tests. This will measure at what rate the particle decays and compare it with the results of predictions, as theorised by Edinburgh professor Peter Higgs 50 years ago.")

cancel ×

254 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Cheap Chinese knock off? (4, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172479)

What is this Higgs Bosun?

Re:Cheap Chinese knock off? (5, Informative)

FBeans (2201802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172575)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boatswain [wikipedia.org] A boatswain (pron.: /bosn/, formerly and dialectally also /botswen/), bo's'n, bos'n, or bosun is an unlicensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. I believe they exist!

Re:Cheap Chinese knock off? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173051)

Even worse. who is "The Higg", and what's that about his Bosun?

Proofreading, anyone? (1)

NighthawkFoo (16928) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172493)

The name of the particle is the Higgs Boson. The article title is incorrectly using the possessive form.

Re:Proofreading, anyone? (0)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173629)

yes, it should be the Higgs's Boson.

Bosun? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172503)

G'day skippa!
I don't think that word means what you think it means.

That damn apostrophe (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172515)

Thank's for all your hard work, editor's.

Re:That damn apostrophe (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172793)

Came expecting appropriate mockery of bad spelling and grammar. Left fully satisfied.

Re:That damn apostrophe (3, Funny)

jitterman (987991) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174081)

And fully left-justified!

Re:That damn apostrophe (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173871)

Five stars. Would LOL again.

Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172523)

You know we're going to see this headline:

"Scientists prove that God exists."

Scary.

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (3, Insightful)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172767)

I'd prefer to hear about a truce between ardent atheists and fundamentalists where the former stops trying to disprove the existence of a divine creator and the latter stops trying to ban the teaching of evolution.

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172887)

I have never heard of an ardent atheist who puts any effort whatsoever into disproving the existence of a divine creator. The notion is nonsense in itself, as there is noting to prove or disprove and no way to go about doing either.

Clearly you've been drinking the fabricated controversy cool-aid.

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (1, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172949)

They exist, but they're rare, owing in large part to the fact that it's the burden for the believers to prove, not the non-believers.

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173059)

You can prove certain definitions of god exist such as those definitions which are self-contradictory.

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173075)

don't exist*

Freudian slip, of course. ;)

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173847)

I don't know. Even what appears to be logically self-contradictory may not cover the entity that is supposed to have created causality itself. That's why it is generally pointless to get torqued up about science and religion. The two don't tend to meet in any way that will generate a conclusive result, and if God exists, he appears to like it that way.

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (0)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173763)

Yes, but what's the point of that? They're already believing in something that doesn't make any sort of rational sense, presenting them with further evidence isn't likely to do anything than cause your blood pressure to spike.

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (2)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174027)

There is more to beliefs than what makes rational sense. In the same way that an average tennis player will perform better (plenty of studies) if he truly "believes" he can beat Federer, a society performs better if it believes in certain things rather than others. Beliefs are about what works best, not what is true (may coincide, may not). We have evolved to survive, not to discover truth. This is why I consider aggressive atheists to be rather naive and annoying even if they are not strictly speaking wrong. They are like a guy walking up to the above mentioned tennis player and yelling "Dude you are being irrational! Of course you can't beat Federer! Be rational and skeptical!", to which he rationally responds "Fuck off, jerk!"

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173269)

Severe mental illness has no right to be entitled to anything but a nice room in the mental hospital. (One with empathic neuropsychologists, NEVER psychiatrists or bare psychologists.)

And what you are asking from the ill, is impossible, since it's a essential key element of their illness. There is no such thing as extroverted religious schizophrenia without doing everything, to uphold the comforting delusions. Including severly harming others. And even the introverted form (e.g. Zen Buddhism) results in severe self-harm that has to be treated like attempted suicide.
Give me 15 minutes with the most calm and nice religitard, and you'll see her/him attempt to murder either everybody else, or her-/himself.
It is always a danger. It must always be stopped. No exceptions.

I know this is beyond comprehension for you Americans in your Catholiban-distorted box. But that doesn't make it any less of a scientific fact.

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (1)

arctus (2753027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172803)

That's already in the news media, along with other lies.

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172841)

c'mon.....this is slashdot not huffington post

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173137)

>> You know we're going to see this headline:"Scientists prove that God exists." Scary.

If there is proof, there is proof right?
I dont care whether it is definitive proof that a god or multiple gods exist, or it is definitive proof that a god or multiple dont exist. As long as it is proper proof, and not the 'proof' that is used these days in religious matters.
Maybe commercial flights to heaven as a holiday destination are possible. Ask God why he forbade us to "have no other gods before me" and where those gods hang out these days.
Or holidays to hell for that matter. Hang out with the deceased hookers, moon-shiners and bar-owners at a nice, cosy and warm place. </cynical>

To stay on topic, afaic, the proof for the higgs boson is still quite brittle. So I am really exited to see what will happen if they boot the LHC up again in a couple of years.

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173413)

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson [wikipedia.org] :

In mainstream media the Higgs boson is often referred to as the "God particle,"

Drop the "particle" and you'll get a nice headline.

If by "news media" you mean mainstream media... (4, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173199)

...no, no -- that's not how it's going to be "picked up".

Let's take a look:

NBC News: Particle confirmed as Higgs boson [nbcnews.com]

Associated Press: Physicists say they have found a Higgs boson [myway.com]

Reuters: Strong signs Higgs boson has been found: CERN [reuters.com]

Wall Street Journal: New Data Boosts Case for Higgs Boson Find [youtube.com]

FOX News: Physicists say they have found long-sought Higgs boson [foxnews.com]

Washington Post: A closer look at the Higgs boson particle that helps explain what gives matter size and shape [washingtonpost.com]

Chicago Tribune: Strong signs Higgs boson has been found: CERN [chicagotribune.com]

Sky News: Higgs Boson: Experts Sure Of 'God Particle' [sky.com]

New York Daily News: Physicists say they have discovered crucial subatomic particle known as Higgs boson [nydailynews.com]

Boston Globe: Physicists say they have found a Higgs boson [bostonglobe.com]

BBC (UK): LHC cements Higgs boson identification [bbc.co.uk]

BusinessWeek: Case for Higgs Boson Strengthened by New CERN Analysis [businessweek.com]

The Daily Mail (UK): Scientists say they HAVE found the 'God particle' - but admit they still aren't sure what type of Higgs boson it is [dailymail.co.uk]

The Independent (UK): Have they found the Higgs boson at last? Cern physicists say they're confident of 'God particle' breakthrough [independent.co.uk]

Telegraph (UK): Higgs boson: scientists confident they have discovered the 'God particle' [telegraph.co.uk]

News Limited (AU): Higgs boson, the God particle, discovered by CERN [news.com.au]

US News and World Report: Physicists Observe Higgs Boson, the Elusive 'God Particle' [usnews.com]

None of these articles make any links to "God" other than a few -- mostly UK, not US -- sources referring to it as the so-called "God particle", but even those explain exactly what this particle is theorized to be, not anything supernatural, "proving God exists", or having anything whatever to do with God.

Re:If by "news media" you mean mainstream media... (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173489)

Meanwhile, the Slashdot headline adds an apostrophe to "Higgs". :-(

Re:If by "news media" you mean mainstream media... (3, Insightful)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174057)

On the msn.com home page: Physicists: 'God particle' is real [msn.com]

And? (2)

daveschroeder (516195) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174215)

It links to an AP story with the headline "Physicists say they have found a Higgs boson" [msn.com] , which says...

GENEVA -- The search is all but over for a subatomic particle that is a crucial building block of the universe.

Physicists announced Thursday they believe they have discovered the subatomic particle predicted nearly a half-century ago, which will go a long way toward explaining what gives electrons and all matter in the universe size and shape.

The elusive particle, called a Higgs boson, was predicted in 1964 to help fill in our understanding of the creation of the universe, which many theorize occurred in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang. The particle was named for Peter Higgs, one of the physicists who proposed its existence, but it later became popularly known as the "God particle."

[...]

...and says nothing about the particle having anything to do with anything related to God, other than being popularly known as the "God particle" -- which is a fact [livescience.com] .

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173201)

Only scary, if you take the religious morons seriously. Nobody does, over here in Europe. You laugh at them, and when they don't play nice, you nuke them. End of story.

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173397)

A couple of things...
 
The mainstream news had this before Slashdot. No surprise there.
 
You're acting as if Slashdot's headlines are any more factual about 90% of the time.
 
You look like a bush league troll until someone does use that headline. If I were to bet on it, you'll still look like a bush league troll when it's all said and done.

Re:Just wait for the news media to pick this up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173675)

You know we're going to see this headline:

"Scientists prove that God exists."

Scary.

I look forward to the follow-up headline:
"New Pope out of job"

scientists confirm the existence of (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172571)

Bigg Bosoms

Faith (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172617)

so, what do you call the belief on way or the other as to if the boson exists or does not? :)

Re:Faith (3, Insightful)

FBeans (2201802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172659)

I'm not quite sure what that question is. I think the answer you may be looking for is: The Scientific Method!

Re:Faith (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172689)

A testable hypothesis, ?

Belief is the M.O. of an earlier age (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173387)

Belief doesn't come into it. The Higgs' existence (or not) is determined through very careful experimental observation and measurement.

Belief is something that primitive people used to hold in high esteem before the dawn of science. They used to read tea leaves and chicken entrails too.

Unfortunately there are still a lot of primitive people around, unable to face hard facts and precise logic, and unwilling to seek a cure for their extremely severe mental delusion. Not sure what humanity will do about them as we move ever further into a scientific world.

Consensus is not needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172621)

Consensus (ie. human agreement) isn't part of the scientific method. All you need is that your experiment be repeatable by others and that your measured results be statistically significant within all the relevant bounds of experimental error.

If other teams witness the same results as you then you might be tempted to call that "consensus", but you'd be wrong. Human opinion and agreement doesn't enter into it. The desired level of agreement is a mathematical property of the observations, not the agreement of humans.

Re:Consensus is not needed (1)

Anon, Not Coward D (2797805) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172679)

The question is... can someone outside cern replicate the experiments?? I think not, so concensus is the best we can get

Re:Consensus is not needed (2, Informative)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172747)

It is being replicated at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

Re:Consensus is not needed (3, Informative)

ggraham412 (1492023) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172991)

The energy of the tevatron collider at Fermilab is much lower than at CERN, making it very difficult if not impossible to observe the Higgs or measure its properties there. The collider has been shut down for more than a year anyhow as they transition to other physics experiments. http://www.fnal.gov/pub/tevatron/ [fnal.gov]

Re:Consensus is not needed (3, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173037)

That is one of the reasons that the LHC has multiple detectors built by competing teams.

Re:Consensus is not needed (4, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172897)

Consensus is very much part of the scientific method as it is actually practiced, even if not in an over-simplified theory of it. In practice, the people forming the consensus are smart, rational folks who rely on the "mathematical property of repeated observations" as much as possible. However, even with a few experiments reporting the same number --- how well do folks trust that there were not common systematic errors impacting all of them (it has certainly happened before)? That the results are not misinterpreted due to mistakes in the calculations, or missed effects? Forming a consensus within the scientific community that the reported numbers are *trustworthy* is a critical part of the actual existing scientific process: it's called peer review, and catches a lot of honest mistakes that a "just trust the numbers; don't bring your human experience/intuition/skepticism into it" approach would not.

Re:Consensus is not needed (1)

hedwards (940851) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172965)

Sort of, if you're research data doesn't mesh with everybody elses data, you'll find it be subjected to closer scrutiny until they find the reasons for that.

In practice though, consensus tends to form around sound conclusions rather than the other way around.

Re:Consensus is not needed (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173039)

Yes, I wasn't arguing against that. Consensus forms a critical filter that separates "sound conclusions" from iffier (but just as good "on paper" based on reported error bars) propositions that require further scrutinizing efforts.

Re:Consensus is not needed (1)

ggraham412 (1492023) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172951)

There are two independent teams at two independent collider detectors at CERN studying the Higgs: ATLAS and CMS.

That is as good as it is going to get for now.

Adjusting mass (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172669)

If I understand this correctly, the Higgs is what gives particles their mass. Is there anyway we could influence them somehow to reduce the mass of a particle?

Not all Mass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172733)

The Higg's give Fermions (Matter Particles) their "REST MASS" only. The relativistic mass of particles is something different.

Re:Not all Mass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172909)

The Higg's give Fermions (Matter Particles) their "REST MASS" only. The relativistic mass of particles is something different.

So I am not a lazy over eater... I've just attracted too many Higgs Boson particles.

Re:Not all Mass (2)

Ultra64 (318705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173365)

So we couldn't lower the mass of a spaceship and accelerate it past light speed?

Re:Not all Mass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173639)

Nothing from the Standard Model suggests how the Higgs boson can be used to change mass. Other common post-SM models don't suggest anything either. Just because you discover the existence of something doesn't mean there is a way to manipulate it.

When Newton worked out and discovered the basic principles of gravity, that didn't mean we suddenly had access to anti-gravity or ways to turn gravity off.

Re:Not all Mass (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173647)

We can lower the mass of a spaceship already by using lighter construction materials and jettisoning any bits we don't need --- however, that helps nothing to boost the speed past c. Within the framework of our present best scientific understanding (the "Standard Model" that predicted the Higgs Boson), you still can't go faster than light no matter what chicanery you attempt. Perhaps some future discovery (requiring a serious re-write of physics fundamentals) will change this, or perhaps not (the more likely case in my opinion); this present confirmation of old physics theories doesn't present any new physics that would allow wacky radical new things like faster-than-light travel.

Re:Not all Mass (0)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174009)

I dunno... here's an interesting thought experiment. (Still won't get you past C, but it will give you a big speed increase without traditional reaction mass.)

You have a spaceship, and a nearby gravitating object. A gas giant, a star, whatever. It's bigger than your ship, and owns the neighborhood.

You turn on a system aboard the ship that increases the energy density of the higgs field in your local vicinity. This increases your rest mass, but also decouples the parity between inertial mass and rest mass. Retaining the inertial mass of a spaceship weighing a few dozen tons, but having a gravitational mass twice that, your vessel is suddenly and forecully grabbed by the increased gravitational attraction it experiences with the nearby gravitating body, and accellerates toward it.

Again, because inertial mass is unchanged, your thruster pack is able to manouver your ship quite effectivey to avoid a head-On collision with the gravitating object. Your vessel whips around the gravitating object at a close angle of incident, and at the extremum of the whip-around, you disengage the device.

Yor vessel now has all the energy it picked up from its crazy dive at the gravitating mass, and has effectively ditched half of its own mass without altering its momentum. Your ship now has waaaaayy more escape velocity than it needs to break away from the gravitating body, and gets thrown out of the system with tremendous force.

If you timed and plotted your flight windows properly, you could repeat this manouver many times within a planetary system, and achieve a fantastic final velocity.

Re:Not all Mass (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173777)

No - you'd need to decrease the mass of the spaceship to zero to do that, relativity and the speed of light limit applies to any object with mass, no matter how small. What you might be able to do is reduce the mass to get closer to the speed of light, but you still can't break it.

Re:Not all Mass (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173543)

The Higgs (named after Peter Higgs, not Higg, as your use of the possessive apostrophe would suggest) boson gives fermions and several bosons (including itself) their intrinsic mass. Even when discussing relativity, "mass" usually refers to the intrinsic Newtonian-style mass that you mean when you say "rest mass." "Relativistic mass" means the total energy of a system divided by c^2, which includes the intrinsic mass.

I also doubt the OP is referring to relativistic mass because he's talking about reducing mass. It's easy to reduce relativistic mass.

Re:Adjusting mass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172785)

Put them on a low-carb diet?

Re:Adjusting mass (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173209)

The Higgs field gives particles their mass. the particles make up the field.

Re:Adjusting mass (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173751)

The Higgs field is what give particles mass (in part anyway), the Higgs Boson is an excitation in this field, so the actual discovery is the Higgs field via finding the associated particle. If we are able to manipulate the Higgs field (which is currently all in the realms of SF speculation) then yes, we might be able to change the mass of particles in one way or another, but I don't expect to see inertial dampeners or anything similar in the next few decades. I'd be quite happy to be proven wrong, but it's unlikely.

So, what's its spin? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172693)

Have they measured it yet?

Re:So, what's its spin? (2)

Elder Entropist (788485) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173897)

the new sub-atomic particle announced last summer bears one of the classic signatures of the proposed Higgs boson – it does not spin or rotate like all other known sub-atomic particles.

The fact that this new particle is “spin zero”, combined with further evidence based on the way it decays into other known sub-atomic particles, is a convincing indication that it is indeed the Higgs boson,

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/have-they-found-the-higgs-boson-at-last-cern-physicists-say-theyre-confident-of-breakthrough-8534012.html [independent.co.uk]

What is in the name? (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172729)

Some headlines read: Physicists found GOD particle'

Physicists say they have found a Higgs boson [myway.com] - this is the actual story headline and a story.

Quote:

They made the statement following study of the data gathered last year from the world's largest atom-smasher, which lies beneath the Swiss-French border outside Geneva. The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, said that what they found last year was, indeed, a version of what is popularly referred to as the "God particle."

I thought about the significance of saying that and as an atheist, it doesn't mean anything for me, it just means some silly nick name. God-particle, glue-particle, whatever-particle.

I realised though that it is not how many people see it! There are millions of people who are quite religious and to them this really is something different, the religious zealots are selling the idea that scientists have discovered god!

This is a huge marketing propaganda campaign, the religious leaders will be able to point at this and tell their followers: you see, even scientists believe in god!

This is a very counter-productive, a terrible thing to do for the scientists to go along with this. They are truly doing a disservice to the entire thinking segment of the population by feeding into this propaganda. Is this the way for them to justify all the spending, to sell to the millions of religious fanatics that they "discovered god" (because that's all that the religious fanatics will hear: scientists discovered god).

This was the wrong way to go.

Re:What is in the name? (4, Funny)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172779)

It's just short for Goddamn particle, because it was so hard to find..

Re:What is in the name? (2)

FBeans (2201802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172843)

Re:What is in the name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172957)

This is a huge marketing propaganda campaign, the religious leaders will be able to point at this and tell their followers: you see, even scientists believe in god!

Huge huh? Hyperbole much? Anyways if you feel the need to fight this massive propaganda campaign by castigating those who use the term, you should definitely reserve most of the ire for the idiots who coined it in the first place: Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon M. Lederman and science writer Dick Teresi in their book, The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? [wikipedia.org]

And FYI, some scientists actually do believe in God

Re:What is in the name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173501)

>And FYI, some scientists actually do believe in God

Only the one's who don't apply their critical thinking skills to their wacky beliefs.

When your parents raise you to be superstitious, it's hard to shed the ridiculous beliefs you accepted before you developed the ability to think for yourself.
Everyone figures out that Santa isn't real, but there are so many adults that still pretend that the local god is real, so it's harder to see through that nonsense.

Re:What is in the name? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173065)

This is a very counter-productive, a terrible thing to do for the scientists to go along with this. They are truly doing a disservice to the entire thinking segment of the population by feeding into this propaganda

No, it is a wonderful thing to do for the scientists. They're meeting market demand!

If you haven't noticed, religious people have lots of money. The Catholic church just spent a ton of money to decide who the next pope will be, and made the entire world watch.

Religious people have money, because they are productive. Contrast that to the "thinking segment", who are all those hippie artists and teachers who actually are very unproductive, and have no money, and are usually employed only because of government.

Scientists are doing a disservice to the thinking segment? Good! I don't want scientists to service thinking people. I want scientists to service working, productive people. That's this only way the economy will grow.

That's how the United States grew. In the first 124 years of the Republic, there were not too many thinking people. Most people were farmers, or slaves to those farmers. With very few thinking people (there were only a handful of so called robber barons) the US became the strongest economy and largest creditor nation.

Re:What is in the name? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173103)

Agreed... wrong way to go on both sides. Religious groups saying "Scientists have proven the existence of God!" and anti-religion groups saying "Scientists have proven that "God" is nothing more than a fluctuation in the energy field of reality!"

Both could be true or false, but are completely outside the issue at hand. What would people have done if we'd called it the Nietzsche particle?

Re:What is in the name? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173617)

OMG, religious zealots might start believing in god! Uh, wait....

I really don't understand people who get excited over that nickname. Leon Lederman nicknamed the Higgs boson the goddamn particle for his book, and his publisher made him change it. People who aren't zealots know the particle has nothing to do with god and don't care. People who are zealots... will likely remain zealots. The only ones affected are weird edge cases like you who get excited about what you think other people might get excited about.

New Sci-Fi Macguffin (4, Funny)

decipher_saint (72686) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172739)

Dear Lord... the creature's power comes from electricity | radiation | tachyons | nanobots | god particles!

Re:New Sci-Fi Macguffin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173507)

Peter Higgs did the math to show how the particle would behave and what it would ‘act like.’ But that was all on paper; in the meantime, the little bugger has eluded empirical discovery. It was so elusive, that a physicist (Leon Lederman) originally coined it the “Goddamn particle,” in a proposed title to his book on the subject. His publisher persuaded him to re-name it “The God Particle,” and the name has taken off in the public sphere (much to the chagrin of many physicists).

God Damned Editors!

Does this mean the Higgs Boson 'Thinks'? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172761)

Or would that be putting Descartes before the force?

Next: how does it give mass to other particles? (1)

master_p (608214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172777)

How does the Higgs Boson giver mass to other particles?

And some other interesting questions:

How is a Higgs Boson produced?

Can we produce these particles at will?

Can we affect gravity with them?

Re:Next: how does it give mass to other particles? (1)

FBeans (2201802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172883)

I would suggest that google is a better place to find out this stuff. here you are just going to get a list of gramatical errors and some arguments about Religion, and probably some OS wars... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21785205 [bbc.co.uk] The BBCis a good place to start, if you would like your questions answered :D

Re:Next: how does it give mass to other particles? (3, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173925)

How does the Higgs Boson giver mass to other particles?

The theory behind the Higgs mechanism motivated the search for the Higgs particle in the first place. It's well worked out. Check Wikipedia.

How is a Higgs Boson produced?

Practical answer: if you put enough energy in a small enough space you'll get all kinds of particles. Some of those will be Higgs'.
Sciency answer: the Higgs particle is just a manifestation of a perturbation in the Higgs field, just like every other fundamental particle is a perturbation in it's own quantum field in modern quantum field theory. To produce a Higgs you pump enough energy into the Higgs field in a particular location.

Can we produce these particles at will?

If at will you mean by smashing other particles together at high speed and occasionally getting a Higgs out, yes. If you mean specifically producing a Higgs on command, no.

Can we affect gravity with them?

No. The Higgs field doesn't have anything to do with gravity: http://profmattstrassler.com/2012/10/15/why-the-higgs-and-gravity-are-unrelated/ [profmattstrassler.com]

Wonderful! Now what? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172791)

Flying cars, invisibility, peace in the Middle East, FTL travel, consensus on the original lyrics to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"?
What?

Also, can the Large Hadron Collider be used to find small and medium Hadrons?
[ Seriously CERN, think about multipurpose usefulness once in a while. ]

Re:Wonderful! Now what? (1)

FBeans (2201802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172901)

Amusement park! The LHC must be one hell of a ride!

Re:Wonderful! Now what? (1)

nateb (59324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173747)

... but then I took a proton beam to the knee.

Re:Wonderful! Now what? (2)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173241)

Flying cars, invisibility, peace in the Middle East, FTL travel, consensus on the original lyrics to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"?

At first I thought you couldn't be serious, then I dove into the information river for a swim. [wikipedia.org] . Amazing, things you learn and beliefs shattered. "In the Garden of Eden"? Really? So I took it one step further and wanted to see a video to help remember the song. I found this one [youtube.com] and had a disconnected moment thinking "My God those guys were old even back then". I quickly understood it was just a bunch of old guys reliving their glory. Please, old rockers, don't go on tour any more, you don't live up to the memories and it reminds me (and I guess others) just how old we are.

I'm going with Occam's Razor, they came up with In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida without the drunkenness; that would have been more like "in the gerdom ah girdon um gordon oh fuck, Eden". Still a great song to code by.

More govenment handouts please! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172817)

No doubt this "consensus" is based on just as much evidence as the "consensus" around global warming. Gotta wonder how long until these scientists start requesting **billions** more dollars to look for another invisible magic fairy particle. Can we really trust people who's living requires endless taxpayer handouts?

Ron Paul 2016

Proof (-1, Troll)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172869)

Consensus =! fact . In fact, there is no option in the scientific method for consensus to mean anything.

Currently, the existence of the Higgs Boson is hypothetical, until the discovery can be replicated numerous times and become a theory, which is a generally accepted scientific fact. One test showing the Higgs Boson particle does not turn it into theory, it merely means that other scientists now have a framework to prove the hypothesis.

Re:Proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172977)

"Physicists announced Thursday they believe they have discovered the subatomic particle"
great I'll tell the pope that the physicists are now true believers

Re:Proof (4, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172989)

"generally accepted scientific fact" = consensus --- otherwise, what's the "generally accepted" part? There is no stronger scientific definition of "fact" that transcends a general consensus based on a multitude of apparently properly done confirming experiments.

Re:Proof (1)

ssam (2723487) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173929)

Its not perfect replication, but the LHC has 2 multipurpose exeriments ATLAS and CMS. They a 2 separate teams of people, using different detectors of different designs, different software and different analysis techniques. The do share some systems, ie the same proton beam (so a miss calculation in the beam energy will effect them both (not that it matters a huge amount for proton collisions)), they sometimes work in the same buildings, and they go to the same canteens.

They both see the same bump in their data in multiple channels. scientists dont really use the word proof. but it is fairly clear that there is a particle at ~125 GeV, that behaves very much like the boson predicted by theory. hopefully soon we'll have an e+e- collider that will see the same thing.

Re:Proof (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174165)

The Higgs field is part of the a particular formulation of quantum field theory that is often called the Standard Model. There are lots of other quantum field theories, and other theories that are not field theories, not quantum theories, or both, that may or may not have any relation to reality.

The existence of a Higgs particle in a particular energy range, detectable by such and such means, is a hypothesis, motivated by theory called the Standard Model, other more speculative theories which may one day be incorporated into the standard model, and practicality (most of the theorized Higgs particles are simply out of reach of our collider building capabilities).

Making the particular observations specified by the hypothesis supports that hypothesis, and also the theory that originated the hypothesis. These observations have already been replicated, by the way. Making other observations specified by the hypothesis will further support it. Currently we have decent evidence for a particle, but not so much evidence about whether it has the specific properties required to be the Higgs particle predicted by the theory.

Theories are not accepted hypotheses! Particularly not in physics. Unfortunately this erroneous definition seems to have made it into several dictionaries. Of course, people who write dictionaries are almost never scientists.

Not the god particle, it's The Higg's particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173041)

O Mighty Higg.

Bow down and worship The Higg. We don't know what it is yet, but bow down and worship it.

This is how... (4, Funny)

craznar (710808) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173045)

... physicists celebrate mass.

how many events is considered significant? (2)

peter303 (12292) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173067)

I did not really see that number stated in the various articles. I read that the US Tevatron saw a 'hint" of Higgs with three possible events.
The other thing I read in Physics Today is there are six classes and over thirty ways the Higgs can decay. Some ways are easier to see with current detectors than others. The July 4 announccment was based on at least two decay modes. The more modes the more confidence.

new weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173125)

Any one seen a Higgs Boson weapon in any games yet?

Re:new weapons (1)

the biologist (1659443) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173339)

It will probably be in the next version of NetHack.

Re:new weapons (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173673)

Uses improper "graviton", but yes.

Wing commander: the secret missions [youtube.com]

McGuffin plot device: Kilrathi invent super gravity intensifying device that increases object rest mass 137fold. Used it on Goddard Colony.

Interestingly enough, it increases gravity, but doesn't alter inertial activity, so planets this happens to don't fly out of orbit or fall into their star.

Also, for some mysterious reason, has no effect on spaceships.

This only proves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173151)

... that the boson belonged to Mr. Higg all this time (subject typo)

"By consensus??" (0)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173185)

Is this how we do science now? I get it when it's anti-science, we form a consensus and deny everything we don't like. But this?

Re:"By consensus??" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173363)

Yes, peer review is how we do science. How else would you word a group of people agreeing the data shows the same thing, if not a consensus.

Repeat after me: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173195)

There is no aphostrophe in "Higgs Boson".

It's named after a dude, whose name is Higgs. Nothing possessive here.

Come on y'all (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173349)

Bitching about spelling and grammar like Bosun and Higg's with the apostrophe.

This post is still far better written then anything from the Huffington Post, a company of barely literate Gen Y'rs trying to write the "news" on their iPhones in between Tweets and popping Ritalin and Red Bull.

Consensus proves nothing (-1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173427)

All these government scientists know they can keep getting grant money toeing the standard modelist line.

And besides, even if the Higgs Field does exist, it doesn't prove the theory is correct, so why should we be spending millions of dollars to change textbooks when there is nothing we can do with this knowledge anyway.

Re:Consensus proves nothing (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173879)

theories can be useful. the standard model is useful for predicting the outcome of experiments. these Higgs boson results are a part of that. there are actually several theories about the Higg boson's properties (such as spin and decay rate & products), and more research will tell which of those models are useful. science is about useful models, you want Truth go next door to Philosophy department.

Re:Consensus proves nothing (4, Insightful)

FBeans (2201802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43173909)

All these government scientists know they can keep getting grant money toeing the standard modelist line.

And besides, even if the Higgs Field does exist, it doesn't prove the theory is correct, so why should we be spending millions of dollars to change textbooks when there is nothing we can do with this knowledge anyway.

When the electron was discovered, it could have also, and naively been considered useless. However here we are commenting on the latest discovery of science, utilising that very knowledge. The point is, you don't know what will be usefull and what won't be useful. Besides it's fun, interesting and nearly always useful to learn how the universe works. The internet was made at CERN, you could say as a result of this research. So.....

god damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173609)

Also known as the god damn particle for its ability to create zombies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luNueXoAw3I [youtube.com]

Now name it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43173905)

All other elementary particles have names ending in -on and are derived from Greek. None of them honor their inventor.

So what should this new boson be called?

Re:Now name it (3, Informative)

Entropius (188861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43174137)

well, there are "fermions", after Fermi, and "bosons", after Bose, but those are the two classes of particles. There are "gluons", ending in -on, but from English "glue". Then there are the W and Z bosons, which are just letters, and the quarks...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>