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A Higgs Setback: Did Stephen Hawking Just Win the Most Outrageous Bet in Physics History?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Large Hadron Collider proton-proton collision in which two energetic electrons and two energetic muons are observed—the type of event that the decay of a Higgs boson might produce, although there are other explanations as well. © 2011 CERN

A few years ago, celebrated British physicist Stephen Hawking was widely reported in the press to have placed a provocative public bet that the LHC (along with all particle accelerators that preceded it) would never find the Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle” believed responsible for having imbued massive particles with their mass when the universe was very young.

His pronouncement caused a stir in the global physics community, and the Scottish physicist Peter Higgs, whose name had gotten attached to the hypothetical particle (Higgs had done some work in the 1960s, as had several other physicists, paving the way for the theoretical existence of the mass-imparting boson) took the challenge personally, complained about Hawking, and later lamented that to answer Hawking’s challenge would have been “like criticizing the late Princess Diana.”

In fact, informal polls of physicists over the last decade have shown that an overwhelming majority believed that the existence of the Higgs was a foregone conclusion and that all that was needed was simply to run the LHC long enough: the Higgs would eventually show up. Hawking—known for controversial and contrarian pronouncements—was seen as simply throwing around his weight.

But the Higgs boson never appeared. Running continually at an unprecedented energy level of seven trillion electron volts since March 31, 2010, the LHC has been amassing petabytes of data that are being analyzed by a grid of interlinked computers worldwide in search of the missing boson. And yesterday, August 22, at the Biennial International Symposium on Lepton-Photon Interactions at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India, the bombshell was dropped: CERN scientists declared that over the entire range of energy the Collider had explored—from 145 to 466 billion electron volts—the Higgs boson is excluded as a possibility with a 95% probability.

The search for the Higgs is a statistical hunt that involves looking at the particles that emanate from the high-energy collisions of protons inside the LHC, measuring their energies and directions of flight, as well as other parameters, and trying to assess whether it is likely that some of these particles result from the decay of a Higgs boson created by the collision. These assessments carry a probability measure, such as 95%, 99%, or—as traditionally required in particle physics for a “definitive” conclusion about the existence of a new particle: 99.99997% (this is the infamous “five-sigma” requirement).

To be sure, the new, negative results presented in Mumbai yesterday are of a different nature. They state that, with a 95% probability, the Higgs does not exist within the range of energies the LHC has so far explored, between 145 and 466 billion electron volts. The probability of nonexistence is not overwhelming—there is still a 5% chance that the Higgs is hiding somewhere within this energy range. And, more importantly, the lower energy range from 114 to just under 145 billion electron volts, a region of energy that Fermilab has determined, through earlier experiments, may harbor the Higgs, has not been ruled out. But the Higgs is quickly running out of places to hide. Lower energy levels have been accessible to smaller accelerators, such as the Tevatron at Fermilab and the LEP—the LHC’s predecessor at CERN—and neither collider had found it. Perhaps the Higgs does not exist at all.

So while CERN will continue its search for the Higgs at least until the end of this year, if no positive results about the Higgs should come out, Stephen Hawking—betting against the entire world of physics, as it were—would be able to cash in on his wager. And in that case, Congress may feel that even though its 1993 decision to cancel the American alternative to CERN—the Superconducting Super Collider—was generally met with chagrin by the American physics community, it may have been the right move one after all: to spend billions of taxpayer dollars in search of a particle that likely does not exist would have been wasteful.

But if the Higgs doesn’t exist, where does mass in the universe come from? Theories that go beyond the “standard model” of particle physics (of which the Higgs is the keystone—the one missing piece needed to explain how the universe we know came to be) may be necessary. Steven Weinberg, who in his landmark 1967 paper on the unification of the electromagnetic and the weak interactions had made key use of the Higgs for “breaking the symmetry” and separating the electromagnetic from the weak forces, has since gone beyond the standard model in his research. Weinberg has proposed a theory called Technicolor, within which the primeval symmetry of our universe can be broken through a different mechanism than the action of the elusive Higgs. But to prove the validity of the Technicolor theory may require an energy level that would dwarf that available to the LHC—at an equally astronomical cost.

Amir Aczel About the Author: Amir D. Aczel studied physics and mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley. He also holds a Ph.D. in statistics. Aczel has written a dozen popular books about mathematics and physics, including the international bestseller Fermat’s Last Theorem, as well as Mystery of the Aleph, Entanglement, and Present at the Creation: The Story of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider. His latest book, to be published in October, is A Strange Wilderness: The Lives of the Great Mathematicians. Aczel is a research fellow at the Center for the History of Science at Boston University and a Guggenheim Fellow. Follow on Twitter @adaczel.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.






Comments 41 Comments

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  1. 1. bonzi 2:04 am 08/24/2011

    “to spend billions of taxpayer dollars in search of a particle that likely does not exist would have been wasteful”

    Quite to the contrary, the result that Higgs boson definitely does not exist is at least as valuable as the one finding it. Finding the Higgs without noticing anything “unusual” would mean confirmation of Standard model as it is, still leaving gravity “un-unified”. If LHC indeed rules out existence of “God particle”, it will collapse the Standard model, pushing us to search further. Stagnation is not the stuff that science is made of.

    Link to this
  2. 2. bthegoodwin 4:10 am 08/24/2011

    I’m confused by this article. I thought that the LHC is still operating at 50% power and was assuming that it would be substantially able to verify or refute the existence of the Higgs by December 2012. There is over a year of work yet to do and at full power to add a new factor. The third paragraph seems unscientifically unsportsmanlike as it a) doesn’t point out the 50% power issue and b) seems to be trying to stick a fork in the subject before the experimenting is complete. Did I miss something?

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  3. 3. Lou Jost 9:02 am 08/24/2011

    Why did Hawking make his bet? What were his reasons for taking that position? Surely it wasn’t just to be “contrarian”….

    Link to this
  4. 4. Blade Runner 9:34 am 08/24/2011

    I would like to suggest an explanation of the nature of the force of gravity. First I will state some well-known facts, then I will suggest an explanation and finally a hint for the way it might be proved correct.

    Facts:

    1. Analysis of the spectrum of light from galaxies reveals a shift towards longer wavelengths proportional to each galaxy’s distance in a relationship described by Hubble’s law indicating that space-time is undergoing a continuous and uniform expansion (Wikipedia). The longer its distance from us, the faster the speed it moves away from us.
    This fact is usually exemplified with the simile of two points on the surface of an expanding balloon, moving apart from each other as it is inflated.

    The pull of gravity is usually explained as the fall of objects down a slope in a surface warped (sunk) by more massive objects (simile of the balls on an elastic surface) falling towards a bigger ball down the subsidience the latter creates. Now, this model describes very well HOW objects move in space because of gravity, but not WHY, since they should not fall in abscence of other forces, no matter how big the subsidience is.

    2. Apparently the most recent observations claim that this expansion is accelerating.
    Going back to the simile of the balls on an elastic surface, they could fall towards each other’s holes if this elastic surface was accelarating upwards. Let’s imagine that the whole set of balls on an elastic surface is in a lift or elevator travelling upwards with an increasing speed. Its very acceleration would make the balls warp the surface they are on and the lightest balls would fall towards the heaviest.

    And here comes my speculation:

    Imagine the elastic surface (two dimensions) of a sphere or globe (three dimensions) is a simile of our universe (three spatial dimensions) as a surface of a hypersphere (four dimensions) which is expanding at an accelerating speed.

    That accelarating expansion (like a tour dimensions balloon being blown) make the objects placed on its surface sink warping it. The more massive the objects, the deeper the warp and as a result lighter objects fall into them.

    This would explain gravity in an easier way than nowaday’s speculations where gravitons (not founded) or masses placed in other dimensions are needed to provoke its effects in our universe. (In my opinion, the latter theory implies an endless series of masses pulling from equally endless dimensions…)

    Hint to a method to check this speculation:

    How could we possibly prove this theory right? I suppose we could by comparing the value of the acceleration of the expansion of the universe (I ignore it) and the Gravitational Constant (G = 6.67 × 10-11 N • m2/kg2 ). But that is too far away from my capabilities. I drop the idea for cleverer ones.

    To sum up, gravity would simply be the result of the warp of the space, caused by the inertia of the mass placed in it and as a consequence of its accelerating expansion. Namely, in a universe with no expansion there would be no gravity and objects would not be attracted to each other. With a zero expansion the Gravity Constant G would be zero. Going back to the simile, if the lift or elevator stopped accelerating, the balls would stop pressing on the elastic surface.

    Link to this
  5. 5. infomebaby 9:59 am 08/24/2011

    So Mr. Hawking is right, they might never find the Higgs boson, so-called “God particle” yet shutting down CERN and Guantanamo might save a couple billion dollars, or two, a year? Wonder if they asked a few astrophysics how to reduce the national debt if they could find a solution to that problem a bit quicker…

    Link to this
  6. 6. MarkHarrigan 11:31 am 08/24/2011

    I think it was Rutherford who said (to Niels Bohr) “All models are wrong, some models are useful”.

    Regardless of who said it the meaning is clear – our models of the real universe shall always be imperfect – though the physics community works hard to adjust them to accommodate anomalies.

    The Higgs was postulated because the standard particle model needed a way to explain the existence of “mass”. But what, exactly, is “mass” anyway?
    In reality we know that there are no such thing as “particles” per-se – only manifestations of phenomena with attributes that we can conveniently group and call by a name (like an electron or a tau-meson) and which demonstrate properties to which we assign macro-world analogues like “waves” and “particles” (=marbles or billiard balls).

    We know that objects with mass like properties attract each other via the “force” of gravity which Einstein helped us to understand as creating localised curvature in “space-time”.

    We know that in the standard particle model we can represent forces as arising through the exchange of certain types of “particles” (bosons) – or we can imagine forces being due to “fields” (well, both actually). These models work REALLY well to help us understand and predict a lot of observation – but we should not confuse the models with the reality.

    Actually I think it will be far MORE exciting if we don’t find the Higgs Boson. That will mean we will have to acknowledge some of the shortcomings of the standard model (excellent though it is) and we will be forced to seek alternative explanations for what gives rise to the emergent phenomena of “mass” and who knows – maybe move beyond the whole “wave-particle” duality paradigm into a different conceptualisation of what makes our n-dimensional space time manifest “objects” that have “mass” and “energy” (and no – I don’t mean just String Theory).
    I wonder what could happen if we could “tie” spacetime in “slip-knots” using additional spatial dimensions – some of those “slip-notes” being stable perturbations in our normal 3d space(+time) below certain energies (I think of energy as being like a thrumming in spacetime but I realise our conceptualisation of what “energy” is needs work too) – and those are the particles we “see”. Above those energies these knots “slip” (=decay) into less convoluted “slip knots” that are sub-particles.
    If we have sufficient dimensions to play with (conjecture here) we might have some slip knots that don’t manifest in our normal 3d space time but nevertheless can exist – or at least have protrusions of their “slip-knot” like structure into the dimensions that are curved on different scales to give rise to the other forces/fields we experience in our normal time.

    It’s possible to conceive of some fun 2d-plane protrusions into 3d that can act like this to manifest as apparent “forces” in the 2d plane and even cause “spooky action at a distance”.

    Anyway – just some fun on my part :)

    Here’s hoping Stephen Hawking was right – because it would open up new ways of thinking in Physics (which, I suspect, is why he made the bet!)

    Link to this
  7. 7. rloldershaw 11:44 am 08/24/2011

    So far the LHC has found:

    no string/brane exotica,
    no sparticles,
    no WIMPs,
    no supersymmetry exotica,
    no extra-dimensions,
    no mini-black holes,
    no Randall-Sundrum gravitons,
    no porker Higgsy,
    and nothing beyond the considerably pre-LHC standard model, which has 26-30 adjustable parameters.
    Then there is the 120 orders-of-magnitude vacuum energy density crisis.

    The relevant question is: Do we keep adding epicycles to the faltering aged paradigm, or do we seek a revolutionary new paradigm?

    RLO
    http://www3.amherst.edu/~rloldershaw

    Link to this
  8. 8. PatrickAustin 11:49 am 08/24/2011

    Not directly related to the Higg search, but I am fascinated by the article’s offhand comment “informal polls of physicists over the last decade have shown that an overwhelming majority believed that the existence of the Higgs was a foregone conclusion”.

    We’ve been using scientific consensus as a definitive argument-stopper in other areas (specifically AGW). If the Higgs particle is proven to not exist, that’s part of the scientific method and will help physics improve their model of the universe. But will it weaken the AGW argument that “all reputable scientists in the area are convinced AGW is happening”?

    I need some help with this.

    Link to this
  9. 9. Lou Jost 12:33 pm 08/24/2011

    Again, anybody out there who can say why did Hawking doubted the existence of the Higgs boson?

    Link to this
  10. 10. jtdwyer 12:40 pm 08/24/2011

    To all those who suggest that failure to find the Higgs boson will lead to a new age of theoretical quantum physics, I suggest that physics has been repeated failing to find the Higgs boson for many years now. Physicists apparently do not accept their results, concluding that their test was faulty or did not achieve sufficient energy. Without acceptance that the nearly 50 year old mechanism for allocating mass to particles must be scrapped, no pursuit of any alternative proposal is likely, especially any that is not compatible with the standard model of particle physics in which all ‘forces’ are mediated between particles by particles.

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  11. 11. chromodynamics 2:37 pm 08/24/2011

    @bthegoodwin, It doesn’t go up to full power till after the shutdown at the end of 2012. It will be at full power in 2013. The article is very sensationalist. Saying stuff like the SSC might have been money saved because we don’t find the higgs is totally missing the point for example. No physicist thinks the only reason we made the LHC is to find the higgs. Its just one of the possible things that could be found. In short, we should wait till it finishes running at 14tev, but if we dont see a higgs by the end of next year, its time to get worried.

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  12. 12. chromodynamics 2:43 pm 08/24/2011

    @jtdwyer, I think the difference is that this time we are at the end of the possible ranges for the current standard model. If we don’t find it at any of the predicted ranges, theres no choice left but to try a new model.

    Link to this
  13. 13. MarkHarrigan 3:41 pm 08/24/2011

    @jtdwyer Gee mate you express so much negative cynicism both here and elsewhere :(

    Physics and physicists have been exploring MANY alternative models to the standard particle model -it’s just that the standard model does (mostly) such a bloody good job of describing observed phenomena.

    But like all models it has some holes and is incomplete.

    Even if the std model’s prediction of the Higgs boson proves to be illusory (I hope it does but the jury is still out) it will still be a useful tool.

    Netwon got gravity “wrong” in the sense that his theory was incomplete until Einstein came along and refined it – but that doesn’t make Newton’s work useless (far from it).

    Modern physics has in fact shown, I think, a readiness to embrace new models and new ways to conceptualise things for most of the last century – but we will continue to use “old” models where they work and seek either adaptations or modifications where the evidence says we need to – and, just occassionally, we might see a whole new conceptualisation which is the most fun of all.

    Link to this
  14. 14. da bahstid 10:23 pm 08/24/2011

    @Patrick Austin

    These are apples to oranges fields. Quantum physics is literally the extreme end of our knowledge and at this limit we have several competing theories attempting to grasp at how things actually work. Although we’ve had a lot of success progressively discovering particles that have followed some predictions, it’s never too late for the next major discovery (or lack thereof) to force a shift in paradigm. That’s how it is when we’re looking at the limits of our knowledge.

    Everything in AGW is based on knowledge that is long-since established. The difficulty is in the layers, because there are many. But each layer is completely established and irrefutable.

    Take CO2. The infrared absorption of CO2 has been measured for the better part of a century. It can also be predicted from what we know of its chemical bonds in the same way we can for any given chemical compound. It’s all the same science that determines the color of your hair or why black paint gets hotter than white paint when you shine sunlight on it. It’s all the same science that gets used in industry to make paints, UV sunscreen, etc.

    Every layer of AGW is like this. Universally accepted not just in the context of AGW, but throughout science and commonly utilized in industry. This isn’t even remotely similar to trying to find a quantum particle that is predicted but not yet observed.

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  15. 15. retrogal 8:39 am 08/25/2011

    Has anyone considered Hawking is pulling our collective fingers? He doesn’t say the particle doesn’t exist. He only says it won’t be found. Are we so arrogant as to believe we have no further advancements to make in this field or to be 99.99997% certain we are looking in the right place?

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  16. 16. Alan8 10:37 am 08/25/2011

    Yayy Blade Runner! That’s the best explanation of gravity I’ve ever heard!

    For years I’ve been puzzled by the “explanations” of gravity with curves in space-time (caused by mass) that REQUIRE a gravity-like force to explain gravity.

    Using known phenomena (inertia, expansion of the universe) to explain gravity makes more sense (and is a lot more satisfying) than hypothetical ghostly particles that somehow “pull” objects together.

    You deserve credit for this idea!

    Link to this
  17. 17. denisosu 2:59 pm 08/25/2011

    @ Lou Jost:

    Below is the quote from Hawking. To my mind it sums up his position well – it’s not that he had a compelling reason for believing that the Higgs, per se, did not exist, but that either through intuition or wishful thinking, he believed that the standard model might be wrong or incomplete, and not finding the Higgs particle would be a good way to re-open the discussion. He certainly makes it sound more like he hopes it doesn’t exist than that he is sure it won’t …

    “The LHC will increase the energy at which we can study particle interactions by a factor of four. According to present thinking, this should be enough to discover the Higgs particle. I think it will be much more exciting if we don’t find the Higgs. That will show something is wrong, and we need to think again. I have a bet of $100 that we won’t find the Higgs.”

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  18. 18. Grumpyoleman 3:00 pm 08/25/2011

    Did Hawking claim there was no Higgs boson or just that it wouldn’t be found? Could scientist be going at this the wrong way? Could the boson manifest itself at much lower energies?

    I think prob=95% is a little premature to be patting Hawkin on the back. Other energy levels are yet to be explored.

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  19. 19. christinaak 4:27 pm 08/25/2011

    i made the same prediction in my book (“The Short Range Antigravitational Force and the Hierarchically Stratified Space-time Geometry in 12 Dimensions”) which was published one year ago before the LHC became fully operational. it is time to recognize that the standard model is inadequate in its current form. a new model needs to be adopted that recognizes that the space-time geometry possesses a more complex structure. such a model will no doubt provide answers regarding the peculiarities of quantum behavior, as well as, explain how the universe and its parameters evolve within an evolutionary cyclic model (a process which is thermodynamically driven). i suspect that it will eventually be demonstrated that the explanation for why the weak interaction particles have mass (and for that matter the fermions as well) probably has something to do with the complex relationship between the primary fundamental forces (the long range gravitational force and the subplanck length range antigravitational force), and the secondary or derived fundamental forces (the weak and strong nuclear forces), as well as the values of the parameters c, G, and h. i predict that a paradigm shift lurks on the horizon and the at least some the ideas that i propose in my book will eventually be adopted.

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  20. 20. COSMOTOP 7:22 pm 08/25/2011

    I am neither happy nor unhappy about the Higgs particle which may or may not exist. I thank Hawkings for questioning its existence…it stimulates original thought which we need to advance science along new and challenging paths as “individual reaerchers”.

    The Herd Mentality of my fellow scientist during the past 50 years has been damaging to novel approaches. I know the pressures to follow the leaders in String Theory, “established THEORIES”, and obtain positions in academia — but, that is no excuse to betray your quest for truth “independently”. YOU may be on the right track.

    Yes, the whole world of physicists CAN be wrong — that is our Karma to never be completely right in ANY model.

    So, stand on the shoulders of giants “you choose” and follow your imagination, mathematics, logic, and evidence. We need, more than ever, some NEW ideas.

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  21. 21. sweetnap 8:08 pm 08/25/2011

    It is time for the superconductor collider. Can’t live with such enormous spaces for the HB to hide such as the “lower” energy under 145 bev or the ones above 466 bev but on range of superconductivity.

    or,

    It is time to consider that if close-to-infinite compression rates are applied to close-to-infinite ammounts of matter “inside” black holes, that even so do not show compatible or equivalent size expansion (black holes are not close-to-infinite size) this points to two different and opposite outcomes: an invisible leak of matter from black holes is returning free and filling up “empty gaps”;

    or,

    It is time to get prepared to accept that close-to-infinite compression of matter slows down time, and if infinite compression occurs, time would stop.

    So therefore, inside black holes there would be layers of compression, each with its time speed. In the center, no time at all.

    There you go, Higgs’ Boson becomes existence becomes indifferent.

    Link to this
  22. 22. Squ1rr3l 10:12 pm 08/25/2011

    Three Comments:
    1) I think it was Arthur C Clarke that reflected that if the world said something was one way, and an old scientist said it was NOT—bet on the old scientist.

    2) Will String Theory be next?

    3) …and when we find the Higgs particle, a voice will come out of nowhere and say, “Very good. You have found me. Now I will count to 10,000 years and start looking for you. Ready?”

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  23. 23. Squ1rr3l 10:17 pm 08/25/2011

    Post Script—What’s the problem? Is not Science an effort to find what is “real”? Theory is a step to reality, not the end product. There is still 5% to go and maybe we are looking in the wrong place. There are plenty of corners in the universe to look into… The LHC will have more uses than looking for the God Particle.

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  24. 24. da bahstid 11:21 pm 08/25/2011

    FIVE sigma…ouch.

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  25. 25. Jan Jitso 4:50 am 08/26/2011

    Information should be given on other theories in which perhaps the Higgs thing won’t be necessary. Therefore I refer to the book The Quantum Theory of Gravitation by Vasily Yanchilin. His hypothesis is that the Heisenberg uncertainty increases farther away from mass and so he sees gravity as a pure quantummechanical process: Two tiny not distant particles will have in their halves closest to each other less incertainty than in the other halves. Then there is netto a positive result of transitions a la Heisenberg towards the other particle.
    For convenience those transitions I suggest to call iets in order to save p.e. the name electron for the whole particle. Iets appear and disappear discontinuous within the sphere with Heisenberg dimensions. In an isolated mass the netto result is zero, but when you push the thing inertial mass is felt. This is different from gravitational mass as the latter constitues and therefore Yanchilin disregards the aequivalence principle.
    In the past the universe was smaller and as in the new theory the speed of photons approaches zero at the edge of the cosmos a source for black matter might be there.

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  26. 26. Carlyle 7:57 am 08/26/2011

    Re post 4. How would that work on a micro scale? The earth expands to collide with the apple?

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  27. 27. Carlyle 8:13 am 08/26/2011

    14. da bahstid
    In other words, irrefutable. Just like God. Wow.

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  28. 28. mnulfateh 6:16 pm 08/26/2011

    Follow your imagination, mathematics, logic, and evidence which are result oriented. We need, more than ever, some NEW ideas not to get theories but to create such diverse knowledge which can bring peace and prosperity in our planet, EARTH to serve our GENERATIONS TO COME.

    Muhammad Naeem ul Fateh, PhD

    Link to this
  29. 29. PureKnowledge2 6:47 pm 08/26/2011

    The answer has been known for sometime. Quantum entanglement states that there are no particles or parts of particles. All is a very special holographic that is not present except for the inner eye of all experiencing what we think is real.

    Searching for any particle is an exercise in futility.

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  30. 30. arunkagg 1:24 pm 08/27/2011

    I am disappointed that somebody justifiably named these particles as HIGGS-BOSON particles in honor to great scientists Higgs and Satyendra Nath Bose from India. But the Boson is missing in the present reference and S N Bose is not at all referred here. I think a scientist is a scientist irrespective of the place to which he belongs and all the scientists should be given equal respect as their work is beyond the limit of even known universe not just the artificial boundaries of any country!

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  31. 31. uu1nter 7:49 am 08/30/2011

    An interesting article. A side note although there may be a 95% chance that the higgs does not exist between 146-446 GeV there is 2.8 sigma evidence that it exists between 140-145 GeV. That is to say that we are 99.4% sure that the higgs has been observed there. You can read about it here:

    http://tinyurl.com/3sqmd6n

    Link to this
  32. 32. thenewgreen 5:05 pm 08/30/2011

    For some insight in to how Peter Higgs is feeling, follow the link below:
    http://hubski.com/pub?id=2516

    Link to this
  33. 33. Starmaster 12:32 am 08/31/2011

    I don’t agree that the LHC is a waste of money. First I would have to believe that money mattered, which I don’t. As a “Star Trek Communist”, every expense is merely a measure of human labor. If we agree to do the labor then concept of cost is a needless abstraction.

    To hell with cost.

    And yes, the answer is “42″.

    Kind regards…

    Starmaster

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  34. 34. DrZev 11:25 am 08/31/2011

    I don’t believe in Higgs bosons, gravitons, or negative gravity. Why? Because gravitation is a non-quantum force, while all the other forces in nature are quantized.

    I look at it this way. Say there are nine spatial dimensions. Three of them are the macroscopic dimensions we all experience, while the other six are very small. Let’s say that these six compactified dimensions are in two groups of three dimensions each. I shall call each group of three dimensions an “aether”, and will later explain why I chose this word.

    We know that the size of the big dimensions is currently increasing, and we can theorize that these dimensions vibrate — alternately expand and contract, over the course of hundreds of billions or trillions of years. Likewise, the compactified dimensions may be vibrating, but much faster.

    Now, suppose the vibrations of these compactified dimensions are synchronized, but that the 9-d hypervolume within any closed hypersurface must be constant. The vibrations result in a small decrease in volumes of the compactified aethers, which, in compensation, results in a local increase (dilation) in the macroscopic dimensions, which results in Einsteinian gravity. Thus, rest mass is really the kinetic energy of the compactified dimensions.

    Furthermore, the resonating vibrations of the two compactified aethers lead to constraints where only certain combinations of vibrations are permitted, and these constraints give rise to all quantum effects.

    The three large dimensions constitute the Gravitational Aether, and therefore gravitation is unipolar (no antigravity) and non-quantum.

    The second aether is the electromagnetic (or luminiferous) aether, and, with the help of the first aether, hosts bipolar forces (electricity, magnetism, and spin — all quantized); and the third aether, with the help of the first two aethers, hosts the trivalent string nuclear force. (More properly, this force is hexavalent, as six equals three factorial.)

    I call this a Common-Plinth theory, as it explains the underlying differences between Einsteinian Relativity and Quantum Theory, while explaining how they are based on the same underlying truth, like two pillars or two statues sitting atop one base (plinth).

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  35. 35. tienzen 1:16 pm 09/2/2011

    Have you ever heard about Prequark Chromodynamics ( http://www.prequark.org/ ) which is a Higgsless theory.

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  36. 36. DrZev 2:13 am 09/6/2011

    As far as I can tell by reviewing the material cited by tienzen (above), Prequark Chromodynamics tells you why the Higgs Boson is a bad idea, and why it does not fit into the heirarchical model. It does not explain why mass is different than other fields, or why gravitation is different from other forces. I beleive that Common-Plith Theory can explain these.

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  37. 37. DrZev 2:57 am 09/6/2011

    YET MORE ON THE COMMON-PLINTH THEORY:
    d) Most all other theories (except perhaps knot theory) describe particles as something apart form spacetime; as things embedded in space, and perhaps vibrating in space and time. Common-Plinth Theory breaks down this dichotomy, and described particles as self-sustaining resonant vibrations of the compactified dimensions of space. Therefore, there is is no need for strings, branes (I always thought that it’s a no-braner), and such hypo-fundamental particles as Anyons, Angultrons, Vacutrons (Rishon Model), et cetera.
    Common-Plinth Theory pares away a lot of the baggage of current quantum theory, or, as Robert Oldershaw puts it, “epicycles [of] the faltering aged paradigm”. Instead, what you have is a cleaner, less-complex model of the fundamental structure of the Universe.
    (e) It is possible that “Dark Matter” and “Dark Energy” are illusions due to second- or third- order effects of Common-Plinth Theory, not because of any actual matter or repulsive energy present in the Universe.

    Link to this
  38. 38. Charles Gonsalves 8:53 am 11/28/2011

    Regarding the Higgs Boson, I recall and consider in reflection, that there are flaws in the Klein Gordon Equation and since the Klein Gordon Equation apply to the Higgs Equation, I consider that the Higgs Boson does not exist. It is also worth recalling, that the Japanese Physicist Yakawa (who was awarded the Nobel Prize) used a “real function” the “Klein Gordon Equation” to describe a Massive Particle when in fact, a Massive Particle can not be described using “a real function” It is worth noting that there is no Yakawa Particle either.

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  39. 39. sneharaj 3:15 pm 05/19/2012

    My heart says to write this even though my brain says no –
    If the universe is proved to be as simple as the Higgs and the science community thinks as it is now, then simply I don’t want to work on such a universe.
    I have always been fascinated by universe’s amazing intellectual beauty; it’s simplicity in its intriguing complexity! Higgs model definitely lacks it.
    Not just simplicity, but simplicity in its perplexing intellectualism; is the governing mode of the universe that I belonged to.
    – Snehasadan Sneharaj

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  40. 40. justyntoo 5:17 pm 06/28/2012

    what if the higgs is dark matter and was not formed by the bang so will not be resolved ? try ,not hitting center but peal the proton like an onion , with some quarks out of sync the remainder would loose integrity and …

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  41. 41. AHFRAY 8:20 am 07/8/2012

    “On 4 July 2012 CMS announced the discovery of a boson with mass 125.3 ± 0.6 GeV/c2 within 4.9 sigma, and ATLAS of a boson with mass ∼126.5 GeV/c2 within 5 sigma.”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=higgs-cern-lhc-discovery

    Link to this

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