“It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge.” -Enrico Fermi As you probably know, the Large Hadron Collider — site of discovery of the last fundamental particle in the Standard Model, the Higgs Boson — is the most energetic particle accelerator in the history of … Read moreThe Physicist's Dream Machine
“Supposedly she’d died, but here she was again–somewhat changed, but you couldn’t kill her. Not when the truest part of her hadn’t even been born.” –Denis Johnson Over the past 100 years, our picture of the Universe has changed dramatically, on both the largest scales and the smallest. On the large-scales, we’ve gone from a … Read moreThe Rise and Fall of Supersymmetry
“All our sweetest hours fly the fastest.” –Virgil If you’ve been around the block once or twice, you know that the speed of light in a vacuum — 299,792,458 meters-per-second — is the absolute maximum speed that any form of energy in the Universe can travel at. In shorthand, this speed is known as c to … Read moreThe Cosmic Speed Limit
“If you’re a reporter, the easiest thing in the world is to get a story. The hardest thing is to verify. The old sins were about getting something wrong, that was a cardinal sin. The new sin is to be boring.” –David Halberstam It was only a few months ago that both collaborations at the … Read moreWhy is it a big deal that the new LHC particle is verified as the Higgs?
“…this consensus has been brought about, not by shifts in philosophical preference or by the influence of astrophysical mandarins, but by the pressure of empirical data.” –Steven Weinberg One of the most fundamental questions we could ever ask about all of existence is “What makes up the Universe?” I don’t mean “stars and galaxies,” like … Read moreIs there any particle physics beyond the standard model?
“The particle and the planet are subject to the same laws and what is learned of one will be known of the other.” –James Smithson The entirety of the known Universe — from the smallest constituents of the atoms to the largest superclusters of galaxies — have more in common than you might think. Although … Read moreHave we reached the end of Particle Physics?
“Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?” –Stephen Hawking After a long search spanning more than my entire lifetime (so far), the Higgs boson has finally been … Read moreNow that we've got the Higgs, what's next?
“We knew that we had indeed done something that was very different and very exciting, but we still didn’t expect it to have something to do with physical reality.” –Gerald Guralnik, co-developer of the Higgs mechanism Might as well make this entire week “Higgs week” here on Starts With A Bang, given how important yesterday’s … Read moreExplaining the Higgs: on TV last night!
“Give me a coin. <Takes Coin.> All right. Uh… heads, I win, tails, you lose. Right? <Flips coin.> Tails, you lose.” –Ralph Kramden All things being equal, you’re well aware that if you flipped a completely fair coin, you’d have a 50% chance of it landing on heads, and a 50% chance of landing on tails … Read moreThe Biggest Firework of them all: The Higgs!
“…the publisher wouldn’t let us call it the Goddamn Particle, though that might be a more appropriate title, given its villainous nature and the expense it is causing.” –Leon Lederman, author of The God Particle The Higgs Boson: you know the deal. It’s the last undiscovered particle in our current picture of all the fundamental … Read moreWhy Haven't We Discovered the Higgs yet?