“Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null, dead perfection; no more” -Lord Alfred Tennyson Ahh, the Standard Model of elementary particles and their interactions. It’s right up there with General Relativity — our theory of gravitation in the Universe — as the most successful physical theory of all-time. While General Relativity describes the relationship between matter-and-energy and … Read moreBreaking the Standard Model is Really, Really Hard!
“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.” –Aleister Crowley But the Universe itself experiences continual growth, constant change, and new experiences all the … Read moreThe Fundamental Constants Behind Our Universe
“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
“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?
“This is evidently a discovery of a new particle. If anybody claims otherwise you can tell them they have lost connection with reality.” –Tommaso Dorigo You’ve probably heard the news by now: the Higgs boson — the last undiscovered fundamental particle of nature — has been found. Indeed the news reports just keep rolling in; … Read moreHow the Higgs gives Mass to the Universe
“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?