Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Quantum Story

The Quantum Story: a history in 40 moments is a fascinating read for the uninitiated, which explains why our particle physicists, scientists and engineers continue to build ever bigger and more expensive machines in pursuit of ever smaller and elusive particles of matter.

The latest "big machine" is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is presently pursuing a field particle called the Higgs Boson—a 1960s particle prediction by theoretical physicist Peter Higgs.

At 7 TeV1, the LHC is thought capable of generating the energies required to dislodge the the Higgs, if it exists.


UPDATED 07/04/2102 NYT, Physicists Find Elusive Particle Seen as Key to the Universe

Particle researchers have observed a Higgs-like particle trace (125.3 ±0.6 GeV) from LHC collisions data that is unlikely to have occurred by chance to a five-sigma level—additional collisions, observations and calculations will be required.

If you're a particle researcher, it's good news anytime you can simultaneously confirm your model and justify investment in a multi-billion dollar machine—even if you're confirming an already incredibly precise and accurate standard model.

Better will be future data, collisions, and observations that break, modify or extend the existing Standard Model.

Economist, House of dreams Scientists race to explain why the Higgs boson matters

WSJ, A Portrait of the Subatomic World, Reviewer Jeremy Bernstein


1. A total head on proton-proton collision energy of 14 TeV.

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