Miracle of the “God Particle”
On a normal (difficult) morning, I’ll groggily smack (touch) “snooze” on my alarm clock (iPhone) and catch another wistful wink or two. I’ll then follow my usual zombified morning routine. I probably won’t spend the rest of the day wondering why my toothbrush weighed something, nor will I wonder if particle physics has got something to do with it.
But it is some people’s livelihood to ask that “why?” every day. Such people work at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, a seventeen-mile-long particle accelerator capable of speeding sub-atomics up to 99.99 percent the speed of light and (not kidding) re-creating the big bang. After a decade and a half of super-cooled super-magnets, billion-dollar experiments and crunching the mountains of subsequent data, these scientists have glimpsed the “footprint” of the “God particle,” the Higgs boson, the target of CERN’S ambitious mission. In particle physics, a glimpse is as good as it gets.
The technical way in which the Higgs boson works is extremely complex, and as is true with all quantum physics, difficult to envision. Huffington Post describes the Higgs as a “ubiquitous… snowfield,” that gives an object mass depending on how an object’s “shoe” interacts with the “snow.” To put it less abstractly, it gives every single particle in the universe mass.
Although this previous fact seems rather omnipotent, the Higgs boson is nicknamed the “God particle” because of its fundamental importance to modern physics. The efficacy of the “standard model,” the model that fits all quantum theories into one cohesive mechanism, hinges on the existence of it. For physicists, the “standard model” is the most accurate predictor of particle behaviors in existence today. Naturally, evidence that they were/are right to use it is validating, exciting and a huge relief.
For us laymen, the groggy-morning types, it is admittedly less exciting because, well, this isn’t going to change our lives anytime soon. But aren’t humans awesome when we put our minds to something?
Share this article
You might also like:
As a twentysomething woman, I’m always interested to see–when female friends get married–if they make the name change or keep their maiden name.
These days, that decision is usually announced by making it “Facebook official,” by simply changing the relationship status, or changing the last name along with it.
Using these data points, and women’s birth dates, Facebook analyzed what percentage of women from different age groups are taking their husbands’ last names, hyphenating their names or keeping their maiden names. The results were announced on the Facebook Data Science page this week.
Is the social blogging site Tumblr about to sell out?
Ad Week’s Mike Shields has the story that Tumblr has been having negotiations about being acquired by Yahoo.
As Shields reports, a deal could make sense for both companies:
“Yahoo is in serious talks with Tumblr to acquire the social blogging site, according to multiple sources familiar with the talks. The deal is not done, but could reach as high as $1 billion, Adweek has learned. Allthingsd.com was first to report on the talks between the two companies.”
I’m a criminal for being a woman, a journalist and someone with the temerity to walk into a bar.
In a fascinating study of both Facebook and freedom, Amnesty International New Zealand launched “Trial by Facebook,” which examines your profile, scours your timeline and “interrogates” yourfriends to find out what you’d be punished for posting, all around the
world. The app came out several months ago, but it’s been making waves
online this week.
Using my own Facebook page as a guinea pig, I found myself convicted 161 times, in 73 countries, for 13 crimes. Literally dodging a bullet, the
contents of my profiles weren’t tawdry enough to get me beheaded or shot dead, but I would be killed by extremists 22 times, sexually assaulted 16 times, imprisoned 58 times and beaten 73 times–and that’s just the beginning of the terror.
Tatiana Aders of Social Media News has made my day. If you don’t quite get how to use Google Plus, help is here:
“Google Plus has some of the most robust posting & sharing capabilities of any social network. From rich snippets to photo editing to individual circles, there are so many features that can make your post stand out from the pack. Here are some highlights from a cheat sheet that I built to get the most out of Google Plus posts.”
Attention ladies of the night and other interested parties: LinkedIn is taking a harder stance against prostitution.
As Mashable noted this week, the job-networking site has altered the language of its user agreement to expressly prohibit people from promoting escort services or prostitution on its pages.