According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals
and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Thursday, July 5, 2012

WSF: Videos on What the Higgs Boson Particle is and Why it "Matters"

Proof of a new Higgs Particle different from the Standard Model Higgs
that gives to matter its mass...

Hunting the Higgs -

CERN: "We have observed a new particle consistent with the Higgs Boson"

The world’s most ambitious physics endeavor has delivered: Last night (EST), officials from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced that two major experiments using the Large Hadron Collider, an enormous circular particle accelerator buried on the border between France and Switzerland, have found preliminary evidence of the long-sought Higgs boson, a subatomic particle at the center of one of the biggest mysteries in physics: What gives matter mass?“It’s hard not to get excited by these results,” said CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci. “We stated last year that in 2012 we would either find a new Higgs-like particle or exclude the existence of the Standard Model Higgs. With all the necessary caution, it looks to me that we are at a branching point: the observation of this new particle indicates the path for the future towards a more detailed understanding of what we’re seeing in the data.”For those of you who missed the live feed of the announcement last night, you’ll be able to watch the replay here just as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, please peruse our collection of videos offering expert insight into the elusive Higgs.

Brian Greene on Why Finding the Higgs Boson Matters -

What Are We Looking For?
Finding the Higgs boson was no easy task. CERN physicist Monica Dunford explains what scientists expect to see when they find the Higgs.

The Story of the Higgs Boson
In this clip from NOVA's Fabric of the Cosmos, the story of Peter Higgs' controversial realization is told by the man himself.

Why Do We Think the Higgs Particle Exists?
Brian Greene explains why the theoretical Higgs boson is so important to the Standard Model of Physics, the backbone of how we understand the world around us.

Searching for New Particles
The Large Hadron Collider is a miraculous piece of technology that has been charged with discovering new fundamental physics particles. But how can scientists design an experiment to detect new particles when they don’t know what these particles look like?

Five Years. One Experiment
The history of the Large Hadron Collider—the $6 billion, 17-mile tunnel beneath the Franco-Swiss border that is ostensibly the world’s largest science experiment.

The Standard Model and Supersymmetry
Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek explains how supersymmetry—or SUSY—could be the ideal “unified theory.”

Waiting for the Higgs
Brian Greene writes in The New York TImes about the history of the Higgs boson and what confirming its discovery could mean for physics as we know it.

What is ALICE?

Physicist Jennifer Klay explains how scientists use the Large Hadron Collider to recreate the conditions of the universe just after the Big Bang, and how the ALICE detector looks specifically at phases of matter.

Will the LHC Kill Us?
When the Large Hadron Collider first came online, there was much disinformation and fear about the tremendous energy levels required to run the experiments.
Images and materials courtesy of CERN
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Hi Everyone,

Back in August [of 2012] I promised to explain one particular feature of the Higgs, but then got distracted by a variety of projects. So, here's the point I wanted to make:
A common metaphor for explaining the Higgs field is to envision an "invisible molasses" filling all of space, which exerts a drag on particles as they "burrow" through it. And it is this drag that we commonly call the particle's mass. Some particles are "stickier" than others--they feel the effect of the molasses more strongly, and so those particles are more massive. Less sticky particles are lighter, and particles like the photon are completely "slippery"-- passing through the Higgs field without feeling any drag at all--and so have no mass.
This is a fine metaphor to have in mind. I have used it repeatedly as it paints a reasonable and intuitive picture of the Higgs idea. But I also like to point out where metaphors fail (most do at some point); here's one prominent way that the molasses metaphor is misleading.
The metaphor leads one to think that the Higgs field constantly exerts a drag force on any given particle, continually slowing its speed until it grinds to a halt. But that's not true. Particles wafting through space, on which no other forces are acting, just keep on going. The Higgs doesn't stop them.
Instead, the Higgs 'drag" only comes into play when a particle is accelerating (or decelerating). Just as it is hard to push a car to increase (or decrease) its speed because the car has a big mass, the more massive a particle the harder it is to CHANGE its speed. And according to the Higgs idea, this resistance to CHANGES in the particle's speed (or direction of motion) reflects the influence of the all pervasive Higgs field through which the particle is moving.
Real molasses doesn't behave this way, as its drag would NOT only be exerted when a particle was accelerating or decelerating--its drag would be exerted even when an object moves through it at constant velocity.
So, is there a better metaphor? No doubt there is. Wave refraction as a wave moves from one medium to another is a good place to start, but I won't try to develop that metaphor here.
Bottom line: If you find yourself thinking about the Higgs, feel free to use the molasses metaphor. But also keep in mind its limits.
PS In case you are interested, a few other more newsy things:
--The Fabric of the Cosmos NOVA series won Best Physical Sciences Program at the Jackson Hole Film Festival.
--Tonight, October 1, is the award ceremony for the Emmy's in News and Documentary (Fabric of the Cosmos is nominated for Outstanding Science and Technology Programming)
--My latest book, The Hidden Reality, is a finalist for the UK Royal Society's Winton Prize for Science Books (winner to be announced on November 26).
--Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 2, 2012, 7PM I am doing a program at the New York Public library on "Truth vs Experience in Probing Reality." It is a conversation with Simon Critchley in the South Court Auditorium, Schwarzman Building. Tickets are officially gone, but I am told some are being held at the door, first come first served. (Event is free.)