Monday, July 02, 2012
The God particle?
Welcome to the universe, Higgs boson
It's important for physics, but the Washington Post ran its dumbest headline of the year (that's an impression, I've not done a search) in saying the finding of the Higgs Boson "explains the universe." No. What this finding from CERN (which is described as the "footprint and shadow" of the boson rather than direct evidence) does is provide important evidence toward validation of the Standard Model of physics, which describes the building blocks of the universe. The Higgs is, in essence, the reason other particles have mass. Description is not quite the same as explanation. It is, however, a huge discovery. It's like knowing a city was made of concrete and brick: you can predict what kind of buildings can be created there, how long they'll last, and much else. Physicists now have a much more complete "toolbox" to apply to their problems. If I'm reaching for metaphors here, it's because this really is a big deal. Next year's Nobel Prize for Physics can probably be engraved now.