Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Englert, Higgs Win Nobel For Higgs Particle Discovery

TPM/AP has a tiny announcement. Fortunately, at age 84, British scientist Peter Higgs is still alive as one of the two recipients of the prize; he is responsible for the earliest theories of the Higgs boson particle and the Higgs field over five decades ago. The other recipient is Belgian scientist François Englert, also very much still alive and active at age 80, also very involved in the theoretical work in the early 1960s. Some of the other theoreticians involved have since died, and thus were ineligible for the prize. The particle was discovered in experiments over the last few years using at least two projects at the Large Hadron Collider, Europe's (!) particle collider, the largest and most powerful in the world.

If you want more info about the awarding of the prize for the Higgs boson, Matthew Strassler at Of Particular Significance has written a post, good if a bit overladen with sports metaphors. If the Higgs boson is completely new to you and you have some scientific curiosity, Strassler has written a whole series of posts, many about the Higgs, suitable for serious amateurs; they are tough going if you're not also somewhat familiar with the general state of particle physics... but Strassler can help you about that, too; he has written a large number of introductory papers suitable (if challenging) for nonscientists.

If you are my age (mid-sixties), the Higgs is by no means the first particle discovered in your lifetime... but its discovery is no less exciting for that; it is the particle that gives some other particles their mass, and hence is responsible for our existence. (Anyone who calls it the [you-know-what] particle in comments will have their comment summarily removed at my discretion. Just don't do it!)

NOTE: there are great pics at many of the above-linked sites, not of the Higgs discovery but of the LHC and various example particle collisions in the LHC. Not only would it be redundant for me to post these here, it would be impossible to select only one or two. Allow yourself 15-30 minutes to browse the pretty photos of equipment and its results; they're beautiful in a way.

No comments:

Post a Comment


• Click here to view existing comments.
• Or enter your new rhyme or reason
in the new comment box here.
• Or click the first Reply link below an existing
comment or reply and type in the
new reply box provided.
• Scrolling manually up and down the page
is also OK.

Static Pages (About, Quotes, etc.)

No Police Like H•lmes