Monday, July 9, 2012

High on Higgs Boson

A bunch of physicists got together in Geneva Switzerland on the 4th of July to announce that they’ve discovered something called “The God Particle”, which had been theorized to exist for a while now, but never been proven.

A little like my ex college roommate’s supposed girlfriend.

This announcement led to a lot of excitement and applause among the scientist that had gathered there, along with numerous reported incidences of raucous physicist behavior including the unprotected exchange of pocket protectors.

The rest of us just went…“Huh…?”

But the rest of us can’t even spell “physicist” without the help of spellcheck.

In fact some of us can’t even spell “spellcheck” without the help of spellcheck.

Apparently this “God Particle”, a name, by the way, the scientist don’t like to use—they like to use the official signifier Higgs Boson”—is the thing that showed up shortly after the “Big Bang” that gave matter mass, which gave it weight, which led to the creation of large round spheres.

I guess kind of like those dozen brownies I consumed the other night...with the bowl of vanilla Häagen-Dazs …and Hershey’s, which led to another large round sphere above my waist.

So why do I need a bunch of egg heads to spend a lot of money to tell me why I get fat?

Isn’t it bad enough that I do?

But I guess that’s the way of the world…or the universe or…something.

What may not be of any matter to you and me, is certainly a big bunch of matter to others…especially if they have a microscope.

Actually, what they have is this 10 billion dollar big giant 17 mile long tunnel like tube thing called the Large Hadron Collider or what the scientist like to call the LHC, which, to be honest, isn’t a very creative nickname considering it cost 10 billion dollars.

Anyway, this so called LHC is the world's largest particle accelerator—way bigger than the one Wal-Mart sells for $29.95—and is located deep beneath the Swiss Alps. 

It was originally scheduled to be turned on a couple of years ago, when a lot of theories abounded that in doing so, scientists risked destroying the very fabric of the universe by possibly creating an all-encompassing black hole that some speculated  would swallow everything in the cosmos, leaving behind a vacuum of, well, nothingness.

Of course the physicists scoffed at this notion and said it was something like a 99.9% unlikelihood that anything would happen along those lines…so they decided to go for it….despite the 00.1% that it could.

What’s a little non-existence between scientist?

Unfortunately—or fortunately—almost immediately after they turned the thing on it blew a fuse of something and shut down, the odds of which were something like 100% unlikely to happen.

But it did and nobody had another fuse, so the whole program was put on hold until some guy named Hans could find a hardware store that carried fuses for the world's largest particle accelerator. 

Luckily, other than some embarrassed scientific egos, no damage or other untoward events were reported, other than the disappearance of a group of Swiss Yodelers, who were holding their annual convention at a nearby resort. 


A year or so later, Hans returned with the new fuse and the Collider started colliding and smashing all manner of photons and protons, much to the relief of the gathered researchers, not to mention the rest of us, as no cataclysmic black holes were reported, other than the sudden rise in popularity of the singer, Adele.

And now, some 18 months after that, these giddy physicists say they believe they’ve discovered…or are pretty sure they’ve discovered the Higgs Boson, or “God Particle”…at least, with a “high degree of certainty”, 99.9% sure.

According to a report on “Yahoo News”, which seems like the appropriate news outlet for this story….

The scientists did not spot the particle per se but detected its footprint when observing high-speed collisions of other subatomic particles in two separate experiments conducted with the ATLAS and CMS particle-collision detectors, which detect collisions within CERN's Large Hadron Collider.”

Which to me sounds an awful lot like some guy in the mountains saying he didn’t actually see “Bigfoot” in them there woods, but detected its footprint in the snow while exploring the bottom of a bottle of homemade hooch.

I don’t mean to sound like some kind of skeptic here—okay, maybe I do…a little—but when it comes to my “God Particles” I kind of want a little better rate of certainty than that.

Don’t you?

If we’re going to all the trouble of unlocking the secrets of the Universe I want to be pretty darn certain we’re unlocking the right ones.

Does anyone not remember that Star Trek episode with the Tribbles?

Besides…what’s it matter…what the matter?

It’s like saying, “I know where water comes from.”

Good for you…but is it really worth billions of dollars?

It’s there…it’s wet…it’s cool…just drink it.

Matter or no matter….

Mass…or no más ….

Who knows?

Certainly not me.

Maybe someday it will lead to free cable.

But for 10 billion dollars maybe we can cover that last 0.1%.

Can’t be too careful.

You know…?

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