What Makes The Universe

Professor Brian Cox of Manchester University explains the importance of the Higgs-Boson discovery. Steven Hawking said he lost a $100 bet that they would find it. Oddly enough, while this discovery is one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time, it’s disappointed a lot of scientists because it was discovered exactly as predicted. Most great scientific discoveries were the result of accidents or unexpected results.

If you are interested in understanding what all this stuff is about, Cox has an excellent primer on particle physics. There are two parts on youtube. Just click the link at the end of this video for part two.

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  1. Oh please. When your scientific apparatus costs 9+ billion dollars, the economy is tanking, taxes are being raised and voters are wondering where the money went, you can be sure that the scientists whose rice bowl it fills will think this is “the greatest discovery of all time.”

    That’s utter crap, of course. This result doesn’t verify or predict any huge fundamental changes in physics – unlike Michelson Morley for example.

    • Why not? It verfies, if it turns out to be true, why matter exists, That’s a huge discovery since it answers one of the fundamental questions.

      Yes, CERN was a massive expense. But it may reveal more particles that may answer more questions, if not raise new questions that wouldn’t have come about otherwise.

      The economie of the western world arent tanking due to science. That much is sure. They are all the result of mismanaged corrupt states. The US included.

      My is Michealson-Morley important? Aether wind was not verified, and light is particles not waves. At least as I understand it from my readings. I’m not a physicist.

      • As I understand it, the Higgs boson is the intermediary of the gravitational field, in the same way the photon (boson) is the intermediary of the electro-magnetc field. Which means that we’re one step closer to a unified field theory. But there’s a bunch of blanks that still need to be filled in before we begin creating energy out of mini-black holes.

        M-Morley verified Einstein’s supposition that the speed of light was constant no matter what the velocity of the reference frame it was in. This means that you are driven to the conclusion that objects in fast moving reference frames shrink and the rate at which time passes there is dependent on velocity. This, and quantum mechanics were shocking counter intuitive discoveries that changed the fundamentals of physics itself. Obviously, discovery of the Higgs – hey! we sorta understand how gravitation works now – it’s similar to the other fields and a not all that exciting theory we mostly already verified – isn’t even in the same ballpark.

        • Oh, ok. I forgot they set the speed of life in another experiment. Anyway, what higgs-boson supposedly does is answer why energy particles became matter after the big bang. In other words, the higgs-boson energy field makes matter possible., Without it energy would just fly around the universe forever as particles. Matter is what makes you, i, the planet we live on possible. That is kinda important. Understanding why everything as we know it exists.

          That’s a fundamental question. Answered. But yes, there are still a lot of questions. Like what is dark matter and dark energy. What is gravity. They have yet to observe a graviton particle. The theories of gravity have a long way to go.

    • Sir/Ma’am,

      In all honesty scientific spending is a drop in the bucket compared to what is spent on defense and especially social/welfare programs.

      NASA gets on average $10 billion or less in funding PER YEAR… That a small fraction of 1% of the total federal budget.

      Defense spending was at around $280-$300 billion ten years but it exploded and more than doubled as a result of 9/11 AND a lot of pork in the budgets (much of which has NOTHING to do with defense/war spending) since 2001…
      Entitlement spending has never been reigned in spite of what the media and political spinners would have you believe.

      Right now, we’re looking at 5% GDP spent on defense versus 10% spent on welfare programs. Total government spending of GDP is approaching something like at least 23-25% which is historically very high and unsustainable.

      Cuts have to be made in spending most everywhere, yes, but the money spent by other countries on THEIR collaborative equipment should not be the subject here…

      • I believe you misinterpreted my post. I’m fine with the government handing out research money – if that money is not bending the “science” that’s being produced.

        Once upon a time, when science investment was returning dividends like the promise of unlimited power and portable computers, it was being lavishly funded for it’s own sake. Then, as the technological returns slowed in the 80s, that funding had to be tied to some goal approved at some level by politicians. I’ve worked in the scientific establishment – and have written proposals and grant applications. If you want your research underwritten then you better make sure you hit all the right buzzwords. Better yet, if it dovetails with some hotbutton issue – like AGW for example.

        Unfortunately, this has the effect of making the scientist, especially those working in BIG SCIENCE like CERN or NASA into publicity whores who claim their discoveries are the “greatest ever” to keep the taxpayers and their political masters happy in the midst of an economic downturn.

        As for NASA, I haven’t any problem with planetary probes and aerodynamics research. But building Apollo the sequel is just throwing money down a rat hole, and I’m against that no matter how tiny a percent if is of the national budget. 10 billion here, a 10 billion there and pretty soon you’re talking some real money.

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