Oh.. alright..
Remember light flickin' out at a constant? Well, I'm sorry... matter just does a similar thing ok? Its pretty obvious if you think it through..
Now that all the fanfare over the sighting of a Higgs-like boson in the Large Hadron Collider has died down, CERN scientists have a few burning questions about the particle. The gigantic proton accelerator will be shut down this year, but physicist Paris Sphicas told The Register the boffins should be able to gather enough data …
This is the best explanation of what the Higgs boson is, why it's different to the Higgs field and why it all matters:
The only way to accurately understand how the universe works would be to get a full-scale working model and then study that. So what we need, really, is something that is just as big as the universe, looks just like the universe, and behaves just like the universe.... where could we find one of those???
"Is the vacuum of space good enough at reasonable altitudes"
No. There's WAY too much still there, even several thousand miles up. Resistance from residual atmosphere and solar wind are significant factors in satellite lifespan, even at 22000 miles. When you are whizzing particles around at .99999999C you want them to hit stuff ONLY where you have detectors, and ONLY stuff that has a known make-up.
To get the kind of quality vacuum you have in a particle accelerator, you'd have to be outside the heliopause - say hi to Pioneer and Voyager while you're there.
I'm not a particle physicist, so this may seem a silly question, but is there an end point? A point at which we will no longer find any new particles? A point at which we can explain how everything comes from nothing?
Will we look back in 1000 years on today's notions of dark matter and think of them as we currently think of ancient beliefs that lightning was Zeus's doing?
I don't think, philosophically, there can be an end point.
None of these entities exist, all we have is detectable phenomena and a the superposition of a mathematical noumenon to account for them according to the presumed ubiquity of Causality.
If you like each layer of noumenal 'reality' requires - necessitates - a further dimension in order to 'cause' it. So long as you stick to the principle that nothing happens but that something causes it. I.e. there is, implicit in the principle of causality itself, an infinite chain of causes leading in any given direction to a Prime Cause.
In the time direction, we get the Big Bang, or God,, depending on your point of view. But what 'caused' the big bang? Or God? We have to posit some higher dimension outside the known universe, or ditch causality itself.
Eastern mysticism does that of course. The Tao is held to be 'that which exists through itself'. The causeless cause of everything else.
Douglas Adams posited a bunch of pan dimensional white mice..
Pastafarians allude to multiple dimensions of tightly coiled spaghetti.
Really its a free choice. But perhaps we should start to question why we see the world as a lot of bits interacting with each other, along law-constrained causal lines. Is it really like that? Or is that merely the best approximation we can hold in our heads to account for its observed nature?
In fact there is an end point. It is the point at which the energies of the interacting particles are such that their Compton radii become equal to their Schwarzschild radii. Beyond that, it is not possible, even in principle, to make build any apparatus to make sense of what (if anything) goes on.
But that is a LONG way away from what exists at present.
But perhaps we should start to question why we see the world as a lot of bits interacting with each other, along law-constrained causal lines.
"Start"? We have multiple centuries-old philosophical traditions that question causality, not to mention 90% of sophomores rediscovering the idea.
Most of them quickly come to the conclusion that without some set of axioms to tie phenomenology to a rational description, you can say anything you want. That's of limited utility.
Well there doesn't seem to be one yet, but bear in mind this is all models, theories and ways of describing (pretty accurately) how the world around us works. There may well be a point at which the lower levels gets to the point where the details are irrelevant to the conditions we experience.
It's a bit like asking "what happened before the big bang", it really doesn't matter (and in our concept of time, can't be answered), but if you consider the events to be "outside" the big bang, they could have no influence on events inside it, and thus are irrelevant to the models we need to predict our universe.
I realise now that I've waded so far out of my depth, I'm breathing through a straw, so I'll back out now.
I have a little theory on this... not based on any actual data, but would actually fit with actual probabilities...
ok, so the universe is expanding.., we have stars being born, living their lives, and exploding, some into super novas, some into red jiants, some into white dwarfs, and some into black holes...
black holes wander the cosmos, sucking up matter... it has a massive gravitational field so big that light cant escape...
as time goes by, when all the stars have burned themselves out, it is likely that all that will be left is black holes wandering about, smaller ones attracted to the larger ones .... (would one black hole consume another?)
eventually, I would imagine that there would be one black hole left, crushing and compressing the entire content of the known universe into a tiny particle with a enormous mass.... that well,,, explodes with a big bang.... scattering everything across the universe....
maybe this has happened before.... several times....
Actually (in theory) black holes evaporate, albeit very slowly for large ones. (In practice, we don't have any black holes that we can observe in enough detail to know). Anyway, as they evaporate they spit out photons, and so the end-point of the universe is a sea of stable particles, mostly photons, spread very thin by the expansion of space-time.
The other thing that seems to be happening is that the expansion of space-time is accelerating ("dark energy"). This is observational astronomy, not theory. This might mean that the ultimate end comes much sooner (relatively speaking - mere gigayears or terayears - tomorrow is unlikely but not impossible) when the velocity of every particle in the universe with repect to every other particle becomes greater than the speed of light. All interaction ceases, there are no events left to happen, the universe is done. Everything is past. Time, and "what happens next?", no longer have meaning.
(There's no ban in relativity on purely geometric speeds in excess of the speed of light - the framework can expand faster than the speed of light. That's why we talk of the known universe, because there may be parts of the whole universe that are receding from us at greater than the speed of light, which we'll never be able to see unless the expansion slows down or reverses).
This post has been deleted by its author
This post has been deleted by its author
As I understand it (as a non-expert) dark matter holds structures such as galaxies together while dark energy causes the accelerating expansion of the space-time in between the blobs of dark matter.
In addition, the nature of the "foaming" universe includes pairs of virtual particles that pop in and out of existence and that normally annihilate each other - except when they're sufficiently close to the event horizon of a black hole (naked singularity), at which point one of the pair may be captured and separated from the other sufficiently that the remnant virtual particle becomes real.
This seems to me to suggest that matter is constantly being added to space-time. If this happens outside a blob of dark matter, then there is presumably no real net effect - the new particles will simply move farther away from each other.
However, if it happens inside the blob of dark matter, then although black holes may evaporate over a long period of time (shorter if they're microscopic) there will be a constant supply of fresh matter, potentially capable of forming new solar systems and galaxies (with new black holes) within the increasingly isolated islands of dark matter.
There seems to be evidence for the existence of at least one or more additional dimensions (whether of space or time or both, I'm not sure), allowing the possibility of connections beyond our presently-observable universe, but whether that helps or hinders our ability to predict what is likely to happen, I don't know.
And now I can't remember where I was going with this...:)
It's also possible to have no end-point or start-point, if time, space and any other dimensions that may exist are all cyclic.
This is not a popular viewpoint, given the overwhelming evidence that about 20 Gyears ago, the entire universe was compressed into a very matter-dense, very hot, very small and very ordered volume. We call that the big bang. Nevertheless, it's huge leap from that, to assuming that it all originated in a mathematical singularity some tiny fraction of a second earlier. That's a leap from the unknown to the fundamentally un-knowable. From something that might one day be understood by observation and deduction, to something that absolutely cannot be.
I've often wondered if Godel's Theorem applies. If we consider physics model X to be a mathematical system in which questions can be asked and results proved, and if physics model X includes the ability to do arithmetic within the model (i.e. using experiments to do sums), then Godel's Theorem seems to imply that physics model X has to be either incomplete or inconsistent. Incomplete meaning some questions cannot be answered; inconsistent meaning you can solve the same problem two ways and get different results.
Science prevents physics model X from being inconsistent - if an inconsistency were found, it would be known to be a flawed model (c.f. physics model X = general relativity + standard model).
The universe's own physics is by definition complete - every experiment has a result.
So, if the true laws of physics are consistent, this seems to induce an infinite chain of physics models X,Y,Z, each a meta-model for the previous one (c.f. general relativity being a meta-model for Newtonian grativation) and each getting closer to, but never quite reaching, the truth.
OTOH, with quantum weirdness and all, it may be that the universe is not consistent (in the sense of Godel's Theorem) since the same question can give different answers at different times. In that case, there could be a complete theory of everything, only thanks to quantum weirdness.
And perhaps that ultimately explains why the universe has to have quantum weirdness.
Given what we know and what we theorize, the smallest things that make any sense to talk about are one Planck length big. That's about 1.6*10^35 meter - about 1/(5*10^19 ) of the "width" of a proton, so we have a long way to go before we get that small.
And the assumption that the Planck length is the limit is due to our current understandings of gravity and mass at small scales - and we KNOW we don't have a good theoretical model that merges General Relativity (gravity) with Quantum Mechanics (mass and small stuff). When we find that theory that lets us deal with both in the same set of equations without it blowing up in our face with infinities and negative probabilities, we may discover that you cannot get that small, or that you can get much smaller, or that there are more dimensions in Heaven and Earth than are drempt of in our philosophies.
"...questions about the spotted particle." , "...the spotted Higgs-like boson ..."
It is not certain that the spotted Higgs boson has been observed. It could be the lesser-spotted, the striped or the tufted boson. Further and more detailed observations and measurements are need.
This post has been deleted by its author
I was reading the other day in New Scientist that there are actaully already signs of anisotropy in the particle's decay, which lend support to supersymmetry.
The article is behind a paywall, but IIRC the general gist is that observations so far show more decays into pairs of photons and fewer into other particles (I think it was B-mesons) than expected for the Standard Model.
So we have the higgs field, which is what gives things mass, essentially defining them as things rather than just pretty lights, and the higgs boson which is the particle that transports the higgs field, which floods the universe and is everywhere, communicating this existence of mass...
... is it just me, or have they re-invented luminiferous aether?
Boffin 1: Ok, I divided this with this...and I've got a 3 left over.
Boffin 2: Hmmm. Long division wasn't my forte either.
B1: If I publish this, I'll look like a muppet who can't divide.
B2: I know - just pretend it's the sign of an "extra dimension". I've got a few sums that don't work either which I can bury in there too.
B1: But won't someone check our workings?
B2: Pfft. They're as good at long division as we are. Plus they don't have their own LHC to compare results to either.
B1: ..and it'll give us an excuse for the grant extension!
As a non-scientific type person - would that make me a noboff? - it's always struck me, in regards to the question of our universe's missing anti-matter, that the bleeding obvious answer would be a mirror anti-matter universe existing in parallel with our own.
The latest results from the LHC have confirmed my long-held theory about QED, the standard model and supersymmetry, namely that I'll never be able to understand them no matter how many simple analogies these so-called boffins come up with to try to explain things.
It's like trying to teach a caveman to play scrabble.
It's simple. Quantum effects are just exchanges. It's not a wave or a particle. It's just an exchange of information (or energy).
The Higgs exchanges the information or energy of mass in this case. A nice little Youtube video is here...
http://youtu.be/3_RhISgoXUs
(I had a mental block on QM and wave/particle stuff until I saw this video. :P )
It's my opinion that even those most intimately familiar with these theories and the experiments don't understand them. At least not in the way you're trying to.
The thing is that when you get this deep into it, you can't explain or understand it in terms of familiar, everyday examples and analogies and if you try to then you get an imperfect picture which breaks down very quickly, leaving you more confused than when you started.
I think one of the finest (and most essential) talents of physicists is the ability to just trust the numbers without needing to 'understand' them in the traditional sense. In the end I think that's what all of this is - a bunch of numbers and equations. The numbers and the equations work (and work very well) but they don't do you and me much good.
That's not, in any way, to lessen the achievements of this field - quite the contrary. Humans just aren't equipped to understand these things 'properly' so we do what we can which is to understand the sub-atomic universe through mathematics. It's a spectacular testament that, even faced with an impossible task (the understanding of reality on a fundamental level,) these scientists persist anyway and in doing so, advance our knowledge and quality of life.
SO I suppose the upshot is to just not worry - no one understands these things in that way - if they did then they could explain it to the rest of us without having to use long strings of otherwise unintelligible words. Like this from the wikipedia article on something to do with String Theory:
"These conditions imply that the first integral Chern class c1(M) of M vanishes, but the converse is not true. The simplest examples where this happens are hyperelliptic surfaces, finite quotients of a complex torus of complex dimension 2, which have vanishing first integral Chern class but the canonical bundle is not trivial."
That's a part of a description of a mathematical concept (a 'Calabi–Yau manifold') used as a part of string theory and is in itself something that is impossible to visualise and with no acceptable real-world analogies. The fact that such a concept even exists and its mathematics understood and in use it as mind boggling and impressive to me as (theoretical) object itself.
"The thing is that when you get this deep into it, you can't explain or understand it in terms of familiar, everyday examples and analogies"
Indeed - a mathematician friend once tried to begin an explanation for some system with: "Imagine a 2D space. Now a 3D space. OK? Now imagine an N-dimensional space where N is greater than ..."
We try our best to explain science stuff; it's often a fun challenge to squeeze a complex subject into one sentence. But that's for lunchtime reading, not all-night study.
C.
Non-scientists often ask for a simplified, non-mathematical explanation. What they don't understand is that the two adjectives are mutually contradictory. Mathematics is the simplest language we've got for describing how the universe works.
And no, we don't know why. Maybe God is a mathematician.
I'm reading flatland at the minute. Just got to the bit where the square explains to his grandson the relation between mathematics and geometry for 2D and the grandson asks if anything can be raised to the third. And I've seen Marcus De Sotoy's TV programme twice now where he tries to explain the hypercube in the Grande Arche in Paris, but I'm still not quite getting it.
What are the odds that someone will use the recently derived Higgs data to fix their version of the Standard Model, correct all those pesky infinities and end up with an equation that among other things leads to a method of building a device that jumps dimensions?
AC/DC
(most likely to be based on rotating magnetic fields interacting with a pair of counterrotating superconducting disks, with an accelerometer to tune the resulting gravitomagnetic interaction so it stabilises)
As a warning to all eastern members:
"How should we make it attractive for them [young people] to spend 5,6,7 years in our field, be satisfied, learn about excitement, but finally be qualified to find other possibilities?" -- H. Schopper
http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1127343?ln=en
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Spin_(public_relations)#Techniques
"The cost [...] has been evaluated, taking into account realistic labor prices in different countries. The total cost is X (with a western equivalent value of Y) [where Y>X]
source: LHCb calorimeters : Technical Design Report
ISBN: 9290831693 http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/494264
cheap eastern labour. dead-end carrier path.
How could the scientist possibly find the "higgs", as the velocity of the traveling particles is not 100% of light?
So the absolute total energy needed to produce, is already behind the eight ball?
And are they also forgetting the energy it takes the person/s to "see/find" the particle into the equation?
To get 100% of the results you first need 100% of the forces involved and not CLOSE TO.
ABSOLUTE ENERGY equals INPUT, OUTPUT and USAGE (A.E.I.O.U) or another way to put it E/m=c2.
Ssh, don't tell ConDem that, they will invent a "Quark Tax" or something similar to extract more money from the pockets of us poor taxpayers.
Its bad enough with "Envirowhiner taxes" aka petrol and diesel excise duty, rumour has it that the sale of electric vehicles has been reduced in the EU thanks to the Battery Directive making the resale of used packs illegal as they now have to be recycled at a designated company.
Let me please explain my self in the formula E/m=c2.
The ENERGY is DIVIDED THROUGH the MATTER.
And by the way, the total number of humans on the planet have now reached the toatal age of the universe (or very close to, so soon "will come of age"). To explain further, the combined total of hiumans (energy to forn YOU) and the total percieved age of the universe is equal. (utilizing the inner and outer enegy) so utilizing man produced physics all energy is exhausted, (besides the individaials perception).