Higgs Boson Hysteria – but no fireworks on the 4th of July

From CERN, another science press release with a “could” and “preliminary” caveat. Sigh. I expected fireworks. It is encouraging though. 5 sigma isn’t anything to sneeze at.

I have to wonder though, if the fact that CERN delayed this press release (from Monday when it became known) to today, the 4th of July, wasn’t a final dig at the legacy of the failed US effort with the superconducting supercollider. They write at the CERN page:

Higgs within reach

Our understanding of the universe is about to change…

The ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN today presented their latest results in the search for the long-sought Higgs boson. Both experiments see strong indications for the presence of a new particle, which could be the Higgs boson, in the mass region around 126 gigaelectronvolts (GeV).

The experiments found hints of the new particle by analysing trillions of proton-proton collisions from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2011 and 2012. The Standard Model of particle physics predicts that a Higgs boson would decay into different particles – which the LHC experiments then detect.

Event display showing particle tracks from a collision as seen by the CMS experiment

A proton-proton collision event in the CMS experiment producing two high-energy photons (red towers). This is what we would expect to see from the decay of a Higgs boson but it is also consistent with background Standard Model physics processes. © CERN 2012

Both ATLAS and CMS gave the level of significance of the result as 5 sigma on the scale that particle physicists use to describe the certainty of a discovery.

One sigma means the results could be random fluctuations in the data, 3 sigma counts as an observation and a 5-sigma result is a discovery. The results presented today are preliminary, as the data from 2012 is still under analysis. The complete analysis is expected to be published around the end of July.

The press release:

CERN experiments observe particle consistent with long-sought Higgs boson

Geneva, 4 July 2012. At a seminar held at CERN1 today as a curtain raiser to the year’s major particle physics conference, ICHEP2012 in Melbourne, the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented their latest preliminary results in the search for the long sought Higgs particle. Both experiments observe a new particle in the mass region around 125-126 GeV.

“We observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of 5 sigma, in the mass region around 126 GeV. The outstanding performance of the LHC and ATLAS and the huge efforts of many people have brought us to this exciting stage,” said ATLAS experiment spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti, “but a little more time is needed to prepare these results for publication.”

“The results are preliminary but the 5 sigma signal at around 125 GeV we’re seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found,” said CMS experiment spokesperson Joe Incandela. “The implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks.”

“It’s hard not to get excited by these results,” said CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci. “ We stated last year that in 2012 we would either find a new Higgs-like particle or exclude the existence of the Standard Model Higgs. With all the necessary caution, it looks to me that we are at a branching point: the observation of this new particle indicates the path for the future towards a more detailed understanding of what we’re seeing in the data.”

The results presented today are labelled preliminary. They are based on data collected in 2011 and 2012, with the 2012 data still under analysis.  Publication of the analyses shown today is expected around the end of July. A more complete picture of today’s observations will emerge later this year after the LHC provides the experiments with more data.

The next step will be to determine the precise nature of the particle and its significance for our understanding of the universe. Are its properties as expected for the long-sought Higgs boson, the final missing ingredient in the Standard Model of particle physics? Or is it something more exotic? The Standard Model describes the fundamental particles from which we, and every visible thing in the universe, are made, and the forces acting between them. All the matter that we can see, however, appears to be no more than about 4% of the total. A more exotic version of the Higgs particle could be a bridge to understanding the 96% of the universe that remains obscure.

“We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle’s properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe.”

Positive identification of the new particle’s characteristics will take considerable time and data. But whatever form the Higgs particle takes, our knowledge of the fundamental structure of matter is about to take a major step forward.

Contact:

CERN press office, press.office@cern.ch
+41 22 767 34 32
+41 22 767 21 41

Further information:

UPDATE: My friend John Coleman at KUSI-TV in San Diego has produced an interesting video report based on input from the WUWT thread. Watch it here

141 thoughts on “Higgs Boson Hysteria – but no fireworks on the 4th of July

  1. Well, it was 4.9 sigma, according to the webcast. :) They didn’t quite reach the level they were shooting for.

    And the spokesman stressed that it was very early days, and they still have a lot of work to do before they can isolate the new boson from the background.

    Granted, I am no expert on this, and most of what he said flew right by. Still, exciting to listen to those guys talking about the efforts they go through to ensure that they have a valid result.

  2. Sounds a bit like the warmists…
    I mean, they’ve found something “consistent” with the Higgs pariticle. It’s like the Higgs particle, it could be, maybe. Notice there is a huge publicity burst now, and the general feeling is that the Higgs has been found, which will justify funding.
    Expect this to be “walked back” slowly, when few are paying attention, it will dribble out, in the coming weeks and months. First, they’ll say, well, maybe not. And in some ways it’s inconsistent with…, in more ways than one it’s inconsistent, then, in most ways. Finally, it could not be. It isn’t. But people will still think pretty much that its been found, as little fanfare will accompany the walk back.

  3. My job today will be to cover this story for our TV newscast here in San Diego. I have read and read and have some understanding. However, my News Director wants me to tell our viewers what this will mean to them, our socieity and our civilization. Understanding the very basics of the physics of the Universe is exciting, but does it have any practical payoff? In medicene, electronics, transportation, will there be any pay off? I don’t have a hint of the answer to these questions. I ask for help from the smarter-than-me readers of WUWT. Thanks

  4. I just received an email from someone who works with the people over at CERN:

    With current data, they were unable to verify the spin-angular momentum or rates of different modes of decay. This means it could be the Higgs, or it could be any of a few even more interesting things. I kinda hope they walk it back upon discovering that it has half a unit of spin and decays only into W-bosons. That would imply a discovery of Supersymmetry instead.

    Don’t worry, Eric,
    If these guys have to walk it back, they will put out as much fanfare as possible because that would probably mean it’s something even more exciting.

  5. Actually (speaking as a particle physicist) the announcement is very well presented, and perfectly sound scientifically. They are not claiming too much, and are careful to say that this observation is consistent with what is expected for the Higgs (at least one strain of the theory) but aren’t jumping all over themselves like the press is. The actual scientific statements are suitably restrained. THIS is how science should be done – saying no more than the actual experimental evidence warrants.

    As to the timing of the announcement, Anthony, there is no cause to look for digs being made. The announcement was timed to coincide with the opening reception of the major international high energy physics conference, which happened to be held on July 4. No slam in the timing at all.

  6. Remind me what is the level of confidence for “very likely” that there is a Human influence on the climate?
    I have a vague recollection that it was rather less than 5 sigma.

  7. A victory of the standard model. Which brings up Lee Smolin’s book, “The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory”. He points out how the string theorists have dominated high energy physics/ cosmology through occupying the sources of funding and department politics. A situation he refers to as “sociology”. It a prime example of how a false consensus can be constructed in an academic environment.

  8. The thing I find interesting is that they expect this to lead to answering questions based on Dark Matter or Dark Energy. I have been following the evolution of the Electric Universe Theory for a while now over at http://www.thunderbolts.info. If this theory is correct (based on plasma physics and not on gravity) a lot of things will change. The one thing that does not appear to change is the shunning of academics who question the existing theory.

    According to the site, Wallis Thornhill proved that red shift is not representative of distance nor acceleration of stars away from the earth by looking at high redshift stars that in front of low red shift galaxies. The theory says there should not be any but the evidence shows otherwise. As a result he has been prevented from getting telescope time on some major facilities. Makes for interesting reading.

  9. “Sniffing success

    Fermilab’s Rob Roser, co-spokesperson for the Tevatron’s CDF experiment, said: “Our data strongly point toward the existence of the Higgs boson, but it will take results from the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe to establish a discovery.”

    Stefan Soldner-Rembold, professor of particle physics at the University of Manchester, told BBC News: “The evidence is piling up… everything points in the direction that the Higgs is there.”
    Continue reading the main story
    Statistics of a ‘discovery’
    Particle physics has an accepted definition for a discovery: a “five-sigma” (or five standard-deviation) level of certainty
    The number of sigmas measures how unlikely it is to get a certain experimental result as a matter of chance rather than due to a real effect
    Similarly, tossing a coin and getting a number of heads in a row may just be chance, rather than a sign of a “loaded” coin
    A “three-sigma” level represents about the same likelihood as tossing about eight heads in a row
    Five sigma, on the other hand, would correspond to tossing more than 20 in a row
    Independent confirmation by other experiments turns five-sigma findings into accepted discoveries

    He added: “At the Tevatron a lot of important work has been done over the last years… it has been essential for arriving at this stage.

    “So yes, the Tevatron experiments should get recognition for that, even though the LHC will be the collider to provide the final proof that the Higgs exists.”

    ————————–

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18677808

    AND I found this link interesting.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16116236

  10. Cern: “Our understanding of the universe is about to change…”.

    Sadly it isn’t. It would have done if they *hadn’t* found the Higgs. The Standard Model (ie: physics as normal) carries on at the moment, until they find something less expected.

    This is no disrespect to an extraordinary result. They are trying to confirm theoretical predictions with empirical data. Data that isn’t fiddled, fudged or fabricated. Certain climate advocates should look at this effort and hang their heads in shame.

  11. I’ll suspend judgement. I’m watching the show with interest, but I still remember that the solutions to the equations involve Legendre polynomials which show various possible spherical resonances. Since we’re playing with resonances in space-time, the whole thing is really fascinating.

    Figuring out that protons weren’t elementary particles was a big step forward. It was clear that neutrons weren’t since they’d been observed to decay into a proton, electron and neutrino. Getting the zoo under control let them try to see the rules of combination. That’s what all the gazillion electron volts are for, to force combinations to occur.

    Don’t forget, we’re still blind and trying to describe an elephant by feeling it. When you think that all of the Cosmos is made of this stuff, it’s really kind of cool, but understanding some of the rules is a long way from understanding the Cosmos.

  12. “They run the LHC on five wind turbines” Plus 3 dozen gerbils. Don’t forget the gerbils.

    By the way. Does GeV stand for a gazillion electron volts? Because that would be a lot.

  13. DirkH says:
    July 4, 2012 at 11:27 am

    The best part is, they run the LHC on five wind turbines.

    ————————–
    Are you sure?
    I heard it was underground solyndra solar panel arrays :)

  14. Leif Svalgaard says:
    July 4, 2012 at 11:01 am

    The complete analysis is expected to be published around the end of July.
    Then they should have waited until then with the press release.

    This is the presentation to the main HEP conference of each experiment.

    The complete analysis refers to combining correctly the results of the two independent experiments, CMS, and ATLAS, and this is expected for the end of July. If you go through the slides of the talks, and the work involved behind them, combining the two is not trivial.

  15. John Coleman says:

    “I ask for help from the smarter-than-me readers of WUWT. Thanks”

    I think you are asking for the moon. You have to take it on faith that all science progress eventually has benefits for mankind, if used intelligently and correctly. It also, because of politics and the inherent evil and greed of many men and women, can be used to mankind’s detriment.

    One classic example is the Laser. When discovered no one could think of a use for it but now clothes and decorative greetings cards are cut out with them along with a multitude of other uses. That doesn’t stop the armed forces using them as weapons or stupid youths trying to blind plane pilots with them.

    Of course the Higgs boson is much more fundamental, but the greater our understanding of fundamental particles the better chance there is for scientific advancement in other fields. You can’t stop human search for knowledge, it has proved so beneficial in the past.

    There is no way it is going to provide us with a new super washing machine or car, if that is what you are looking for!

    Tim.

  16. The director general of CERN said that for the layman, this is the Higgs. For the particle physicist, there is a lot more work to establish what kind of Higgs it is.

    The Standard Model as organized by the existing theory is so successful that a Higgs is inevitable. It is known though, from various values of the standard model parameters that the model is not complete, a larger theory/symmetry/what-have-you will be necessary for the TeV energies that the LHC is exploring . Candidate theories have more than one Higgs, as supersymmetry does, for example.

    The function of the underlying Higgs field which is the mechanism of generating the masses of all the SM particles, ( including this putative Higgs boson) will exist in any new theoretical proposal. The fashionable and more attractive to most is string theory with supersymmetry as part of it. More statistics will allow us to discriminate between alternate propositions .

  17. Question…From what I understand of this subject (which is admittantly less than nil), if they actually discovered what they are looking for, the source of the beginning of the universe, would we even know it or would the universe start over from scratch? ‘As it has happened before, it will happen again’ comes to mind.

  18. @ John Coleman says:
    July 4, 2012 at 11:02 am

    My job today will be to cover this story for our TV newscast here in San Diego. I have read and read and have some understanding. However, my News Director wants me to tell our viewers what this will mean to them, our socieity and our civilization. Understanding the very basics of the physics of the Universe is exciting, but does it have any practical payoff? In medicene, electronics, transportation, will there be any pay off? I don’t have a hint of the answer to these questions. I ask for help from the smarter-than-me readers of WUWT. Thanks
    ************************************************************
    If, and it’s a BIG IF, it is the real deal, AND if it can be controlled and subsequently rolled into Engineering it COULD result in the control of inertia. Which would be a very big deal indeed. Remember all those stories of UFO’s zipping around at monstrous accelerations? Control of inertia would permit that. 0 to light speed in nothing flat.

  19. John Coleman says: July 4, 2012 at 11:02 am
    …but does it have any practical payoff?

    If you can detect something then you are able to interfere with it.
    If you can interfere with it perhaps you can control it.
    If this can be controlled it would be a massive (no pun intended) leap forward.

    This thing is supposed to be the source (origin) of mass, and thus the attachment point for (or origin of) gravity.

    The ability to control this thing (if it is what they say AND it does what they think) could/might/would yield a control over the presence or absence of mass (gravity) at a location. Perhaps even create a negative mass region.

    Think electromagnetic as a parallel.

    So, the implications are vast (major league science fiction type stuff): Anti-gravity (electromagnet), Gravity wave weapons (radio), etc.

    Faster then light movement could be possible with a negative-mass region.

    Negative-mass region may explain the ‘spooky action at a distance’ in quantum mechanics.

    I don’t think that mass or gravity arises from this particle, but we shall see what they have to say.

  20. cui bono @ July 4, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Yeah, that was my thought. Our understanding of the universe is about to be confirmed. Well, OK, it narrows it down from a set of possibilities which have already been explored for their implications.

    But, maybe not a total yawner. If John Coleman wants a juicy story, well the Higgs boson is part of the mechanism which produces mass, and mass is what keeps us from being able to accelerate to speeds which would allow us to colonize the Solar System/Galaxy/Universe. So, maybe this is the first step on the path to a warp drive (well, a really fast drive, anyway, but warp drive is what captures popular imaginations).

  21. anna v says:
    July 4, 2012 at 11:52 am
    “The complete analysis is expected to be published around the end of July.
    Then they should have waited until then with the press release.”
    This is the presentation to the main HEP conference of each experiment.

    Fair enough, so it should have been just that, a presentation, a powerpoint or similar shown for the audience of HEP. Science by press releases is a poor thing, as the press usually gets it wrong.
    That said, it is comforting that the standard model still stands, although it would have been REALLY big news if they had not found anything.

  22. Eppur si muove
    Regardless Of Whatever Whoever Say Higgs Particle YOK

    Regardless Of Whatever Is Said By Whoever Says It –
    Higgs Particle YOK.

    S Hawking is simply wrong. Obviously wrong.
    Everyone who accepts the story of the Higgs particle is simply wrong.
    Plain commonsense. Singularity and the Big Bang MUST have happened with the smallest base universe particles, the gravitons, that MUST be both energy and mass, even if they are inert mass just one smallest fraction of a second. All mass formats evolve from gravitons, convert into energy i.e. extricate from gravitons clusters into mass formats in motion, energy, and end up finally as mass again in a repeat singularity. Universe expansion and re-contraction proceed simultaneously..

    Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)

    http://universe-life.com/

  23. Let’s see if I have this correct, the Higgs boson gives us mass, mass gives us density, density infers pressure via temperature, so… Higgs boson is the ultimate source of all supposed “Global Warming”…. and they are going to create lots of those bosons in that LHC from now on for us bozos. Leif, that PR just couldn’t wait. (:-<) /sarcoff

    Happy 4th.

  24. @Eric, you wrote: “I mean, they’ve found something “consistent” with the Higgs pariticle. It’s like the Higgs particle, it could be, maybe. Notice there is a huge publicity burst now, and the general feeling is that the Higgs has been found, which will justify funding. Expect this to be “walked back” slowly, when few are paying attention, it will dribble out, in the coming weeks and months.”

    This is a LOT more careful than the warmists. The headlines for warmists would be
    * “New Particle Closes the Case” ; or
    * “Why One-Sigma Means No More Snow;”
    * “Honest Skepticism No Longer Possible after Higgs Discovery;'” or
    * “Will Canada Survive the new Particle? Our Brutal Future;” or
    * “Higgs Particle Causes More Volcanoes. Scientists Rush to Save World.”

  25. @Eric: And of course, the most important one–“Higgs Amplifies CO2 Sensitivity. Only One Month Left. Massive Research Funding Urgently Needed. ”

    University of Virginia scientists plugged the newly discovered Higgs boson into their climate models and the results are sobering. The Earth’s climate sensitivity to CO2 increases to 2,365,444.666689032 +/- .000000002. Mickey Man, prominent climate scientist, said: “Higgs Amplification is burning up the American West. Although I know nothing about statistics, these 4.9 sigma results are incredibly significant and irrefutable. They mean that the Earth will burn up next month. 4.9 sigma finishes the case. No further discussion should be allowed–only funding. The hockey-puck is flying straight up! It’s almost as if the Higgs puts a rocket on the puck.”

  26. I heard a line the other night on a syndicated Numb3rs episode from “mathematician Charles Epps” that fits in so well with “climate science”, also applying to the Higgs boson search, that I wrote it down:

    I have a theory and it’s far too elegant to not be true.

  27. The amount of Noodly Appendages depicted seems to be the final, irrefutable empirical evidence of the existence of God (as a particle) for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  28. @ John Coleman says:
    July 4, 2012 at 11:02 am

    http://www.lhc.ac.uk/About+the+LHC/11837.aspx

    Technological spin-offs:
    “Many technologies developed for use at CERN find their way into everyday use – the most famous is the World Wide Web, developed by Sir Tim Berners Lee while he was working at CERN.”

    “In the most recent development proton accelerators are now being adopted for hadron therapy. The advantage of protons is that they deposit all their energy in the same place, making them ideal for treating tumours near to delicate organs.”

    In 2013 the LHC will close for maintenance. When the experiment is started again in 2014/15 the LHC will be running at much higher energy and physicists will be hoping to discover something about dark matter.

    http://www.lhc.ac.uk/The%20Particle%20Detectives/21st%20Century%20Time%20Machine/13687.aspx

  29. I thot for a moment I heard a muffled giggling, followed by a long sad sigh; emanating from a grave marked Ockham over in a Franciscan Convent in Munich …….seems like another particle is way too many now. I suspect the efforts to avoid Dirac’s math are becoming exponentially more convoluted. In Biblical exegetical circles the phenomenon is called “proof texting.” In allopathic medicine, it is called treating the side effects…Ah…guess I’ve been reading a bit too much Hotson, and others….

  30. WTF, they weren’t looking for the ‘scource of the universe’, they were looking for the Higgs – hence the news.

  31. This is not a trivial achievement.

    It is the first real result after decades of work by thousands of people from all over the world..

    If you watched the presentation you would have seen that the reaction of the audience was like the reaction in a football field when a goal is made. Somebody made that comment (Higgs? he was present there) at the time, that one would not expect a physics lecture to be like a football gathering!

    Now as far as applications, the spin offs from this research should be enough to satisfy any industry. Just consider the computing GRID that made the analysis possible, distributed in tens of labs the world over, it may change computing the way the world wide web ( spin off from the LEP experiments) revolutionized communications. Also in supeconducting magnets, in radiation hard materials and electronics, etc.etc.

    I am sure that nobody in the 19th century could have foreseen the tremendous importance of Maxwell’s equations to the progress of civilization. The basic research of one age becomes the technology of the next, and hopefully this trend will continue as we unravel the mysteries of nature.

  32. My two cents (adjusted for inflation):
    1. Had no idea what a Higgs boson was until they said they think they’ve found it. Still don’t.
    2. I remember a similar excitement gripping society as Geraldo cracked open Al Capone’s secret vault.

  33. I think the CERN folk would like July 4th to be known in future as “Higgs Day”.

    Pretty neat to have a day named after the particle that gives mass to everything in the Universe ;-)

    I think we should have a worldwide holiday on Higgs Day from now on – this is something we can all celebrate…

  34. For John Coleman. For you others, please be gentle with me if there are inaccuracies below – I do not claim to be an authority on any of this.

    For examples of “very basics … physics of the Universe … practical payoff”, look at quantum theory and Einstein’s theory of relativity (no, I don’t know if it’s the general or special theory)..

    Quantum Mechanics:
    The transistor – radios, integrated circuits, the computer.
    Lasers – CDs players, light-speed comms, DIY range finders and spirit levels!
    LEDs – flat screen TVs and mobile device screens, low energy lighting.
    The electron microscope
    MRI scans

    Relativity:
    The clocks in GPS satellites run slower than on earth because they are moving quickly in orbit – a relativistic effect. GPS would not work without compensating for this.

    Uses of the Higgs? Inertia-less travel? Pure speculation, but isn’t it fun trying to predict the future?

  35. “It is entirely possible that there may be as many elementary particles as there is funding available to investigate them.” David Berlinski, “The Devil’s Delusion”, p. 53.

  36. “Ah. There’s your problem. You listen to crackpots who don’t know what they are talking about.”

    but of course. They are uncritically reading WUWT – what else would you expect?

  37. By the underlying tone of comments on the article, it is apparent how much damage Global warming has done to the credibility of scientific community. If at all, It will take very long to win the trust of the people – not mine.

    Identifying and exposing the black sheep will go long way in helping repair the damage.

  38. John Coleman said on July 4, 2012 at 11:02 am:

    My job today will be to cover this story for our TV newscast here in San Diego. I have read and read and have some understanding. However, my News Director wants me to tell our viewers what this will mean to them, our socieity and our civilization. Understanding the very basics of the physics of the Universe is exciting, but does it have any practical payoff? In medicene, electronics, transportation, will there be any pay off? I don’t have a hint of the answer to these questions. I ask for help from the smarter-than-me readers of WUWT. Thanks

    It will not give us a device that will power your entire home that’s the size of your thumb.

    It will not cure cancer.

    For physicists it is one confirmation of a model of how our universe works. Many more confirmations are needed.

    But the technology that was developed for the search will ripple outwards, lead to more developments, and make the lives of your children and grandchildren a little easier.

  39. Since the Higgs has been hypothesised since 1964, the physics world has had nearly 50 years to contemplate the Higgs field, contemplate how it gives mass. So confirming something that you suspected to be true 50 years ago, moves physics into greater understanding, exactly how?

  40. I can’t say that I can comprehend the implications of finding a “Higgs Boson” but I am very pleased with the implications of my wife’s experiences with Braxton Hicks 21+ years ago.

  41. I hope they really did find the Higgs boson particle; however at the same time we need to have some doubt and everything must be double checked by outside scientists including some with doubts about it. While this may take years, open review of everything and verification makes for the most solid science we can have. (Unlike AGW research.)

  42. So their announcement is basically “bring more money.”

    The Higgs field sounds like a rehash of the ether; a medium like molasses that drags on everything requiring force to overcome; and voilla ! mass happens. Sans mass, no force is needed.

    But didn’t old Isaac tell us that absent force, and a particle would just kep moving forever; unless it is already stopped, and Einstein, said there isn’t any stopped or even a place to stop.

    So how does the heaviest particle bring mass to the lightest of particles, Rocks are not made out of mountains; usually it’s ‘tother way round.

    But hey, I’m a believer. Too many PhDs over there for me to not believe; at least one of them must be within 5 sigmas of knowing.

  43. Nice to see Anna v popping up there on this first Higgs Day. Anna, if you say this is cool, that is good enough for me; I figure, you are the expert. Must make you feel good, that something new, may have finally come out of what you had a career in.

    George

  44. Climategate has spoiled this moment somewhat. I want to believe, but these days science is a publically funded, globetrotting strawberry social. As an engineer, I would knock it down a couple of sigma just because the two teams together have 5000 physicists on the payroll (they’ve got to say something for the cash burned up and to come), more than 100 times as many as those who discovered anything of significance in the last 500 years. The rest of the model was put together by about half a dozen self funded individuals using candlelight, crow quill pens, logarithms, long division and elegant brassy instruments with screw posts for wires. They had a penchant for itchy tweeds instead of white labcoat uniforms that really identify technologists.

    The science is starved for something new. Dark matter and strings are what happen when you get such a long drought in a science’s productivity. You also get excursions into global warming and purloining of what is properly engineering (there are no rocket scientists folks). As you can see, I’m going for Skeptic of the Year.

  45. Vince Causey says:
    July 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    “So confirming something that you suspected to be true 50 years ago, moves physics into greater understanding, exactly how?”

    It directs effort and resources away from theories which will not bear fruit to those which may.

  46. “US effort with the superconducting supercollider”

    TIME magazine called it the “$5.3 billion GIZMO” and I cancelled my subscription.

  47. “””””Tim says:

    July 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    John Coleman says:

    “I ask for help from the smarter-than-me readers of WUWT. Thanks”

    I think you are asking for the moon. You have to take it on faith that all science progress eventually has benefits for mankind, if used intelligently and correctly. It also, because of politics and the inherent evil and greed of many men and women, can be used to mankind’s detriment.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    One classic example is the Laser. When discovered no one could think of a use for it but now clothes and decorative greetings cards are cut out with them along with a multitude of other uses. That doesn’t stop the armed forces using them as weapons or stupid youths trying to blind plane pilots with them <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    Can YOU cite a reference for that statement Tim ?? Long before there was a LASER, there was the MASER; Microwave AMPLIFICATION by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, which was a very useful coherent microwave amplifier. As result, of its usefulness, there was a very competitive and active SEARCH for a method for applying the methodology at Optical frequencies; not for disco bar amusement, but for increased bandwidth communications. The search was largely unsuccessful; lasers didn't simply fall off the back of a turnip truck, in fact initially they didn;t happen at all; the conditions required were too stringent.

    Instead, what did happen was the LOSER. Light OSCILLATION by stimulated emission of radiation. Yes a useful source of coherent waves at optical frequencies, but only coherent over centimetres to maybe a few metres, but a rather unstable system not capable of actually amplifying coherently, a small optical frequency signal.
    So the laser (misnamed) was the result of an active search; much as the top quark and now maybe to 4.9 sigmas, the Higgs.

    Today we do have light amplifiers, and they were NOT a solution in search of a problem.

  48. High energy particle physics now appear to have more in common with our Supreme Court and Emanations from the Penumbra!!

  49. When wsbriggs [@ July 4, 2012 at 11:35 am] says, “… the equations involve Legendre polynomials which show various possible spherical resonances. Since we’re playing with resonances in space-time …”, I suddenly realize what we are really dealing with here is a ‘mathematical illusion’ or, dare I say it, a ‘computer model’ of ‘reality’.
    “Space” can be perfectly represented (mathematically) by 3 dimensions; “x, y & z”. But “Time” is a different type of concept entirely; an ‘apple’, if you will, to Space’s ‘cat’.
    While it is perfectly possible to ADD the Number of apples and the Number of cats in a room to obtain the total Number of “cat-apples”, there is no benefit to be derived in believing that a “cat-apple” is a delicious or cuddly new natural product. The number represents no recognizable thing, other than a mathematical concept, one step removed from sensible reality – an ‘abstraction’ called “total-number”.
    It is certainly possible to write a mathematical equation involving ‘x, y, z & t’, and the result may well tell us something about “cat-apples”, but are we any the wiser for this ‘knowledge’.
    Think about it.
    This is no better than a ‘computer model’ of an atmosphere which includes no analogue of ‘clouds’?
    The analogue of the ‘missing clouds’ in the current physical model of the universe is the ‘aether’. Einstein knew this but could not understand what it could be like. I believe Dr Harold Aspden [RIP] did understand. See his published works here.

  50. One sigma means the results could be random fluctuations in the data, 3 sigma counts as an observation and a 5-sigma result is a discovery.

    Ah, I see now!

    So Climate Scientology is still about the 1 sigma, then…?

  51. Tim says:
    July 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    One classic example is the Laser. When discovered no one could think of a use for it but now clothes and decorative greetings cards are cut out with them along with a multitude of other uses. That doesn’t stop the armed forces using them as weapons or stupid youths trying to blind plane pilots with them.

    And communications, surely? Come on, this interwebby thingy pretty much runs on optical fibre comms these days, and these use Lasers.

  52. Curiousgeorge says:
    July 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    If, and it’s a BIG IF, it is the real deal, AND if it can be controlled and subsequently rolled into Engineering it COULD result in the control of inertia. Which would be a very big deal indeed. Remember all those stories of UFO’s zipping around at monstrous accelerations? Control of inertia would permit that. 0 to light speed in nothing flat.

    Yes, this has been my very basic understanding of the technology we may be able to leverage from this. Basically, if we work out how mas is ‘created’ and how gravity works, it gives us the possibility of controlling it.

    It’s a long way, but it was a long way from E=MC^2 to things going ‘bang’ in a very large way (and nuclear power). I would expect a similar timescale, but then again technology is always accelerating. If we can prevent a decay of technology back to the middle ages, we might be OK…..

    One amusing aside is that if this is possible (and if it is, I think someone will figure out a way), then the Space Elevator becomes irrelevant. I can see a half-built SE left floating a a testament to the folly of investing in existing technology when new technology is emerging. But maybe that is just me being cynical.

  53. Who wrote this cr@p! And I don’t mean Crop! So, it’s a discovery, at the 5 sigma level… they think! They think!? They will tell us more at the end of the month!? After more data? Then it’s not a discovery, right!? Ugh?

    Anyone know the politics behind this exasperating announcement?

  54. A response to Mr. Coleman:

    You ask: “Understanding the very basics of the physics of the Universe is exciting, but does it have any practical payoff?”

    Other people here have given you essentially two classes of answer, both, I think, reasonable:

    1 – that progress in basic physics always has had unexpected, but positive, consequences for engineered product development; and,

    2 – that confirmation of the existence and effect of the Higgs/Anderson field opens some highly speculative avenues – including several that could lead to FTL and other future technologies dependent on the ability to nullify the field – for future research.

    In addition, however, I’d like to suggest several other consequences:

    1 – confirmation will shut down research based on alternatives which do not allow for the higgs and thus free money and talent for other efforts.

    2 – what we seem to have is conditional, highly caveated, confirmation that almost, but not quite, fits the current standard model. Those deviations, especially those noted by the fermi labs people, may be the most important results here – ultimately allowing somebody somewhere to break the mental logjams physics has faced since pretty much the late 1930s.

  55. I confidently predict that within the next fifty years scientists will use a high energy collider to shatter the Higgs Boson into it’s component particles.

  56. If it takes tremendous (Big Bang-like energy) to produce a Higgs boson, and it instantly decays, does that mean there are presently no Higgs bosons left? Is it just the remaining Higgs field that exists now?

  57. From George E. Smith on July 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm:

    So their announcement is basically “bring more money.”

    Given the state of the economies that support CERN, the initial costs of building the LHC and of fixing it after the earlier blowup, with no guarantee it won’t happen again, expected future costs, and that the old US Tevatron essentially also found the same at a much cheaper cost except to a lower confidence interval, the message is more “It wasn’t a huge waste of money!”

    Remember the old line, whenever someone understands the universe it will be immediately replaced with one that’s more bizarre. Every time the theorists get close, are certain they have it, they find the quirk, the discrepancy, the exception, that leads to a “new understanding” where What Was Known is expanded into one specific case of something far grander and much more complex.

    That’s the nature of this reality, this trap, which is itself only one of a potentially infinite number of realities, each with their own rules and physical constants. With all of them as part of something larger, which will require even grander theories to comprehend. Etc. Oh well, at least we all have one method of seeing for ourselves if there really is something greater than what we’ve perceived and have theorized about, that we’ll all use someday.

  58. “John Coleman says:
    July 4, 2012 at 11:02 am
    My job today will be to cover this story for our TV newscast here in San Diego. I have read and read and have some understanding. However, my News Director wants me to tell our viewers what this will mean to them, our socieity and our civilization. Understanding the very basics of the physics of the Universe is exciting, but does it have any practical payoff? In medicene, electronics, transportation, will there be any pay off? I don’t have a hint of the answer to these questions. I ask for help from the smarter-than-me readers of WUWT. Thanks”

    Scary question John! Others here have posted relevant information.

    Practical payout? You mean instant gratification? Play down that aspect if at all possible. Our understanding of the inner workings of the atom’s particles is roughly equivalent to the early workings of chemistry as it evolved definitively from alchemy. As Newton (and others) knew there must be something more, still he was forced to use the tools available at his time.

    There is a distinct advantage now though. Instead of scientists just suspecting more, the do know more; the tools are not current to their knowledge so they are working on the tools. Once the tools work (for example, definitive Higgs-Bosun information) then true progress can begin. That is, until the next major obstacle is met.

    Remember, it took millenia for mankind to work out how to use the power from steam. It has only been decades since Einstein’s e=MC2 paper and fewer decades have passed since Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation was postulated. The greater the barrier to overcome, the greater the reward, hopefully.

  59. The God particle… a term of a borrowed ladder.
    So why the term “God” particle, especially CAPITALIZED, as if it is a proper noun?

    If you want to make something sound important, you give it an important name!!! I find it deliciously amusing and ironic that a collection of godless scientists would steal the name of the Creator to lend credibility to an otherwise modest step in the progression of scientific understanding of how things work. Really folks… it ain’t that big a deal.

    This is exactly what happens when socialist governments fund “big science” projects. CERN Hadron collider is a big expensive tool that cost a fortune. How do you justify that? You can’t. So you have to use hyperbole.

    The UN… did the exact same thing with Global Warming. They pumped unspeakable amounts of money into a money redistribution scheme and created a mutual self-stimulation orgy of sycophant “scientists” to worship the creation of this new god…global warming. Look what it turned into.

    Pleaaaase people…. the Higgs Boson is the name. Ok…. it is there. Big Wow. It isn’t THE God particle. There will be more particles and only an arrogant self aggrandizing fool would believe that this is the ultimate accomplishment of science.

    It is a step. Just like Roentgen except Roentgen did way more with way less.

    I refuse to get on the “god particle” band wagon and reach my hand in to massage the muscles of the CERN mega-project priests. They think it is a big deal… They need us tho think that too to keep the money flowing in the midst of the collapse of the world economies.

    You wouldn’t want to let “God” down now would you? Open you wallets and pay the CERN priests.

    Scientists have to learn to speak accurately and modestly about their work. This announcement is neither accurate nor modest.

    So take that with a lead balloon draped in a wet blanket.

  60. beng says:
    July 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm
    If it takes tremendous (Big Bang-like energy) to produce a Higgs boson, and it instantly decays, does that mean there are presently no Higgs bosons left? Is it just the remaining Higgs field that exists now?

    The Higgs boson (if it exists) would be important as a virtual particle. Such particles have an effect even though they don’t ‘exist’.

  61. Paul Westhaver says:

    The God particle… a term of a borrowed ladder.
    So why the term “God” particle, especially CAPITALIZED, as if it is a proper noun?

    (I don’t know exactly how to do quoting properly here)
    That’s the term used because that’s the title of a popular book about the particle. According to the Guardian, which while unreliable about anything politicized may be okay for non-politicized details, the original title was “The Goddamn Particle”.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/30/higgs.boson.cern

    The name was chosen to market something, but it was the book, not the research.

  62. @Josualdo
    Very observant! Also appropriate to go with the various other comments about a God particle.

  63. In your Cern link: “According to theory, the Higgs mechanism works as a medium that exists everywhere in space. Particles gain mass by interacting with this medium.”
    Well, maybe that makes sense. But that reminds me a b it of the “luminiferous ether”, you know, that medium thru which light was supposed to be propagated? (before the Michelson-Morley experiment, and Einstein).

  64. Peter Kenny: I think the better analogy is in the Higgs field that is supposed to result from this particle’s virtual existence. The field is much like the interacting electromagnetic field that propagates light, only the Higgs field interacts to give mass and gravity. I don’t know where exactly this ether language got dragged into the discussion, but there really is no analogue in the theory. A field is not a medium, but may induce force, in this case the force of gravity and inertia. In the electric field it is electric force, magnetic field – the magnetic force though we state that those are intertwined and the particle related is the photon. In the same way, in the case of gravity/inertia, the particle is the Higgs boson. I still have a harder time visualizing the concept of the Higgs than I do the photon, as the property of a photon looks like a “particle” of light. I can’t get a similar feel for the Higgs creating gravity,

  65. JPY- You make an egregious error with that leap of illogic. One commenter at a site with an enormous number of readers apparently suffices in your mind to indict some unspecified portion (presumably all) as “uncritical” and imply that readers here are reading crackpottery. The only person I can be sure is incapable of critical thinking is you. On the other hand one would certainly expect that the great mass of blog readers here would perhaps learn something by visiting sites on the blog roll. I suspect the majority of blog readers have no opinions about high energy physics but it would behoove them, if they want to be informed, not to pay attention nonsense from Smolin. I am sure you and he would get along quite well, being purveyors of ignorance.

    I dare any blog reader to take their criticisms of physics, and I do see quite a few of you, to the blog of an actual physicist (The Reference Frame, it’s on the blog roll) and see how far you get. If you have no criticism of physics, check it out anyway if you want good information about this and other things.

  66. George E. Smith;
    July 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm
    Hi George
    I still look in here every day, but am now more busy on a physics blog. The AGW aka Climate Change aka Climate disruption is no longer fascinating for me except sociologically. The science and data are more or less settled in my mind :) .

  67. Peter Kenny says:
    July 4, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    “In your Cern link: “According to theory, the Higgs mechanism works as a medium that exists everywhere in space. Particles gain mass by interacting with this medium.”
    Well, maybe that makes sense. But that reminds me a bit of the “luminiferous ether”, you know, that medium thru which light was supposed to be propagated? (before the Michelson-Morley experiment, and Einstein).”

    It is a bit, except, and it is a big exception , the mathematical construction/form is such that it is Lorenz invariant, i.e. the velocity of light is constant in all frames. The luminiferous ether was not.

  68. Paul Westhaver
    July 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm ,

    and all detractors of this great rejoicing in the physics community, please keep in mind what I said before:thousands of people for decades have worked on this project hoping to find new unseen physics that would progress our knowledge of the microcosm and not only.

    It is a huge effort in time and space . I myself worked on part of this from 1997 to 2001 when I retired. My work was acknowledged by signing the detector paper together with another 3000 people. This is group work of the order of building pyramids or Parthenons. And it is not nine to five work. For most of them it is work consuming all their intellect and resources.

    Please view it as such and not attribute it to hysteria or ulterior financing motives . If you watch sports, would you call hysteric the people who rejoice at a success? It is part of the human group makeup and this is a group of highly educated and intelligent people yoked together for a common goal. Of course they rejoice and shout it to the treetops.

  69. Peter Kenny says:
    July 4, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    “In your Cern link: “According to theory, the Higgs mechanism works as a medium that exists everywhere in space. Particles gain mass by interacting with this medium.”
    Well, maybe that makes sense. But that reminds me a bit of the “luminiferous ether”, you know, that medium thru which light was supposed to be propagated? (before the Michelson-Morley experiment, and Einstein).”

    In addition to Anna’s comment:
    We also have good reason to believe that something sharing at least one property with the Higgs (a type of interaction) is present everywhere. The fact that the interaction-particles of the Weak nuclear force have mass implies that there is a symmetry in the high-energy limit which then breaks at lower energies. That (“Electroweak symmetry breaking”, or “EWSB”) implies that some particle is screwing it up at low energies, which implies that it appears, at least as a virtual particle, spontaneously in low-energy vacuum. That field of non-zero probability of the presence of virtual particles which screw up the Weak force is the medium in question.

  70. Someone mentioned that advancement of technology is accelerating. Indeed, it is, the slope is exponential if you look at processing capability. My first “computer” was an Atari with perhaps a n effective capability of a few Mflops. At my desk where I work (really just a table), I command a 4+ Tflop machine. Our lab has many of these machines, to the tune of something like 50-75 kW of power (they had to put in a new transformer last week due to the load) with rarely even 10 developers working at a time. This progress took about 25 years (Atari to Tesla release).

    If you read Kurzweil, he thinks this pace will continue and we will soon (2020-2030 IIRC) reach a singularity at which point none of this will matter. I wonder if he is correct… will our ability to process information outstrip the rate at which we discover it? Will we then know all that is knowable? Will we be bored? Will beer still be so good?

    Mark

  71. John Coleman
    The premise of your request or that of your editor is wrong. The benefits of understanding the science of particle physics are their own reward. Journalists look for value from the results of scientific research rather than the benefits of the result itself to the science. In today’s climate of climate research the knowledge that comes from the research has to have political and economic values and implications. The benefit of scientific breakthroughs such as the Higgs boson experiments is the new knowledge gives an opportunity to build confidence in the results and a hook to grab deeper understandings of the science of particle physics. If the justification for spending money to conduct research in particle physics demands an immediate societal payback, the public will be disappointed. For example, the application of principles derived from mathematical research often take years of additional mathematical research to provide a payback long after the mathematician has retired or has died. But the breakthrough paid off because of how is was assimilated into the field of mathematical knowledge and used in subsequent research. I doubt that Newton issued a press research claiming the benefits of understanding gravity which it later turned out that his idea were radically corrected by Einstein. Even if he had released a blurb to the press, would that knowledge really have changed anything in people’s lives? The benefits of verifying the existence of the Higgs boson won’t immediately change people’s lives but it is a tremendous breakthrough for understanding particle physics. That knowledge combined with the fabric the rest of quantum and gravitational physics greatly alter the application of physics to life on this planet or on other planets.

  72. Belgians Francosis Englert & recently deceased Robert Brout were first in publishing the “Boson” particle theory in August 1964; followed within a month by Peter Higg’s “Physics Letter” treastise.
    A 1972 US National Accelerator Laboratory symposium is where “Higgs” boson appellation took hold.

  73. I would like to make a relatively short statement, for the record.

    On pages of this blog and elsewhere, I expressed, several times, my disbelief in certain dogmas of the “mainstream” cosmology. Namely, I don’t believe in the Big Bang, in so-called “dark matter” and “dark energy,” in the commonly accepted interpretation of the red shift, and in the accelerating expansion of the Universe. I still hold these views. Being a music composer and a translator, I am not prepared to give a detailed physical explanation of the observed phenomena but it is obvious even to a layman today that astronomical observations contradict the “consensus cosmology.”

    Having said this, I must make the following important reservation.

    On pages of this blog and elsewhere, several people proposed to me and to others that a suitable explanation of above-mentioned contradictions between observed phenomena and widely accepted theories is given by the so-called “Electric Universe Theory.” Since I am instinctively predisposed to suspect any “theory of everything,” I wasn’t inclined to engage into analyzing this theory. I had a feeling that, like many other simplistic “theories of everything,” it would prove to be a sham.

    Today I overcame my internal resistance, and read with attention a synopsis describing fundamental tenets of the so-called “Electric Universe Theory.” I am glad that my premonitions were true.

    The “Electric Universe Theory” is a sham of the first degree, on par with Hubbard’s Scientology. It has nothing to do with serious science. I don’t want to be associated with this theory in any way or form. I pray everybody who reads my occasional comments in this blog to remember that Alexander Feht and the “Electric Universe Theory” are two things incompatible and mutually repulsive.

    Thank you for your attention.

    P.S. As to the Higg’s boson, I don’t know. Too little information, too many premature conclusions. As long as it’s existence doesn’t contradict the logic of the Unitary Symmetry of the elementary particles, I wouldn’t mind it’s existence. I magnanimously allow it to exist if it wants to. Let it be…

  74. Higgs or no Higgs or some other Higgs, but nobody can convince me that the Universe was created from a substance smaller than a pea 13 billion+ years ago in a large “explosion”. How can you have a theory about the creation of something you don’t even understand or can measure because the further out you look the more you detect without reaching any outer limit. I cannot be convinced that all the volume and weight of material already detected could just emanate from a “pea” in some particular place of a vast empty space (plus perhaps infinitely more – because nobody knows where the outer limit is if there is one).

  75. To me this has all the hallmarks of a ‘we found the part of the brain that handles philosophical thought’ based on fMRI malarki.

    You take an enormous amount of noise, presuppose there has to be signal X in it, build a statistical filter that has to find X, refine it over time and hey presto! The signal you designed it to find is there.
    Surprise, surprise. Btw, is funding drying up due to worldwide recession?

    Color me skeptical.

  76. Mark T;
    If you read Kurzweil, he thinks this pace will continue and we will soon (2020-2030 IIRC) reach a singularity at which point none of this will matter. >>>>

    Color me raging skeptic on that one. Computers do exactly what the programs tell them to do (which is frequently not what you wanted them to do). The notion that due to huge increases in processing speed they will at some point make the leap to intelligence, or consciousness, or some cognitive state that we poor humans cannot grasp or comprehend is ludicrous.

    Further, Moore’s Law (transister count on an integrated circuit doubles every 24 months and processing power doubles every 18 months) is essentially broken already. CPU’s stopped getting a whole lot faster a few years ago. Processing power that you can buy in a single computer has continued to increase, not because the cpu’s are a whole lot faster, but because we’re stuffing multiple cpu’s (cores) into one big chip, plus each core is “multi threaded” so can run more than one task at the same time provided that the software was written to take advantage of this feature.

    The problem relates to the speed of light. We can make the cpu’s go faster, but there’s no point because we can’t feed them data fast enough to use the speed. We cannot move data from mass storage (disk drives or in highly scalable environments storage arrays) to the cpu any faster than the speed of light. So, making many small cpu’s and letting each one do multiple computing tasks at the same time gives us the illussion of additional processing power. What is really happening is that the cpu’s are working on Problem A for a few clock cycles, and then on Problem B for a few clock cycles, and while Problem B is being worked on, the next chunk of data required for problem A has had the opportunity to arrive.

    This problem actually has “tiers”. The cpu has a certain amount of memory or cache right on the chip. Blazing fast, close to the cpu so speed of light limitations don’t impart a massive latency. Next is RAM. Not as fast as cpu cache, and further from the cpu, so higher latency, but still faster than mass storage which for the most part these days is spinning rust. Yes, yes, I know, SSD’s (solid state disks) are becoming economical, but they are not the panacea that people think. Like all technologies, they do some things better than others. High IOPS the SSD wins hands down. Need to move massive amounts of data in big streams? Spinning rust is faster.

    The technocrats will probably jump in and start saying yes, but you can do pipelining, and de-duplicated cache, and so on, and that is true. But at day’s end, until we have a cure for the speed of light, we’re actually pushing the bounds of processing power because we just cannot move data fast enough to the cpu’s.

    Interestingly, this problem was identified by a physicist named Grace Hopper, who was a programmer working on the earliest computers ever for the US Navy. She invented things like the compiler that have changed the face of computing for decades. She predicted that computers would reach the limit of processing power due to the speed of light limiting data transfer in (if memory serves) the late 40’s or early 50’s. Back then, computers were constructed of physical relays, and she was already explaining that the smaller the computers could be made, the faster they would go, and she was correct. (she also tracked down an arithmetic error due to a moth that got stuck between the contacts of a relay, pasted it into her lab book with clear cellophone tape, and wrote the now famous words “first bug found”)

  77. John Peter,

    Priests of the consensus will tell you that all the space and all the time were contained in that “singularity” at the moment of Creation (a.k.a. the “Big Bang”) — so there was no “empty space around it,” it was the space-time itself.

    But you are right, they are talking nonsense. The Universe as we see it IS that singularity. The abstraction called “time” is an effect of observation (a way to use cyclical processes to compare various manifestations of entropy within the system of coordinates small enough for space-time curvature to be negligible).

    Time is a component of space-time, separated from the space only in our imagination, not in reality. It is as elastic as space, and changes with the intensity of the gravitational field. In other words, gravity is a function of the change of the rate of time (not of the amount of time but of the rate of time). Hence, the farther from the intense gravitational field is the generator of synchronizing signals, the higher the frequency of these signals for the observer receiving them within the intense gravitational field.

    There could not have been a beginning of something that doesn’t really exist.

  78. Paul Murphy says:

    2 – what we seem to have is conditional, highly caveated, confirmation that almost, but not quite, fits the current standard model. Those deviations, especially those noted by the fermi labs people, may be the most important results here – ultimately allowing somebody somewhere to break the mental logjams physics has faced since pretty much the late 1930s.

    Of course what many people ignore is that the logjam may actually be a deadend caused by following WRONG theory! Enough monkeys doing math can make anything seem plausible until you actually have to match it with reality.

  79. John Peter

    I’m certain that no matter how it is finally determined how the universe “began” it came from God.
    .
    But actually it isn’t believed (anymore) that everything came from something the size of a pea. There’s a hypothesis that the universe we’re in came from leftover material of a previously existing universe. Or, that universes are in the shape of sheets and two universes and touch together, like curtains touching together in a windy day, and cause the beginning of another universe. Or that there is a much larger universe around our universe and ours was formed by materials from that larger body of material.

    Whatever the case, it all came from God.

    2 videos on “Brane” theory:

  80. Ooops, forgot the last paragraph….

    This notion that processing power increases will eventually lead to some kind of leap to a cognitive state by computers that mere humans don’t understand is false on two fronts. The first is that the processing power for any SINGLE task isn’t increasing all that much, no “singularity” in sight, and the second is that the processors simply execute simple instructions very very fast, they have no ability to make new instructions. Techniques like fuzzy logic can give the illusion of “choice”, but at days end the computer cannot “choose” anything at all other than to execute the instructions given to it.

  81. “””””…..davidmhoffer says:

    July 4, 2012 at 11:36 pm …..”””””

    Make that Admiral Grace Hopper; who was one of the longest serving persons on active duty in the US Navy history.

  82. Re: some thoughts about Kurzweil’s predictions

    What we call “self-awareness,” “consciousness,” or “personality” (and what some traditionally inclined people prefer to call “soul”) is, in evolutionary terms, an adaptive top-level subroutine (shell) responsible for optimal survival and reproduction of the colony of specialized cells and symbiotic bacteria that itself is a specific expression (phenotype) of the collection of genes contained in the biological organism.

    Plants, probably, don’t have this subroutine — at least not in the form usually associated with autonomously moving gene carriers. All animals with central nervous systems have it — but already on the level of insects it is so complex that, most probably, it will take centuries to decompile.

    I am not saying that raising computing systems to the level of complexity inherent in the human self-awareness subroutine, in the human underlying operational system, in the interfaces supporting the communication between the self-awareness and the operational system (collectively known as “subconsciousness”), as well as in multiple applications running our physiological processes, is impossible in principle. But it is obvious that we cannot create something as complex as ourselves without clearly understanding everything that makes us tick. This may take thousands of years, and by the time we build our first self-aware computer (which, most likely, will be an artificial life form), “human beings” will already cease to be us as we know ourselves.

    Before fantasizing about “artificial intelligence” try to make dogs who speak. That would be nice.
    I would like it very much if my conversations with dogs wouldn’t be so awkwardly one-sided sometimes.

  83. “””””…..rge E. Smith; says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    July 5, 2012 at 12:23 am

    “””””…..davidmhoffer says:

    July 4, 2012 at 11:36 pm …..”””””

    Well any increase in cpu speeds and multiple cores etc is all for naught. Micro$oft will ensure that its flagship computer virus, will continue to expand to use up any and all hardware gains.

    My 8-core laptop isn’t any faster than when I was running M$ DOS-3.2 on my IBM PCXT.

  84. @davidmhoffer

    The problem isn’t the speed of light or getting enough data to the CPU, after all we are feeding all those extra cores with data. The problem is waste heat. The faster the CPU goes the more energy it needs and the more heat is generated in a given area. That heat has to be dealt with before it melts the chip and that quickly becomes very expensive. To overcome the waste heat problem we increase the chip size by adding more cores and as most problems that most computers have to solve can be broken down into separate tasks we get more work done in the same time.

    This is all just a delaying action though, the heat problem has never gone away and after a certain size, the lag inside the chip will counter out any benefit from more cores. After that we will probably move to more discrete chips and CPU’s layered upon each over as the cheapest way to increase performance. Then the cheapest way will probably be to deal with the heat at which point CPU’s will get faster again.

  85. Paul Westhaver says:
    July 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm
    .
    “It is a step. Just like Roentgen except Roentgen did way more with way less. ”

    Somethimes I wish I lived back then, when a man could do great things in his little lab, using just a few instruments….

    Oh, wait! Isnt that just what Svensmark did?

  86. George E. Smith; says: July 5, 2012 at 12:23 am
    “…Admiral Grace Hopper…”

    The company I worked for in 1986 organized a presentation in Palo Alto for employees with the title ‘Material Science’.

    It was a three hour presentation and included Admiral Grace Hopper doing her nanosecond, microsecond, millisecond, second talk with different lengths of wire (holding an 12” gold thread at the beginning and ending with a massive (12 foot diameter) spool of copper rolling on to the stage for the millisecond, there was no prop for the second. She then got on to ion deposition channels (picoseconds) and how ‘In the future, understanding the physics of the material would be as important to you as it was to the blacksmith of old’, ‘The physics has not changed, only the scale’. They also had Richard Hart (from Next Step, the TV series) with other materials including some of the first silica aero-gels (lighter than air solid) and ultra-fine low heat reactive memory wire for opening up blocked veins and arteries. There were other presenters, it was great!

    Sorry to be so off topic but her name just brought back memories of what a Science presentation is supposed to be; real, factual, demonstrable and apolitical.

  87. I can understand why CERN did the press release before the full result is in. They knew the MSM would pick up their rather guarded statement that, after much massaging of the data up to the sigma 5 level, the Higgs particle has at last been found.

    However, behind the scenes they still need to need to resolve the issue that the particle they found is only 125 GeV, while the Higgs particle needed to fully support the current Standard Model should sit somewhere between 135 GeV and 800 GeV.

    So have they found THE Higgs or something else? Time for the theoretical physicists to fire up their Monte Carlo machines again to see if their prediction matches reality or if the 125GeV particle will cause too many issues for the current SM…

    Time to get out a bucket of popcorn, a long drink, then sit back and watch the fun!

  88. Here is the question, if this is a Higgs, and thus substantially validates the standard model, what does this mean about the nonstandard models? What does it mean about all those various flavors of string theory, such as M-theory etc? If the standard model is shown true (or at least truer), does that mean that string theorie(s) are shown false, or possibly false, or just less likely?

    When I look at string theory, I look with extreme skepticism. I notice that it has zip zilch zero nada experimental evidence to back it up. In fact, it was only recently that one flavor of it could even be tested with observation or experiment, and was found to be false, the rest so far cannot even be tested. I also notice that the main reason people like Stephen Hawking are so pro M-theory is because they believe that otherwise there might be a God, based on what they know about the big bang (or think they know). Basically, they have the choice between God or M-theory, they choose M-theory because they hate God. It thus looks like string theory, especially M-theory, may simply be there for religious, or anti-religious (same thing) reasons.

    BTW, there is the idea that M-theory cannot be falsified, and is therefore not science. This was countered by the idea that it could be tested with a certain type of collider, smash stuff at certain energies, look for stuff that then disappears out of this universe and slips into another universe. It is thus suggested that it can be tested and thus counts as science. A few wee problems. First, you need a collider 180,000 miles in diameter, not possible, thus not testable. Second, it depends entirely on negative evidence, one could get that simply by failing to detect some particles in a collision, say because it produced a bunch of neutrinos, or a WIMP or other hard to detect particle, or simply because of a failure for any reason to detect something, such as faulty equipment or slipshod work or outside interference (such as from cosmic rays or neutrinos). With negative evidence so easy to produce and with (anti) religious reasons to produce it, no such ‘evidence” could be trusted.

    Meanwhile, there is a wee little problem with knowing about the big bang, and that is that it can be hard to test. I have a theory about how it happened. My theory is correct. I know that if I do X, the universe will explode. I want to prove my theory is correct to everyone. I do X…

  89. Alexander Feht says: July 5, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Artificial Intelligence will not exist until after they create Artificial Motivation.
    There is nothing that has been found to motivate a computer. Until they come up with starving, suffocating or horny chip and some kind of a feedback system they will never get to even to most basic actual thinking.

    Until then all they will have is an ‘intelligence’ that simply repeats what it has been told is true, a mainstream Climate Science journalist algorithm, at best.

  90. Seems I made a small mistake on my earlier post. Just found this at http://www.thunderbolts.info.

    The concentrating and centralizing of funding and research since the establishment of NASA and its sister agencies have resulted in a flood of discoveries. However, it has also resulted in the establishment of a monopolistic consensus that has driven out research into alternative hypotheses. The poster boy for this disturbing consequence is Halton Arp, who was denied telescope time in 1983 to pursue evidence of intrinsic redshift.

    Experiments to refine the concepts of alternative hypotheses are unlikely to be done as long as the would-be investigators are exiles. They dig for spare minutes between the cushions of earning a living from other pursuits, and the few temporal coins they find are spent on conceptual outlines. Nothing is left for desperately needed experiments.

    The once-proud Queen of the Sciences now offers herself for sale to the highest bidder on her street corner. The field of astronomy is no longer a seminar of science but a battlefield between mercenaries and exiles.

    There may be other explanations for what we see around us but it appears the same problem identified in climate science is rampant in other branches.

  91. “I have to wonder though [if it] wasn’t a final dig at the legacy of the failed US effort with the superconducting supercollider”

    Awww…don’t get me started on how our currently drownding in debt govt. reniged on funding for the SSC because it would “cost too much”. Granted, it was back in the early 90’s…but still.

    Jeff

  92. If it is true then they should seek for the Higgs Boson within the Higgs Boson…..
    There is no need to spend such a lot of Euros while there is people starving in Europe. Wanna know reality?, just look around. This is neither a joke nor a sarcasm, it is literally true.

  93. Higgs Field/Bosun, is like a Californian socialist Govt; it’s existence produces so many bottleneck headwiinds of inefficiency that it slows down everything so much that it can send a bosun out to tax it’s butt !!!!

    Only 4% of the universe is made of known material so perhaps with this discovery we can nudge that up to around 4 and a 1/2%. What this really means is that they don’t have a clue…. but they are closer to having more of a clue than before the experiment. Sort of less clueless than mostly clueless. Bit steep at $15 Billion or so per 1/2 a percent. As an example, So for instance, in literary circles; the difference between knowing 4% and 4 1/2% of Shakespeare has not been defined

  94. Quote:
    The Higgs Field permiates the whole universe……

    Sorry, but is this not just the much-derided Aether re-invented?

    .

  95. “Understanding the very basics of the physics of the Universe is exciting, but does it have any practical payoff? In medicene, electronics, transportation, will there be any pay off?”

    This is an ignorant comment. People can’t say what the payoff is yet, because its new knowledge and it will take a long time for someone to figure out practical applications if there are any, and it may take large amounts of energy for practical applications. But the entire modern world is basically built on the theoretical physics of the past, whether its electromagnetism, carnot engines or quantum mechanics leading to semiconductors.

  96. “Sorry, but is this not just the much-derided Aether re-invented?”

    Sorry, Ralph, but its not the “aether”. Can’t be used as a reference frame. Plus experiment shows the aether does not exist, experiment shows the Higgs does exist.

  97. George E Smith’
    Comment was getting long enough as it was, but yes, it was Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. 5 foot nothing, scary as h*ll.

    NoJoe;
    There are multiple problems, including waste heat. But we can solve the waste heat problem, we already have actually just the really high end ones aren’t economical yet. But the speed of light we cannot solve and that is THE limiting factor. Many people THINK they are feeding their cpu’s “fast enough” and most aren’t. The cpu is twiddling itz thumbs.

    Andrew30;
    I saw her do the same presentation in Boston. Afterward we hung around and she told a few more war stories, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordering her to destroy all the work she did on compilers in other languages so that only the English ones remained, ensuring that the West had a huge leap on the Russians and Chinese during the cold war because they couldn’t program in their native tongue, they had to learn English first. And that was only one of many stories. Fascinating when you start understanding just how much of the computer industry as we know it today was built on the foundation she set down.

  98. anna v said:

    “It is part of the human group makeup and this is a group of highly educated and intelligent people yoked together for a common goal.”

    “I myself worked on part of this from 1997 to 2001″

    “This is group work of the order of building pyramids or Parthenons”

    I said: “and only an arrogant self aggrandizing fool would believe that this is the ultimate accomplishment of science.”

    Anna V I think with all your own back patting, assertions of self-superior intelligence, lack of modesty, you had better leave it to others to be the judge as to what is on the order of building the pyramids.

    Folks this is what happened to climate science. The climate priests were so busy telling we small creature how dumb we were and how smart they were they forgot what science was all about. Here we go again. So anna v , since you elected yourself spokesperson of the science elite, remind us again how brilliant you are.

  99. The God Particle walks into a Catholic Church. The priest says, “What are you doing here?” The Particle says, “Without me, there would be no mass.”

  100. For John Coleman:
    First and foremost, they will be asking for more money–a lot more. There are probably a lot more ways to parse symmetries than there is money.

    From one physical scientist’s perspective (yours truly), our ‘what’ understanding of the universe will take on a more fine-grained appearance–maybe an interim view as suggested in Charles Nelson’s comment above. If I were doing a story on the meaning of it one facet I would look at is what are the currently perceived implications of going to higher and higher energies? Is it a desert? Are there hints that something else may be out there (at higher energies)? How does one know when an end has been reached? How much light is the ultimate characterization from the PR reported experiment going to shed on these matters?

    I am not so sure if this has much to do with ‘why things are as they are’. I have always considered particle physics to be an application of a quantum theory and not the essential theory. Particle attributes or intimated connected with the rules of the why, i.e., symmetries. Why these rules have expression in our universe is another, deeper question.

    Go to your local physics department and talk to the particle physicist, but for a possibly different perspective also see if you can dig up a physics and/or philosophy professor who is more directed at the foundations of quantum theory.

  101. Sorry. Read
    “Particle attributes or intimated connected with the rules…” as “Particle attributes or intimated connectIONS with the rules

  102. The Higgs particle is 130 times the mass of a proton, which makes it as massive as a fair sized atom.

    It is supposed to be so elusive because it is so short-lived, existing for the tiniest fraction of a second. But yet it must be superabundant if it to provide the universal slurry that causes inertia and hence mass.

    Therefore it must be created at least as fast as it is being destroyed, at phenomenal rates.

    Why then can it not be detected during creation, and in the process tap into the energy used during the process, rather than by using huge amounts of energy to smash protons and look for its signals in the debris?

    Also if we know its properties then maybe we can manipulate it to shield matter against it and create weightlessness, or anti-gravity shields?

  103. Paul Westhaver says:
    July 5, 2012 at 9:42 am

    So anna v , since you elected yourself spokesperson of the science elite, remind us again how brilliant you are.

    You just displayed a huge chip on your shoulder.

  104. Looks like my offhanded prediction of a variety of Higg’s Bosons is on track (geddit?) with discussion already including ‘what type of Higg’s it is’. Yeah…soon we will find there are Higglets and Top Higgs and Charmed Higgs and higgledy-piggeldy Higgs.

    God particle? By definition, all particles are God’s particles. Isn’t that how it works?

  105. @John Coleman

    The best hope we have is if the experiments prove that the Standard Model is incorrect and that the assumptions about the Big Bang Theory/Cosmological expansion fall apart. Most great achievements occur during scientific revolutions where the old is thrown own for a completely new perspective. One has to then wonder why do we spend so much money to prop up existing paradigms rather than to challenge them? Isn’t the GWA movement suffering from the same ill fate?

  106. @xham
    that is why we spend billions testing predictions of the theories. As Einstein astutely observed:”…a single experiment can prove me wrong” It is when we test the predictions of a theory and find it does not hold that we get interesting results. Of course the Chinese have a curse that goes something like this: “May you live in interesting times!”

  107. This stuff is way beyond my physics expertise — I’m not competent to hold an opinion on its accuracy or importance. I will just observe one thing. In my recollection, over the past 30 years or so, **major scientific breakthroughs reported in the mainstream media turn out to be wrong in approximately 100% of cases**.

    With that in mind, I await the opinions of the better informed.

  108. anna v,
    It seems to me that Paul W has been a bit harsh. I don’t see any justification for that from any of your positive comments you left here. You have my support, anyway.

  109. Eric Simpson,

    Well said. I agree. anna v is a voice of reason and of physics knowledge.

  110. Re: “but no fireworks on the 4th of July”

    A Little Bang:
    A week or so ago I heard a dull boom (probably from high-speed ground transmitted sound) followed by a sharp crack as if someone had discharged a firearm in the area. I later found out that, about 16 miles away, someone was target shooting right next to the bunker where the explosives for the city of Poulsbo WA fireworks display were being stored and fired an unlucky shot. The explosion is said to have left a sizable crater in the ground.

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/jun/26/investigation-continues-after-belfair-firework/

  111. I am in no position to question or affirm the significance of this discovery or its importance to understanding the nature of existence. I sometimes wonder, however, if the singularity we call our universe might be part of a larger multiplicity of which we may have only punctuated contact.

  112. “””””…..oe says:

    July 5, 2012 at 1:27 am

    @davidmhoffer

    The problem isn’t the speed of light or getting enough data to the CPU, after all we are feeding all those extra cores with data. The problem is waste heat. The faster the CPU goes the more energy it needs and the more heat is generated in a given area. That heat has to be dealt with before it melts the chip and that quickly becomes very expensive. To overcome the waste heat problem we increase the chip size by adding more cores and as most problems that most computers have to solve can be broken down into separate tasks we get more work done in the same time.

    This is all just a delaying action though, the heat problem has never gone away and after a certain size, the lag inside the chip will counter out any benefit from more cores. After that we will probably move to more discrete chips and CPU’s layered upon each over as the cheapest way to increase performance. Then the cheapest way will probably be to deal with the heat at which point CPU’s will get faster again. “””””

    Well there is method in the madness of the multicore chips, that is a little more subtle than surface appearances. Modern computer chips generalloy employ either CMOS logic, or dynamic gates as in memory chips; which are misnamed, because they are mostly “forget” chips, and lose their gate charge faster than a speeding bullet, so they have to be refreshed constantly, even when they computer isn’t doing anything.
    CMOS gates draw next to zero static power, since only the PMOS, or the NMOS device is on in each state. The power dissipation is almost entirely due to displacement currents charging and discharging gate capacitances through small parasitic resistances, and on resistance of the active devices. This dispacement current power increases as the square of the clock frequency.
    So when photolithography limits go down with each chip generation, the capacitances go down, and because of the physics the operating Voltage also has to be reduced, so both cause power consumption to drop for the same clock frequency.
    If I can get double the work done at a given clock speed by having two cores, I will double the power for the same minimum feature size, but also it would be double the chip area or at least the core area.
    If instead, I double the clock speed for the same geometry, then the switching displacement current power goes up by a factor of four.

    So multiplying cores is more power efficient than raising clock speed, so long as the software can really share the task between multiple cores. But with M$ bloatware philosophy, the software expands to consume even more clock cycles.
    Windows must be a mosaic of tiny islands of sanity tied together with a multiple layer overlay of continuously updated bandaids.

    My SS hard drive computer now boots up at lightning speed only to inform me that is will now instsall the latest layer of Johnson’s band aid dressings.
    If anybody had the guts to tell those clowns to go back and rewrite the whole damn thing, and eliminate all the patches, that cover holes in the patches underneath, we might have some semblance of an operating system that works.
    I spent an hour today, trying to write a pamphlet, and it would have only taken a fraction of that time, if M$ provided WORD with a key called “TYPE”, that turned the darn program into an IBM Selectric typewriter, that didn’t keep claiming I was spelling things incorrectly, or trying to put words into my mouth. I want a word processor, that types what I type, and does nothing else, and assumes nothing about what I want to do, other than to put down the character on the key that I pushed.. If I type (c), M$ erases what I just typed and substitutes a copyright symbol in its place. Who the hell ever uses a copyright symbol in a mathematical equation ?

    And excel is a gem of a math program. You have to type sin(radians(30)) just to get the sin of an angle. didn’t any of those nerds ever takle a mathematics course and find out there actually is standard nomenclature for virtually all of mathematics.

    Despite all of that rant, I don’t begrudge Bill Gates, one brass razoo of his inestimable wealth. He has done more good for more of the world’s people than any politician to come along since the stone age.

  113. Tenuk says:
    July 5, 2012 at 1:53 am
    I can understand why CERN did the press release before the full result is in. They knew the MSM would pick up their rather guarded statement that, after much massaging of the data up to the sigma 5 level, the Higgs particle has at last been found.

    Ay-up. From that unimpeachable source of truthy truthiness, the self-described “newspaper of record,” the NYT:

    “Physicists Find Elusive Particle Seen as Key to Universe”
    ASPEN, Colo. — Signaling a likely end to one of the longest, most expensive searches in the history of science, physicists said Wednesday that they had discovered a new subatomic particle that looks for all the world like the Higgs boson, a key to understanding why there is diversity and life in the universe.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/05/science/cern-physicists-may-have-discovered-higgs-boson-particle.html?pagewanted=all

    You just *knew* they had to throw “diversity” in there…

  114. Spector says:
    July 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm
    Re: “but no fireworks on the 4th of July”
    A Little Bang:
    A week or so ago I heard a dull boom … followed by a sharp crack as if someone had discharged a firearm in the area. I later found out that, about 16 miles away, someone was target shooting right next to the bunker where the explosives for the city of Poulsbo WA fireworks display were being stored and fired an unlucky shot.

    Prime candidate for the 2012 Darwin Award.

  115. George E. Smith; says:
    July 6, 2012 at 2:01 am

    “If anybody had the guts to tell those clowns to go back and rewrite the whole damn thing, and eliminate all the patches, that cover holes in the patches underneath, we might have some semblance of an operating system that works.”

    Ah, but you see, George, that would be difficult.

    It is all outsourced to India and China nowadays. All the americans wants to be bosses, you see.
    All the germans has resigned in NASA also, so only american bosses left.

    So, unless you can invent “The Ultimate Powerpoint Compiler” which can convert a Powerpoint into anything, the bosses cannot create a damn thing. Except meet with each other and discuss some boxes on ….a Powerpoint.

  116. I wonder how much CO2 is created every second that contraption is running? Not that I think it matters to me. It does not. It seems to me that the very “big science” wonks that attend the church of global warming are the same “big science” wonks that need to fill the atmosphere with CO2 in the name of their curiosity. The hypocrisy is with them not me.

    On Friday nights when they are consuming beer, the self proclaimed geniuses and science elite contrive green schemes to service their socialist inclinations. But on Monday morning at 8 am they are all business and burn energy as if they are a small country.

    Oh! We might have a Higgs Boson. T’was worth it! (sarc)

  117. George E Smith;
    I spent an hour today, trying to write a pamphlet, and it would have only taken a fraction of that time, if M$ provided WORD with a key called “TYPE”, that turned the darn program into an IBM Selectric typewriter, that didn’t keep claiming I was spelling things incorrectly, or trying to put words into my mouth.>>>>>

    Try Notepad. Pretty much exactly what you asked for. It is in the Accessories folder.

    You can also turn off a lot of those annoying helper applets in Word. Some are easy to turn off…. and some require a registry edit which can have…. unexpected results that are difficult to revers if you do it wrong.

    But yeah, my first computer had a cpu that ran in the khz range, and there was no way I could type faster than it could accept my key strokes. My current computer is (literaly) capable of millions of times the performace, but due to the bloated o/s and apps it has to run, sometimes it has trouble keeping up with me (and I ain’t that fast a typist!)

  118. anna v says:
    July 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    “…………. More statistics will allow us to discriminate between alternate propositions .”

    That is the disturbing issue in much of this. The wave/particle construction of the quantum/particle physics world is (necessarily) a construct of the available mathmatic languages, as is general relativity. When these languages tell us there are particles of different “colors”, for instance, that descriptive is a mathmatical construct used to differentiate between, say, neutrino types, but has no real world counterpart. Likewise, dark matter and dark energy seem to be fudge factors invented to explain why we cannot find 96% of the mass of the visible universe which we think might be out there based upon our present understanding of observational astronomical results. This is all fine as long as all is qualified as “theoretical” and bias for existing theories can be overcome so that real scientists think outside the box now and again. And perhaps our mathmatical languages are themselves deficient in undertaking the task at hand.

  119. Weird how Coleman and others want to pronounce it like “bosun/bos’n”. It should be like “bows-on”. (Tie two bows on your shoelaces.)

  120. davidmhoffer says:
    July 6, 2012 at 8:37 am

    George E Smith;
    I spent an hour today, trying to write a pamphlet, and it would have only taken a fraction of that time, if M$ provided WORD with a key called “TYPE”, that turned the darn program into an IBM Selectric typewriter, that didn’t keep claiming I was spelling things incorrectly, or trying to put words into my mouth.>>>>>

    Try Notepad. Pretty much exactly what you asked for. It is in the Accessories folder.

    Or Wordpad, same place. It permits basic formatting like bold, etc., which Notepad does not. Easiest way to get it is Start/Run/Wordpad . It will open immediately.

  121. P.S. Actually, Wordpad may be tucked away somewhere else in your Windows directory, but it doesn’t matter. Just do the Start-Run-Wordpad sequence and Windows will open it. Save formatted text as .rtf (Rich Text File). All wordprocessors know how to deal with it.

  122. timetochooseagain – you call Smolin a crackpot twice, and suggest people don’t read his works, but you offer nothing but your own opinion as evidence. I have read “The Trouble With Physics” and found it to be anything but “crackpot”.

    Why do you call Smolin a crackpot? You offer no reason. And why should your opinion carry any weight with me? Again, you offer no reason.

  123. I’ve only spotted on comment regarding this but it would be nice if more people knew of it or could discuss the “Electric Universe” concept (or “plasma universe”).

    It seems to make searching for “dark matter”, “dark energy”, “black holes” or even the “big bang” unnecessary..?

    [REPLY: This is not on Anthony’s list of unwelcome topics, but we’ve already seen how “accepted science” has resulted in nasty exchanges. WUWT does not take a “position” on any topic, but recognizes that some topics are more incendiary than others. Please comment without getting personal. -REP]

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