The Higgs boson takes science center stage for 2012

From the American Association for the Advancement of Science  the winner and many worthy runners up in science for this year. No mention of Climate/AGW.

One possible way the Higgs boson might be prod...

One possible way the Higgs boson might be produced at the Large Hadron Collider. Similar images at: http://atlas.web.cern.ch/Atlas/GROUPS/PHYSICS/Conferences/2003/aspen-03_dam.ppt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Science’s Breakthrough of the Year: Discovery of the Higgs boson

Long-sought particle completes physicists’ standard model of particle physics

The observation of an elusive sub-atomic particle, known as the Higgs boson, has been heralded by the journal Science as the most important scientific discovery of 2012. This particle, which was first hypothesized more than 40 years ago, holds the key to explaining how other elementary particles (those that aren’t made up of smaller particles), such as electrons and quarks, get their mass.

In addition to recognizing the detection of this particle as the 2012 Breakthrough of the Year, Science and its international nonprofit publisher, AAAS, have identified nine other groundbreaking scientific achievements from the past year and compiled them into a top 10 list that will appear in the 21 December issue.

Researchers unveiled evidence of the Higgs boson on 4 July, fitting into place the last missing piece of a puzzle that physicists call the standard model of particle physics. This theory explains how particles interact via electromagnetic forces, weak nuclear forces and strong nuclear forces in order to make up matter in the universe. However, until this year, researchers could not explain how the elementary particles involved got their mass.

“Simply assigning masses to the particles makes the theory go haywire mathematically,” explained Science news correspondent Adrian Cho, who wrote about the discovery for the journal’s Breakthrough of the Year feature. “So, mass must somehow emerge from interactions of the otherwise mass-less particles themselves. That’s where the Higgs comes in.”

As Cho explains, physicists assume that space is filled by a “Higgs field,” which is similar to an electric field. Particles interact with this Higgs field to obtain energy and—thanks to Einstein’s famous mass-energy equivalence—mass as well. “Just as an electric field consists of particles called photons, the Higgs field consists of Higgs bosons woven into the vacuum,” he explains. “Physicists have now blasted them out of the vacuum and into brief existence.”

But, a view to the Higgs boson did not come easy—or cheap. Thousands of researchers working with a 5.5-billion-dollar atom-smasher at a particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, called CERN, used two gargantuan particle detectors, known as ATLAS and CMS, to spot the long-sought boson.

It is unclear where this discovery will lead the field of particle physics in the future but its impact on the physics community this year has been undeniable, which is why Science calls the detection of the Higgs boson the 2012 Breakthrough of the Year. The special 21 December issue of the journal includes three articles written by researchers at CERN, which help to explain how this breakthrough was achieved.

Science’s list of nine other pioneering scientific achievements from 2012 follows.

The Denisovan Genome: A new technique that binds special molecules to single strands of DNA allowed researchers to sequence the complete Denisovan genome from just a fragment of bone from an ancient pinky finger. The genomic sequence has allowed researchers to compare Denisovans—archaic humans closely related to Neandertals—with modern humans. It also revealed that the finger bone belonged to a girl with brown eyes, brown hair and brown skin who died in Siberia between 74,000 and 82,000 years ago.

Making Eggs From Stem Cells: Japanese researchers showed that embryonic stem cells from mice could be coaxed into becoming viable egg cells. They clinched the case when the cells, fertilized by sperm in the laboratory, developed into live mouse pups born of surrogate mothers. The method requires female mice to host the developing eggs in their bodies for a time, so it falls short of scientists’ ultimate goal: deriving egg cells entirely in the laboratory. But, it provides a powerful tool for studying genes and other factors that influence fertility and egg cell development.

Curiosity’s Landing System: Though unable to test their rover’s entire landing system under Martian conditions, mission engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, safely and precisely placed the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. The 3.3-ton rover entry vehicle was too massive for traditional landings, so the team took inspiration from cranes and helicopters to create a “sky crane” landing system that dangled Curiosity, wheels deployed, at the end of three cables. The flawless landing reassured planners that NASA could someday land a second mission near an earlier rover to pick up samples the rover collected and return them to Earth.

X-ray Laser Provides Protein Structure: Researchers used an X-ray laser, which shines a billion times brighter than traditional synchrotron sources, to determine the structure of an enzyme required by the Trypanosoma brucei parasite, the cause of African sleeping sickness. The advance demonstrated the potential of X-ray lasers to decipher proteins that conventional X-ray sources cannot.

Precision Engineering of Genomes: The revision and deletion of DNA in higher organisms has generally been a hit-or-miss proposition. But, in 2012, a tool known as TALENs, which stands for “transcription activator-like effector nucleases,” gave researchers the ability to alter or inactivate specific genes in zebrafish, toads, livestock and other animals—even cells from patients with disease. This technology, along with others that are emerging, is proving to be just as effective as (and cheaper than) established gene-targeting techniques, and it may allow researchers to determine specific roles for genes and mutations in both healthy and diseased individuals.

Majorana Fermions: The existence of Majorana fermions, particles that (among other properties) act as their own antimatter and annihilate themselves, has been debated for more than seven decades. This year, a team of physicists and chemists in The Netherlands provided the first solid evidence that such exotic matter exists, in the form of quasi-particles: groups of interacting electrons that behave like single particles. The discovery has already prompted efforts to incorporate Majorana fermions into quantum computing, as scientists think “qubits” made of these mysterious particles could be more efficient at storing and processing data than the bits currently used in digital computers.

The ENCODE Project: A decade-long study that was reported this year in more than 30 papers revealed that the human genome is more “functional” than researchers had believed. Although only two percent of the genome codes for actual proteins, the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements, or ENCODE, project indicated that about 80 percent of the genome is active, helping to turn genes on or off, for example. These new details should help researchers to understand the ways in which genes are controlled and to clarify some genetic risk factors for diseases.

Brain-Machine Interfaces: The same team that had previously demonstrated how neural recordings from the brain could be used to move a cursor on a computer screen showed in 2012 that paralyzed human patients could move a mechanical arm with their minds and perform complex movements in three dimensions. The technology is still experimental—and extraordinarily expensive—but scientists are hopeful that more advanced algorithms could improve these neural prosthetics to help patients paralyzed by strokes, spinal injuries and other conditions.

Neutrino Mixing Angle: Hundreds of researchers working on the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment in China reported the last unknown parameter of a model that describes how elusive particles, known as neutrinos, morph from one type or “flavor” to another as they travel at near-light speed. The results show that neutrinos and anti-neutrinos could possibly change flavors differently and suggest that neutrino physics may someday help researchers to explain why the universe contains so much matter and so little antimatter. If physicists cannot identify new particles beyond the Higgs boson, neutrino physics could represent the future of particle physics.

###

Science‘s 2012 Breakthrough of the Year feature, along with a related editorial by Bruce Alberts, Science‘s Editor-in-Chief, and three related articles about the Higgs boson, a podcast interview and other multimedia, will be available for free after the embargo lifts with registration at www.sciencemag.org/special/btoy2012.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes some 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

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63 Responses to The Higgs boson takes science center stage for 2012

  1. PaulH says:

    I get a kick out of subjects like sub-atomics and string theory, although I wish I had a better level of understanding of how they work.

  2. Richard Keen says:

    What – 16 years of no warming inspiring Santer’s peer-reviewed paper that we need 17 years to make it so isn’t on the list?

  3. Mr. Higgs went to a Catholic church and was refused entrance! So Mr. Higgs said:

    Fair enough, but without me …….. you cannot have…mass! boom boom!!

  4. J. Murphy says:

    I don’t understand why you felt you had to mention that there was “no mention of Climate/AGW”.
    Why should either have been mentioned amongst the most important scientific discovery or groundbreaking scientific achievements of 2012 ? Surely AGW has already been discovered ?
    Is there any significance from evolution not being mentioned either ? Or the moon landings ?

  5. george e. smith says:

    Well I know the answer to why there is more matter, than there is anti-matter.

    It goes back to the time when some idiot declared that electrons have a negative charge, so that the much rarer positrons have a positive charge. As a result, we have the apparent absurdity that electric (electron) currents go one way, while all the mass travels in the opposite direction; since by definition, the positive direction of current is the direction in which there is a net flow of positive charge. Some military (maybe Navy) electronics schools even teach (or taught) “electron current” back in the vaccuum tube days. So in their view, current travels from anode to cathode, while electrons boil off the filament, or cathode, and travel to the anode.

    So faced with this huge fox pass; what sort of idiot, would call the majority material of the universe “antimatter”, instead of the more logical “matter”.

    Does anybody in the USA care about the anti-laws and anti-bills that the Congress does not pass.

    So there you have it. It simply makes common sense; even 4-H club science sense, to call what you have “matter”, and what you don’t have, “anti-matter.

  6. Doug Huffman says:

    About the Higgs Boson gauge boson to the Higgs Field, it is clear from reading “science journalists” drivel on it that they have no idea of what is a field. I agree that its characterization and identification is a story of the year and in the running for science story of the century.

    Think of it in Popper’s paradigm of science, an extreme hypothesis not falsified after a half-century of effort and now validated with huge data.

  7. Gary Pearse says:

    I suppose there is a limit on how far a sceptic can reasonably go. Are there those who dispute what happened in CERN? Can we take on trust that there has been such a discovery? Will it be replicated and verified? They spent a lot of money and were looking for signs that this nanosecond or two ephiphany did happen. You can see the damage that swashbuckling climate scientists have done to one scienceophile!

  8. cui bono says:

    Good to know real science proceeds apace.

    But they did miss the curious discovery of Majorana Mannions, climate activists who (among other properties) act as their own antimatter and annihilate themselves.

  9. Berényi Péter says:

    Ah, no breakthrough in non-equilibrium thermodynamics (just genetics & particle physics). Therefore it is still not understood how a closed dissipative system works, one with a vast number of non-linearly coupled internal degrees of freedom, interacting radiatively with its environment, backed by a practically inexhaustible free energy supply.

    Of which class terrestrial climate system is but a humble example.

    One of the few as yet unconquered bastions of nature still stands firm and desolate against meager attacks of classical physics. That’s how settled the science is.

  10. Stephen Richards says:

    My understanding of the science is that the HB has not and cannot be ‘seen’. It’s presence is determined by statistical analysis. If the analysis passes a predetermined threshold then they assume it’s chance of being present by how much that threshold is passed. So just pass 60%, moderately pass 80%, well pass 95%. The last figure I heard was not very impressive and left room for doubt. That was about mid-this year.

  11. Jeff says:

    Last I heard, the Higgs-Bosun had not yet actually been observed, but that there were unknown particles behaving in an unexpected manner which they were postulating “might” be HB’s, and that the detectors were not sensitive enough yet. I haven’t seen this issue of “Science” yet. Is there something more definitive?

  12. Zeke says:

    It just goes to show, if you have faith as a little grain of Higgs…

  13. Robert Austin says:

    In the looking glass climate science world, there would have been no need to construct CERN. The collision simulations would have been executed “successfully” in ‘robust” computer simulations and an overwhelming consensus of scientists would hold the Higgs boson as fact. Those asking to see the code of the simulations or questioning the lack of empirical data would be labeled Higgs denialists.

  14. Petrossa says:

    I just wanted to say, but you beat me to it Jeff. Let hem first discover it for real. Maybe it would help if they knew the actual energy of the particle they where looking for, that would be less like a fishing trip. This is getting to have all the earmarks of a grants suction machine.

  15. Mooloo says:

    J. Murphy says:

    I don’t understand why you felt you had to mention that there was “no mention of Climate/AGW”.
    Why should either have been mentioned amongst the most important scientific discovery or groundbreaking scientific achievements of 2012 ? Surely AGW has already been discovered ?
    Is there any significance from evolution not being mentioned either ? Or the moon landings ?

    The Higgs boson* was postulated a while back by Higgs. Now it’s existence, despite some of the infantile posturings above, is beyond question (at least within the context of our understanding of particles at all).

    If only AGW had reached that position! But sadly it’s “discovery” is not evidence of its existence. There’s been quite a few things discovered that turned out to be non-existent (phlogiston, the aether etc).

    Stephen Richards says:

    My understanding of the science is that the HB has not and cannot be ‘seen’. It’s presence is determined by statistical analysis.

    No, not “statistical analysis”. Actual observing and counting of things, and then working backwards from there to calculate what must have been present first, because the original item doesn’t stay around for very long.

    You can’t show my my biological great-great-great-great grandparents, but I’m willing to believe that I had 64 of them based entirely on theory. My existence is pretty much proof, in itself, that I had great-great-great-great grandparents, even without observing them directly.

  16. GeoLurking says:

    george e. smith says:

    “… the positive direction of current is the direction in which there is a net flow of positive charge. Some military (maybe Navy) electronics schools even teach (or taught) “electron current” back in the vaccuum tube days. So in their view, current travels from anode to cathode, while electrons boil off the filament, or cathode, and travel to the anode.”

    Not sure where you are getting this. The only time I ran across the concept of “hole flow” or voltage flow was in the Mk-36 DLS course. A totally foreign way of thinking in my book, but workable if you work at it.

    Electron flow is Cathode to Anode. That’s also the way it is taught. I taught it that way. (Eight years of instructor duty, four specifically in Electronics technology… the basics)

  17. Kev-in-Uk says:

    Jeff says:
    December 23, 2012 at 11:41 am
    I think that’s semi-correct. The HB cannot be directly observed (as with some other particles?) but is ‘inferred’ by the production and tracks of other particles (which can be seen) and their unique decay patterns from H-B collisions with them.

  18. ianrs says:

    HB does not exist long enough to be “seen” but its effects can be observed in 2 resulting anti-quarks.

  19. DirkH says:

    J. Murphy says:
    December 23, 2012 at 10:56 am
    “I don’t understand why you felt you had to mention that there was “no mention of Climate/AGW”.
    Why should either have been mentioned amongst the most important scientific discovery or groundbreaking scientific achievements of 2012 ? Surely AGW has already been discovered ?
    Is there any significance from evolution not being mentioned either ? Or the moon landings ?”

    We’re all awaiting a groundbreaking discovery in climate modeling that would shatter our worldview, J. Murphy. Which is currently that climate models are junk.

  20. SMC says:

    It’s nice to see this kind of article from time to time. A nice change of pace from the usual.

  21. Gerry says:

    “Blasted them …into brief existence” ……I think there is a problem with the definition of existence then ……maybe they mean recognition?

  22. Mike M says:

    It sounds a little reminiscent of ‘ether’ which used to be required for the propagation of EM waves which reminds me an old joke:

    In 1900 a young man in Kamchatka tells his mother he’s been accepted to study electrical engineering at Lomonosov Moscow University. He goes there for his first year of freshman subjects then returns home during summer break. He tries to explain what he learned to his mother which included telegraph communication but she just does not understand anything about electricity. So he thinks of an analogy telling his mother, “Imagine there is a donkey but one so big that its head is in Kamchatka and it tail is back in Moscow. Imagine I am Moscow and pull on the donkey’s tail so that it brays here. I pull on the tail in a way to make coded signals that you then decode to understand my message.” This the mother understands.

    The son returns to Moscow for another year of schooling then returns home. His mother asks what he studied his second year and he tries to tell her about radio. Again she just cannot fathom what he describing to her but then he remembers his analogy to describe the telegraph to her.

    “Mother, remember the year before I told you about the giant donkey to describe telegraph?” “Yes, it is something like that?” she asks. “Yes mother, it is exactly the same as that except for one thing … there is no donkey.”

  23. RomanM says:

    Mooloo @ December 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    You can’t show my my biological great-great-great-great grandparents, but I’m willing to believe that I had 64 of them based entirely on theory. My existence is pretty much proof, in itself, that I had great-great-great-great grandparents, even without observing them directly.

    But not necessarily 64 different ones. Not a good example… :)

  24. n.n says:

    Stephen Richards, Jeff:

    That was my impression as well. They have indirect, circumstantial evidence of a physical behavior which resembles that associated with the hypothesized Higgs boson. I don’t recall that they have determined the cause of the behavior or that it may be exclusively attributed to a single particle.

  25. kuhnkat says:

    I don’t think so. I will go with Miles Mathins on this one:

    http://milesmathis.com/higgs3.pdf

    “First posted December 18, 2012
    Incredibly, new data from the Higgs is already confirming my summation to my previous paper, where I predicted that various large particles could be found in the 120GeV range. This is because my quantum spin equations allow me to predict stacked spins that sum at this energy.
    In new data revealed on December 3, 2012, the LHC is now admitting they have at least two new
    Higgs masses very near to one another. They are calling one a di-photon Higgs and the other a 4-lepton Higgs, but that is just speculation. The reported masses are 123.5 and 126.6. Also curious is that they are now calling their particles “Higgs-like.” ScienceWorldReport.com, reporting on Stephen Hawking’s FPP prize, said, An identical cash prize of $3 million (£1.8million) was shared between the seven scientists who led the effort to discover a Higgs-like particle at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

    So they already appear to be backpedaling from the Higgs claim…

  26. RACookPE1978 says:

    Mooloo says:
    December 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm
    You can’t show my my biological great-great-great-great grandparents, but I’m willing to believe that I had 64 of them based entirely on theory. My existence is pretty much proof, in itself, that I had great-great-great-great grandparents, even without observing them directly.

    Ah – BUT you have to complete that analogy accurately! And, as you track the analogy more and more accurately, you should be able to see both the power (of the analogy) and the holes in the theory that “prove” the Higgs Bosun “must have been” discovered.

    Assume you have established the number of generations accurately.
    And further suppose that we have established you (as an individual) exist at this time.
    Reality confirms that you could not conceive yourself.
    Nor is there any way you (physically) have conceived (nor given birth to) any of your ancestors.
    That establishes ONLY that successive mothers have given birth independently to create the number of generations assumed.

    You have concluded 32 conceptions occurred in that generation between 64 different people.

    But,
    One male could have produced 32 children by 32 different mothers.
    Two males could have produced 16 children each by 2 different mothers.
    16 males could have produced 32 children from 16 different mothers.
    Or ANY other combination in ANY other variations.

    Further … To stay inside the realm of the analogy –
    If conception occurs every 12 years and one year is allowed between generations for – just barely possible in reality – though not legal nor moral in any universe …. there may be only 65 years in total, and thus only two males and 6 females could produce every generation.

    To prove the Higgs Bosun by looking at its offspring, you have to prove nothing else could have created those offspring particles at that position at that time with that energy. Not impossible, but not easy either.

  27. Brian H says:

    After listening to the Particle Physics song above, I couldn’t resist finding a performance of the original:

  28. geran says:

    Ah, the old anode/cathode, electrons entering/electrons leaving debate!

    Consider a car battery. The anode (positive terminal) supplies electrons (out of the battery) to the load when the battery is discharging. But, when recharging, the same terminal (anode) accepts electrons (into the battery) from the charger.

    So, everyone is right!

    (Except the CAGW-ers!)

  29. Karl says:

    Some folks seem to think that these particles actually exists as physical objects, according to their savannah model of the world. Particles this size are nothing like real objects, more like theorethical creations needed to mathematically model that part of the world, trying to understand observations through math. HB is probably one of the least existing objects ever constructed. And the bottom line is that everything is information, processed by the gargantuan universe processor.

  30. geran says:

    And, if that is not confusing enough, the anode is the “negative” terminal to automotive mechanics!

  31. ntesdorf says:

    A real pleasure to read on the pages about real scientific endeavours instead of the usual fictional CAGW propaganda episodes. Bring on more real science.

  32. This stuff is on the fringe of my formal education but like most of you I am fassinated by it. Dr. Sean Carroll’s book “The Particle at the End of the Universe” sounds (radio program sound) interesting and Dr. Carroll even made sense. It may be worth your time to look into it. I will as soon as my white bread and I get finished with being Santa. I know dangerous for us skeptical elfs. Read a bit here http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/episode/2012/12/22/december-22-2012/#1 and listen to his interview here http://www.cbc.ca/quirks

  33. Max Hugoson says:

    It NEVER occurs to these dweebs that their ENERGY in itself may create things.

    That their existence in the NATURAL Universe might be NIL.

    As Ahhhnold says, “BIG MISTAKE!”

  34. Ben D. says:

    “…holds the key to explaining how other elementary particles (those that aren’t made up of smaller particles),such as electrons and quarks….”

    My intuition tells me that all so called particles are not particles at all, but rather spherical standing waves of energy, such standing waves being formed from the harmonic relationship of the higher energy frequencies of the quantum vacuum (or if you prefer,ZPE., etc.,), whose smaller wavelengths go down to Planck length (and perhaps beyond).

    I also find it interesting that the Higgs Field is seen as being omnipresent, which is the same attribute given to Dark Energy, ZPE, and CMBR., And let’s not forget the Metaphysician’s Aether and Theologians Spirit, Methinks this is a case of the Blind Men and the Elephant…http://www.awaresilence.com/Inspirational_Stories/Blind_Men_and_an_Elephant.html

  35. Mike M says:

    geran says: And, if that is not confusing enough, the anode is the “negative” terminal to automotive mechanics!

    And for electrochemists as well, what goes on on inside is what counts. The electrons flow from the cathode to the anode just like in a vacuum tube but, as opposed to a vacuum tube which is driven from the outside world, the internally driven flow inside a cell makes the anode negatively charged WRT the cathode and therefore labeled (-).

  36. TRM says:

    ” David Spurgeon says: December 23, 2012 at 10:46 am
    Mr. Higgs went to a Catholic church and was refused entrance! So Mr. Higgs said:
    Fair enough, but without me …….. you cannot have…mass! boom boom!! ”

    GRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

    Made me grin but not laugh.

  37. Doug Huffman says:

    About verificationism and the Higgs boson;

    “Observation of a New Particle in the Search for the Standard Model Higgs Boson with the ATLAS Detector at the LHC”. (Physics Letters B 716(1): 1-29. arXiv:1207.7214)

    reports less than 1 in 588 million (5.9 Σ) chance of random production in the known production channels. At that time the CMS detector at LHC was independently reporting 5 Σ.

    3×10^14 filtered ~8 TeV collisions provided the data. LHC is being upgraded towards its objective 14 TeV collision energy.

  38. DesertYote says:

    J. Murphy
    December 23, 2012 at 10:56 am
    ####
    “The Denisovan Genome:”

    Maybe after you learn to read, you might learn to think. Like most trolls, your prattlings are completely irrelevant. You are incapable of understanding what is written, so you map it into your distorted world view, misconstruing what it means, then comment on your hallucinatory imaginings.

  39. bubbagyro says:

    My understanding of the experiment is that the “Boson evidence” as it was explained in a summary, is “supportive” and “not contradictory” of the existence of the boson. The statistics were right around the background noise of the experiment. I am not a theoretical physicist, but an organic chemist, so my understanding of the statistical data is rudimentary, and I do not have access to the original paper.

    Anyone who has digested the original paper and can understand the experimental data, please help my superficial understanding of this specialized field, and explain why the results that were heralded are bona fide. As a sceptic, I am remembering the Martian bacteria fossil fiasco, where even Clinton jumped on the press release. “Life found on Mars”, the papers shouted.

    As the late Gilda Radner would have replied, as it was found out that the structures were from an inorganic anomaly— “Never mind”.

    I was also at the original paper presented at Stevens Institute of Technology, where “structured water” was claimed by Russian scientists. Speculation followed that if the “structured water” were turned loose, the the oceans would turn solid. Sounds like the black hole that some feared the CERN collider would form and suck us all up, Does it not?

    I also read the paper that debunked the structured water claim.

    So is it OK for me to wait until the Higgs paper is scrutinized a bit by scientists working in the field? I hope they don’t all behave like climatologists, who are just trying to make a living off grants.

  40. joe arrigo says:

    Nothing has been reported about Higgs discovery, if it shines any light, or gets us closer to the Theory of Everything (TOE).

  41. george e. smith says:

    “””””…..GeoLurking says:

    December 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    george e. smith says:

    “… the positive direction of current is the direction in which there is a net flow of positive charge. Some military (maybe Navy) electronics schools even teach (or taught) “electron current” back in the vaccuum tube days. So in their view, current travels from anode to cathode, while electrons boil off the filament, or cathode, and travel to the anode.”

    Not sure where you are getting this. The only time I ran across the concept of “hole flow” or voltage flow was in the Mk-36 DLS course. A totally foreign way of thinking in my book, but workable if you work at it……”

    Well that makes two of us; who “don’t know where you are getting this”

    Nowhere did I mention “holes” or “hole flow” nor did I mention “Voltage” or “Voltage flow”, so yes, I don’t know where you got that..

    I simply said that the direction of electric current flow IS DEFINED as being the direction of net flow of (positive) electric charge. It is so, regardless; or irregardless as the case may be, of the nature of the charge carrying entities.

    So I don’t dispute your assertion that “””””…..The only time I ran across the concept of “hole flow” or voltage flow was in the Mk-36 DLS course. A totally foreign way of thinking in my book, but workable if you work at it……”…..””””” I’ll take your word for that’s where you got it, since I personally have no knowledge of the Mk-36 DLS course; or even what it is.

    And since electrons have a negative charge by convention, the mass of the electron travels in the opposite direction to electric charge.

    Hole flow is of course SOP in solid state Physics, like musical chairs; if an electron gets up and ducks over to an empty hole, thereby filling that hole, it leaves a hole behind where it vacated. So arguably one can say the hole got up and moved, since it clearly is now in a different place. A difference is, that the electron carries a charge, so evidently a current flows when the electron moves. But can one claim that a positive charge moved with the hole ? All the positive charges are locked up in the nuclei of the atoms, and aren’t about to go wandering around anywhere.
    And just how does the hole end up with a different mobility from the electron; when they evidently must both move at the same time !

    So far as I know, Voltage never flows anywhere.

    Maybe RBatDuke will let us know what he teaches to today’s undergraduates.

    When I visited my alma mater, back in March, one of the Physics Professors told me that they still teach that Ohm’s law says I = E/R. I’ve never hired anyone who gave me that as an answer; it is certainly not what George Simon Ohm discovered. The law he discovered; without all the legal boilerplate simply was R = constant. R = E/I is simply the definition of R.
    Obedience to Ohm’s law is the rare special case; most conductive materials don’t obey it.

  42. polistra says:

    On electron flow, there’s a real difference between techs and engineers. I used to teach at DeVry, on the tech side, but had to deal with a lot of engineers then and later. Techs draw the current arrows along with the electrons, while engineers draw the arrows the other way to make their math more consistent. It’s just like the meteorologist/climatologist difference, or nurse/doctor. Those who deal directly with the world like to diagram the world realistically, while those who deal mainly with math have other concerns.

    This division goes back a long ways. I ran into this nice passage in a 1904 article by W.N.Shaw, in which he was proposing a new way of interpreting barometers dynamically to match human perceptions:

    Between professors and students of the mathematical and physical schools of our universities there is a ‘freemasonry’, of which the use of metric units is a sign and from which the students of meteorology are apt to find themselves excluded. If in a [scientific meeting] an unknown stranger would get up and speak in metric units, the initiated physicist would at once say “He must be one of US”, and the uninitiated meteorologist would say “He is one of THEM”. But if he should begin his discourse by speaking in inches and pounds, the physicists would at once say “We need not listen; there can be no dynamics or physics in this.”

  43. george e. smith says:

    “””””…..GeoLurking says:

    December 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    george e. smith says:

    …………………………………

    Electron flow is Cathode to Anode. That’s also the way it is taught. I taught it that way. (Eight years of instructor duty, four specifically in Electronics technology… the basics)…….”””””

    Actually, my very first textbook on electronics, was a Navy text book; all about Spark Transmitters, and Coherers, and such. It was two volumes full of interesting learning. In one of the first chapters, it had a picture of a “copper atom” with a nucleus that contained 63 protons, inside a plum pudding that had 34 electrons embedded in the pudding with just 29 extra electrons whirling around like planets. Published in 1938, it was the celebrated Admiralty Handbook of Wireless Telegraphy.

    I think it was around 1938, that Chadwick discovered the neutron, and copper lost its 34 plum pudding electrons.

  44. There are potentially two which some models of the Higg’s predict. Though an error bug in the equipment Oddly; this second one decays into photons. ANd where do the laws of nature come from? THey also plan to dissappear mass in a collision. And it’s theorized to dissappear into other dimensions which remain curled up. In theory. There was that crazy nobel winning physicist who tried to pressure the UN into stopping the LHC due to the possibility of creating a black hole. As if the universe is littered with them. What was he thinking? I’m sure it’s safe though. We have a really good handle on 5% of the universe.

  45. Richard Keen says December 23, 2012 at 10:36 am:
    “What – 16 years of no warming inspiring Santer’s peer-reviewed paper that
    we need 17 years to make it so isn’t on the list?”

    This 16 year figure is looking like it’s getting parroted a fair amount lately.

    But, smoothed HadCRUT3, RSS or UAH looks like 11-12 years without
    warming, not 16. For example:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut3/diagnostics/global/nh+sh/

  46. Kev-in-Uk says:

    geran says:
    December 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm
    ah well – to be fair, I don’t know the current teaching method! but I was originally taught that electricity flowed positive to negative – then that electrons (- charged particles flowed towards +ve) and then – in the late 70’s, that it was actually the movement of ‘holes’ or rather the spaces left by electrons in an atom that had ‘left’……….all rather confusing, especially when you add on the uncertainty value of an electron (or its ‘hole’/vacant space) actually being there in the first place…….so, the probability of an electron being somwhere is not known – but from where it might have been at any gven point in time it might move somewhere. Yeah, right! QED (that’s meant to be funny, for those that can see the dichotomy)

  47. garymount says:

    When electricity “flows”, there are two types, alternating and direct. With A.C. The electrons flow one direction, then flow back in the opposite direction. D.C. Is all one way. Direction of current depends on what is being considered as to be moving. An electron leaves its orbit and a “hole” is left in its place, which is subsequently occupied by another electron, which also leaves a “hole” behind. So electrons flow in one direction and holes in the opposite direction.
    The confusion with positive isn’t about mass but about potential energy differences called voltage which can be likened to pressure differences, as in a water hose.
    With regards to R, it is indeed a constant, but only for a specific material, it will be different for each substance, and temperature.
    I spent 10 solid years working full time drawing circuit diagrams, and have studied a lot of electronics, but I am rusty in the subject now as I have switched to computing science for the last 2 decades.

  48. Werner Brozek says:

    Donald L. Klipstein says:
    December 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm
    But, smoothed HadCRUT3, RSS or UAH looks like 11-12 years without
    warming, not 16.

    To the nearest year, there has been no warming at all for 16 years, statistical or otherwise, on several data sets.

    Data sets with a o slope for at least 15 years:
    1. HadCrut3: since May 1997 or 15 years, 7 months (goes to November)
    2. Sea surface temperatures: since March 1997 or 15 years, 8 months (goes to October)
    3. RSS: since January 1997 or 15 years, 11 months (goes to November)

    See the graph below to show it all.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1997.33/trend/plot/rss/from:1997.0/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997.1/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1997.25/plot/rss/from:1997.0/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997.1

    However in view of the significance of the 16 years lately, I would like to elaborate on RSS. The slope for 15 years and 11 months from January 1997 on RSS is -4.1 x 10^-4. But the slope for 16 years and 0 months from December 1996 is +1.3 x 10^-4. So since the magnitude of the negative slope since January 1997 is 3 times than the magnitude of the positive slope since December 1996, I believe I can say that since a quarter of the way through December 1996, in other words from December 8, 1996 to December 7, 2012, the slope is 0. This is 16 years. Therefore RSS is 192/204 or 94% of the way to Santer’s 17 years.

  49. At Fermilab (Batavia, Illinois) two competing experimental groups (each several hundred physicists) also saw hints (3.5 sigma) consistent with ~125 GeV/c Higgs. At CERN at least two rival experimental groups independently collected the evidence for a Higgs. Remember, real experimentalists want to exclude theoretical predictions and prove the theorist wrong. Even better is to find something no theorist predicted. If experimentalists find evidence supporting a theoretical prediction, the theorist might get the Nobel prize, but the experimentalists won’t. Only when you find something unexpected (J/psi 3.2 GeV/c from 38 years ago) do the experimentalists get the Nobel. That is how real science works. To really understand climate, one would need to understand plasma physics and thus be able to harness fusion, which we are no where near doing. Climate speculators make so many assumptions they appear foolish.

  50. george e smith says:

    “””””…..garymount says:

    December 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    When electricity “flows”, there are two types, alternating and direct. With A.C. The electrons flow one direction, then flow back in the opposite direction. D.C. Is all one way. Direction of current depends on what is being considered as to be moving. An electron leaves its orbit and a “hole” is left in its place, which is subsequently occupied by another electron, which also leaves a “hole” behind. So electrons flow in one direction and holes in the opposite direction.
    The confusion with positive isn’t about mass but about potential energy differences called voltage which can be likened to pressure differences, as in a water hose.
    With regards to R, it is indeed a constant, but only for a specific material, it will be different for each substance, and temperature……”””””

    Why complicate a trivially simple issue. It doesn’t matter whether it is ac, dc pulsed, whatever, the mass of electrons flows in the opposite direction to the current, for the trivially simple reason that some idiot decided to call the charge on an electron negative, instead of positive. Doesn’t really matter which, but if they were going to do that, they should also have defined the direction of current flow as being the direction of travel of negative charge.

    And I beg to differ; for most electrically conductive materials R is not a constant. That behavior, observed by Ohm was limited to ONLY metallic conductors, and ONLY under the condition that ALL OTHER physical parameters remain unchanged. It is very difficult to experimentally observe Om’s law in action, because the flow of a current in an Ohmic conductor results in a Temperature change which violates the necessary conditions of , no other physical parameter changes.

    There are more electrical circuits on my laptop computer than probably the whole US power grid, and very few of my computer circuits even come close to obeying Ohm’s law.

    For starters, the current drawn by the microprocessor chip, and all the memory chips as well; well all of the chips, varies about with the square of the clock frequency. Anything that varies with frequency isn’t even a resistance, so it doesn’t even have a fixed relationship between current and Voltage. LEDs don’t obey Ohms law; their current varies about exponentially with Voltage; current doubles for about every 26 mV increase in Voltage; does for silicon diodes as well, which comes out to 60 mV per decade of current increase. Alternatively you can say the Voltage varies with the log of the current; not even close to linear.; and that relation may hold good over six orders of magnitude of current, for some good diodes.

    Well, I could be wrong of course; but then I’ve only been working on LEDs since 1966, and with silicon and germanium diodes and transistors, since 1957, so I might have it a bit scrambled. I’ll googgle wikipedia and read what the real experts say.

    But there isn’t any confusion about positive and mass, the electron and its mass travel in the opposite direction to the electric current flow.

  51. george e smith says:

    “””””…..Donald L. Klipstein says:

    December 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Richard Keen says December 23, 2012 at 10:36 am:
    “What – 16 years of no warming inspiring Santer’s peer-reviewed paper that
    we need 17 years to make it so isn’t on the list?”

    This 16 year figure is looking like it’s getting parroted a fair amount lately.

    But, smoothed HadCRUT3, RSS or UAH looks like 11-12 years without
    warming, not 16. For example:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut3/diagnostics/global/nh+sh/…….”””””””

    Well I looked at your reference, and it seems they can’t make up their mind. I found four different graphs, all purporting to be the global average temperature anomaly from 1850 to 2011. Well they also were plotted with four different scales of Temperature. Really robust data reporting, I must say..

    I bet they had really good southern hemisphere data in 1850; probably Phineas Fogg, made a whole bunch of measurements.

    I do believe that many researchers note the 1987/8 El Nino anomalous anomaly, as being an interloper event that isn’t part of the true trend, and fogging that out puts the flattening corner at about 1995, which is 17 years ago on my calendars.

  52. DesertYote says:

    joe arrigo says:
    December 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Nothing has been reported about Higgs discovery, if it shines any light, or gets us closer to the Theory of Everything (TOE).
    ###

    42.

  53. Peter Hannan says:

    I’m a bit out of date with particle physics, etc., the last 6 years I’ve been studying origin of life, disease and immunity, climate, geology and stuff like that. Previously I was into string theory, and loop quantum gravity, etc. One simple question about the Higgs boson: supposedly it’s what gives mass to the other particles in quantum field theory, but it’s also a boson with mass, as I understand, and according to kuhnkat, a bit over 120 Gev. Er, how does it get mass, if it’s the particle that ‘gives’ mass? Infinite regress?

  54. Stephen Richards says:

    Mooloo says:

    December 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    You are being a jerk. It cannot be seen nor can it’s path in the buble chambers as with other larger particles. It can only be determined statistically at the moment by showing that an event occured in the predicted range eV range. At the moment they have a statistical candidate but, as always, they need more time and money to prove it is the HB. It will come done to an acceptable probability.

    Stephen Richards BSc Physic, MScphysic (solid state).

  55. Vince Causey says:

    What if – the more energy they put into their colliders, the more undiscovered massive particles pop out?

    If, when they push the LHC up to full power (it is not already at full power), and something more massive than the Higgs energy appears, then the standard model, far from having been completed with the discovery of the Higgs, will in fact be shattered.

    Now that would be interesting.

  56. RACookPE1978 says:

    Peter Hannan says:
    December 24, 2012 at 12:27 am

    … Previously I was into string theory, and loop quantum gravity, etc. One simple question about the Higgs boson: supposedly it’s what gives mass to the other particles in quantum field theory, but it’s also a boson with mass, as I understand, and according to kuhnkat, a bit over 120 Gev. Er, how does it get mass, if it’s the particle that ‘gives’ mass? Infinite regress?

    Well, you see, there are some 10^68 atoms and ionized atoms in the solar system, and each atom has between 1 and 239 protons and neutrons within its structure. So there should be more than 10^70 Higgs Bosuns running around – if they were detectable.

    On the other hand, if the Higgs Bosun is required to give all the other bosuns their mass, but it undetectable on its own by our sensors – which is what the elegantly trained few who have decided that they have correctly deciphered their arcane higher levels of math assure us – then I assume we must believe their hieroglyphics (hire physics ?) and trust them explicitly .

    Now, if only one Higgs Bosun was required to create the mass of all of the other 10^70 bosuns that we KNOW are present in our solar system, and that one Higgs Bosun is unobservable yet capable of influencing all other bosuns in the nearby solar system, then I equally can say that the CERN physicts have proven that God exists and Creation must be true.

  57. DirkH says:

    Donald L. Klipstein says:
    December 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm
    “But, smoothed HadCRUT3, RSS or UAH looks like 11-12 years without
    warming, not 16. For example:
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut3/diagnostics/global/nh+sh/

    Well, they smooth using a 21 year filter. What do you expect, Donald? What is the length of the impulse response of a 21 year smoothing filter? See I could smooth it with a 100 year filter and you wouldn’t even see the cooling of the 50ies to 70ies anymore.

    BTW, as they say they use a CENTERED 21year smoother the values they get for 2001 onwards are moot and subject to change anyway…

    “In order to extend the simple smoothing to the very ends of the time series it is necessary to either extend the data series, or shorten the filter. Howsoever it is done, the data near the endpoints will be treated differently to data in the middle of the series. Extending the data series can be done in a number of ways, but the method used on these pages is simply to continue the series by repeating the final value. ”

    Wait. WHAT?

  58. DirkH says:

    DirkH says:
    December 24, 2012 at 9:25 am
    “Wait. WHAT?”

    I should have gotten used to the careless attitude of these “scientists” by now. Their extrapolation of the signal (which they don’t call an extrapolation but it is one) is a MODEL, a PREDICTION; they have built into their extrapolation the ASSUMPTION that temperatures stay constant forever. I am at a complete loss as to why one would do that. It’s like running their filter over a cliff into a signal that is completely different from the one of the past; completely different spectrum.

    The best thing would have been to stop their smoothing filter in 2001 as it stays free from such assumptions to that time. But in that case, people would have NOTICED that they don’t look at the real time series but a derived low frequency emphasized processed signal, and Donald wouldn’t have been confused about it, or not that confused.

    BEST did a similar trick, publishing their results with a 10 year running average stopping in 2000 right near the peak of the 1998 EL Nino and saying to the stupid journos, Yup, I’ve been a skeptic but this proves the Earth is still warming – and they all printed the graph not understanding the trick Muller had played on them.

    Sometimes you just gotta find new tricks, Mike’s old nature trick doesn’t do it anymore.

  59. Pathway says:

    Neural prosthetics will probably be taxed under the affordable care act.

  60. Jim G says:

    Last I read is that the Higgs Boson discovery is still the the “maybe” class of discoveries, even using their statistical approach to such “discoveries”. Not quite at the statistical significance required. The question posted above regarding how the “God” particle that gives all other particles mass also gives itself mass is, indeed, very interesting even when one considers the wave nature of such a supposed particle. I am skeptical of this entire routine. No one ever wants to tell the emperor he has no clothes.

  61. Andyj says:

    It’s still the Higgs Bogus “particle”.
    A very, very rare event happened destroying…. or the sparks from attempting to destroy these “particles”. So how can an object constrained to three dimensions actually have a field?
    They proved it is rare so the field off these rare particles flying out would of shook the place. distorting mass therefore time so all the readings gathered by CERN would of been awry.

    It didn’t. Therefore it wasn’t.
    Now I want you to consider if CERN was a fail and they admitted it by saying the Higgs Bogus does not exist. The whole pack of cards had to be thrown in. There is a lot of job security and credibility at stake.

  62. Theo Goodwin says:

    Robert Austin says:
    December 23, 2012 at 11:58 am
    “In the looking glass climate science world, there would have been no need to construct CERN. The collision simulations would have been executed “successfully” in ‘robust” computer simulations and an overwhelming consensus of scientists would hold the Higgs boson as fact. Those asking to see the code of the simulations or questioning the lack of empirical data would be labeled Higgs denialists.”

    The real contrast between climate science, as practiced today, and particle physics is that the climate scientists confuse their simulations with reality.

    The great achievement of particle physics through CERN is that the scientists were able to use their theory to formulate some of their most important questions in a way that can be answered through experiment. They were able to predict some characteristics of the HB. They have discovered that some of those characteristics can be detected. This is good science. If we substitute the question “Does the HB exist or not?” for their theoretical formulations then we are replacing the science with metaphysics.

  63. george e. smith says:

    “””””…..Andyj says:

    December 25, 2012 at 3:37 am

    t’s still the Higgs Bogus “particle”.
    A very, very rare event happened destroying…. or the sparks from attempting to destroy these “particles”. So how can an object constrained to three dimensions actually have a field?…….”””””

    So would you consider a photon to be constrained to three dimensions; if not, to how many dimensions ? So now why is there an electro-magnetic field, that is infinite in range; just like gravity ??

    I don’t know, so I’m anxious to learn from you.

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