by simon baird

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LHC summed up

The 'standard model' of physics is pretty good. It describes twelve particles that make up everything. These particles have been detected in previous experiments and everyone agrees they are mostly understood. But the standard model it doesn't explain why there is mass. This is a fairly major detail when it comes to explaining the universe. The best theory we have to explain mass is the Higgs field theory. If the Higgs field theory is true then there exists a 13th particle called the Higgs particle. To make the particle appear you need lots of energy. No one has ever detected the Higgs particle but if it exists the LHC should be able to find it, perhaps tomorrow some time. If it does it will cause many physicist to jump around and make wild eyes at each other. If it can't find it then it means our best theories are probably wrong, though there is a good chance it will find something else that no-one expected. In any case.. jumping, wild eyes.

Disclaimer: I'm no physicist. But I watched this on SBS.

Update: Actually the standard model predicts the Higgs particle, so the above isn't exactly right semantically. But you get the idea.

Update 2: There is a live webcast starting at this time (5pm here).

Update 3: It might take a few weeks or months before they get that thing fully cranked. Today I believe they're just taking it for a little spin around the block in first gear.

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