Get Yer Bos On
We’ve discovered the Higgs boson. Excuse me, whilest I woo.
Phil Plait has a great article up at Discover Magazine covering the announcement, and covering the basic mechanics of it. I’m in no way a physicist; I only know enough about this sort of thing to know that it’s a big deal to find a new sub-atomic particle (especially one that we think gives all of the other particles important things like mass).
To be clear, the announcement is that a new particle was discovered, and that it looks like it’s the Higgs boson. It looks like it’s the Higgs boson a whole lot, actually: they went looking for the Higgs, and they discovered a new particle in the range of mass that they predicted contains the Higgs. Not only did we predict it, but when we had the tools to go hunting for it, we found something right where we said we would. That’s science at work, folks, and it’s a wonderful thing.
On a purely intellectual level, we now know more about our universe than we did previously, and that makes me grin. But the truth is that increasing our basic understanding of the universe means that we get to do more neat stuff with it. That tickles the 15 year old science fiction geek that lurks not-very-far-indeed from the surface of my person. It’s a step forward for the entire human race, and that doesn’t happen very often. My understanding is that here in the U.S., we will be celebrating by grilling various meats, drinking beer, and setting off fireworks. I don’t know what Europe has planned, but I imagine they will do something fitting.
Wait, what’s that? Really? Oh. I need to check my calendar more often. (Happy Independence Day, America!)