Wednesday, July 11, 2012

About this Higgs boson business

Scientists recently claimed to have proved the existence of the elusive "God particle," the Higgs boson. The Higgs boson would not (if it really exists) be the smallest particle; apparently Higgs bosons break up into smaller particles after a momentary existence, but in that brief existence, the Higgs field imparts mass to otherwise massless fundamental particles.

The foregoing is not intended to be funny; it represents my honest effort to make sense of what I've read on the subject. It's just that there seem to have been a few changes in physics since I last took the basic course. I hear there are more than four elements now, too....

I reacted to the news of the apparent confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson in my dull, uncomprehending way by recalling a cartoon posted by Randall Mulroe on xkcd last September, when the news carried claims that faster than light particles had been discovered.

(Click to enlarge. See original for embedded comment.)

And then I found this cartoon on Fake Science:

This explains everything neatly, don't you think?

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