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Race For the "God Particle" Heats Up

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the mister-higgs-i-presume dept.

Science 397

SpuriousLogic writes "CERN is losing ground rapidly in the race to discover the elusive Higgs boson, its American rival claims. Fermilab say the odds of their Tevatron accelerator finding it first are now 50-50 at worst, and up to 96% at best. CERN's Lyn Evans admitted the accident which will halt the $7B Large Hadron Collider until September may cost them one of the biggest prizes in physics."

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How do you give odds for that? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885217)

Giving odds for finding a theoretical particle is like giving odds on finding life in the solar system. Without any data to base your odds on, you're just making some shit up. Not only is their level of precision low, but there is zero confidence.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885251)

I see nothing wrong here. As they say - it's 50-50: they either find it, or not.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885797)

they either find it, or not

...If, of course, it is even there to be found. If the particle doesn't exist, no amount of money thrown at the problem is going to prove that it does.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26886015)

Whooooosh!

Re:How do you give odds for that? (4, Funny)

Atrox666 (957601) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886089)

Technically until they fire it up isn't the particle both found and not found?

Re:How do you give odds for that? (5, Funny)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885259)

Also, what are the odds the particle doesn't exist AND they find it?

Re:How do you give odds for that? (5, Funny)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885305)

1/0

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885501)

Oh c'mon guys, it was funny. Not only was it two answers to two questions, it was also the very likely definitive answer of the combined probability. And it most likely evaluates to "FILE NOT FOUND" as per TDWTF, making it a valid probability...

I say this is brillant!

Re:How do you give odds for that? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26886057)

CANNOT DIVIDE BY ZERO

*Universe implodes and explodes simultaneously*

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886083)

Oh sh...

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

Caue (909322) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885389)

if you consider an old article posted a few weeks ago that makes all scientific assumptions 10 to 100 times more innacurate than their first presumption only by being "possibily" based on false or wrong hypothesis, you will find that it's easier getting hummer sales back on track than finding the lord all mighty's particle

Re:How do you give odds for that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885789)

That's not where the name came from... Leon M. Lederman wanted to name his book "Goddamn Particle" due to how incredibly hard the Higgs Boson is to detect, but his publisher wouldn't print it with that title so it was shortened and stuck.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (0, Troll)

TheCybernator (996224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885757)

Even worse. Tevatron wins the race and creates the Black Hole before September!!

Re:How do you give odds for that? (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885991)

Also, what are the odds the particle doesn't exist AND they find it?

Probably pretty good. After all, God doesn't exist, but millions of people are finding Him all the time.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886113)

Also, what are the odds the particle doesn't exist AND they find it?

You got modded funny for this, but it's a reasonable question. It's certainly possible they'll conclude they've found the Higgs even if it doesn't exist.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

UbuntuLinux (1242150) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885285)

Not only that, but there confidence about the Moon being haunted is also zero - we just don't know. Bringing this together presents us with a nightmarish situation; one where both the possibilty that the Moon is haunted, and that the God particle exists, are unknown, yet related by the fact that LHC technology will soon be in place on the moon, where it could fall into the hands of the ghosts that (potentially) ahunt the surface of the moon. Ghosts simply don't understand modern technology, but there inquisitive minds would lead them to push all the buttons and pull the levers on the LHC, with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (4, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885367)

What data are they lacking? The math and physics from other experiments that suggest that the Higgs Boson exists, along with a lot of details about it? Or the fact that it is by far the simplest solution to a number of phenomenon? Remember, much more often than not, the simplest solution that fits the math tends to point to the correct answer.

Oh wait. They aren't lacking those.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885451)

Addendum,

this could also be bad journalism, they may simply mean demonstrating that it does or does not exist.

Either way, probabilities can be given. The former situation (proving it does exist) has a more rough probability since it it would use similar, but nonetheless different circumstance, while the latter (proving that it does or doesn't) exist is requires less external data, and is thus a less rough calculation

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885617)

Neither the parent nor myself are saying we don't think that Higgs Boson is nonexistant. We're saying that their bullshitting about their chances of actually observing it.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885631)

Errmmm....that was worded awkwardly, but you know what I mean: We're not saying it doesn't exist.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26886061)

I'll stand up proudly, pummeling my sternum and vehemently extolling my belief that the pursuit of higgs is a goose chase, it will never be found. I am anonymous, from one day to the next I can't change, oh no. no no. no, no. The theory is kinda kooky, dontcha think, yeah I really do think. It's like rain, on the ocean floor, ironic, but free as in salt water. Your cultural melting crack pot, Anonymous.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26886087)

Um, gotchya. ;)

Re:How do you give odds for that? (4, Interesting)

Gromius (677157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885469)

somebodys not a Bayesian :)

Anyway theres pretty reasonable indirect evidence for the Higgs, lets just say to make all our measurements consistant, it would be nice if a fundamental scalar existed around 115 GeV. And it would be even nicer if it generated all the masses in the Standard Module while it was at it. There is certainly enough to have a reasonable Bayesian prior.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885481)

Exactly. Putting it in perspective. the folks at Fermilab are saying that their odds of finding a subatomic particle that only, currently, exists in the minds of some mathematicians studying theoretical physics that, in theory, only exists for a tiny miniscule fraction of the blink of an eye under exactly the right conditions and then completely blinks out of existence are 50-96%.

Yeah, they're just making shit up.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (5, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885497)

The great thing about scientific theory - real scientific theory - is that is has predictive capabilities. Theory predicts that the Higgs exists. If the theory is correct, they feel that their experiment has a 50% to 96% chance of finding it.

And if they don't find it, it would actually be a bigger deal than if they do. It means something was off either in the experiment or the theory, and that means it's back to square one!
=Smidge=

Re:How do you give odds for that? (5, Funny)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885557)

Giving odds for finding a theoretical particle is like giving odds on finding life in the solar system.

So it's one, then?

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886067)

Giving odds for finding a theoretical particle is like giving odds on finding life in the solar system.

So it's one, then?

I think he ment intelligent life.
The odds are dependent on you faith in humanity.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

zevans (101778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885649)

From TFA:

"The probability of our discovering the Higgs is very good - 90% if it is in the high mass range.
"And the chances are even higher - 96% - if its mass is around 170GeV (giga-electron volts)."

That's a BBC-friendly soundbite, but there is some deep where-are-we analysis behind it:

... which may, if improvements in their analysis work out, give them a two-thirds chance of seeing the Higgs at 2 sigma level over the entire expected mass range, or a 50/50 chance of seeing it at 3 sigma level over a large range, including a small range just above the 114Gev LEP limit.

Not Even Wrong blog, Peter Woit
http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=1612/ [columbia.edu]

In other words, they've sat down and worked through the what-ifs, and depending on how heavy the particle turns out to be, how likely they are to see it.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885661)

I'm sure he means that their chances of finding OUT if the particle exists or not are 50-50 or 96 at best.

As I'm sure you know, it is as important to prove it doesn't exist as it is to prove it does.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885687)

The LHC will be to give a definitive answer to the question as to whether the Higgs Boson can exist. the LHC will pretty much give a clear yes or no answer, its not going to be indeterminate. They have create the conditions where they know that one will have to appear, with certainty that if they cannot produce it, it will indicate that Higgs is likely impossible to exist. This is an important moment for verifying the Standard Model and has will be one of the greatest discoveries lately.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885785)

Well, if the theory includes any sort of number of those particles that would be required for it to fit the problem that the theory was trying to solve, and you have other theories that fit with less things observed previously, then no, it's fairly sensible to quote the odds.

Re:How do you give odds for that? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885945)

Even so, 50-50 to 96% is a pretty good spread of odds.

I'd bet those all day long. If someone told me my horse in the fifth race at Belmont had "somewhere between 50-50 to a 96%" chance of winning the race I'd feel like I'd made a pretty good bet.

Anyway, with all the money they're spending looking for the God particle, they better not lose it again.

race? (2, Insightful)

period3 (94751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885223)

Why is there a race? Why aren't they working together to find it?

Re:race? (5, Insightful)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885273)

Why is there a race? Why aren't they working together to find it?

Races are good. I don't think we would have gone to the moon so fast if it wasn't a race between usa and russia.

Re:race? (-1, Flamebait)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885341)

*cough cough* cheaters *cough cough* ;)

Re:race? (2, Interesting)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885697)

As true as the outcome may be, that still doesn't validate the necessity of a race to procure a speedier advancement.

You don't think that if the USA And the USSR had worked together that we wouldn't have gotten there just as quick, if not quicker?

We only had a "race" cause both sides decided to be assholes to eachother after WW2... this isn't a browser war, if we don't work together on it, we'll end up with a "winner" doing spacey stuff, and a bunch of losers back here on earth, and all that this new "class war" would create.

Re:race? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885969)

There are some very very interesting stories (and quite serious ones) about JFK planning to publicly announce plans to work together with the Russians just before his life ended.

Re:race? (3, Insightful)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886097)

As true as the outcome may be, that still doesn't validate the necessity of a race to procure a speedier advancement.

You don't think that if the USA And the USSR had worked together that we wouldn't have gotten there just as quick, if not quicker?

We only had a "race" cause both sides decided to be assholes to eachother after WW2... this isn't a browser war, if we don't work together on it, we'll end up with a "winner" doing spacey stuff, and a bunch of losers back here on earth, and all that this new "class war" would create.

I personally believe if you get a too large group of people. Some will end up not being heard, not work so hard because they feel redundant or just end up wasting a lot of time because of communication trouble. The competition aspect will probably motivate workers more and they will probably work harder. For ex. I think 1 programmer putting in 10 hours of effective work is more effective than two programmers working 6 hours each. There's a overhead in collaboration.

Re:race? (2, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885277)

From a purely human point of view, competition makes us try harder. You may not like it, but it is the truth.

From a purely scientific point of view, repeatability is an important thing. Having more than one experiment confirming the results isn't just a good thing, it is a requirement of science.

Re:race? (-1, Redundant)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885351)

Lucky for them that science is outdated and we nowadays only have a religion left that we happen to call 'science'. Makes everything so much easier.

Re:race? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885507)

idiot

Re:race? (4, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885635)

On the other hand, Newton tried to cover up the Calculus, just so he could have the edge over other natural philosophers. Some competition is harmful. It depends.

Re:race? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885437)

Why is there a race?

The Tevatron is nearing the end of its working life. Once the LHC is working, it will be hard to justify continuing to fund it. However, at the minute, it's the only game in town, and might just scoop the LHC on finding the Higgs.

Re:race? (5, Insightful)

bockelboy (824282) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885499)

It's a very friendly "competition". While it *may* be possible for the Tevatron to locate the Higgs before LHC turn-on, it doesn't negate the fact that the LHC will use energies an order of magnitude higher than the Tevatron.

Fermilab - which is where the Tevatron is located - also has a huge number of people working on CMS - one of the LHC detectors.

Most of the "US vs Europe" mentality and the "OMG we're losing our physics crown to some other lab" is a sidebar injected by the media and politicians. Otherwise, it can be very dry (aka, non-newsworthy) work punctuated by moments of "Eureka!"

Re:race? (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885517)

You obviously don't work in academia. :) Without any meaningful conflict people create it themselves. Even getting another department in one's own institution to return a call is a Herculean labor.

Re:race? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885949)

Unless getting phone calls returned is the height of your troubles, my bet is that task is really a Sisyphean labor.

Re:race? (2, Interesting)

Gromius (677157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885533)

they are and they arent. Fermilab is a big contributor to the LHC (although some of the contributions did go bang, hmmmm) and will play a big role in its future. Lots of scientists are on both an LHC experiment and a Tevatron experiment (although they tend to be senior, PHD students and postdocs who do most of the work tend to be on only one). It would be actually hard for the labs to work together more than they actually are. But there is also definately a little bit of a (friendlyish) race on to be the first ones to see it. In the sense, we'll help you as much as we can but we also want to beat you, its a little odd to explain.

Re:race? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885577)

Sometimes races are a good thing. Sure, it's a sign of the imperfection of the human being as such... but we are what we are. And racing after a prestigious prize is sometimes the best motivation for groundbreaking science.

Rather than whine that this won't get us peace in the world, I'd choose to be glad that humanity can pull off some stunning scientific breakthroughs.

For the record, Fermilab were supposed to retire the Tevatron, since the LHC obsoletes it - so the US team is not completely imbued by nationalistic sentiment. But, Tevatron seems to be the biggest show in town for a while, no need for the false modesty.

Re:race? (1)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885581)

I think the same question applies to the Intel/AMD, Windows/Linux family...

Re:race? (2, Informative)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885657)

Because science isn't done for the discoveries alone my friend, it's done for the *recognition* in exchange for discoveries. I understand that I could very well be down modded for this sort of opinion, but I've worked in too many research facilities to see it any differently.

Now boil your brain on the fact that the very same thing exists in medical research, and feel the creeping horror at what that implies.

Particle....What particle (1)

Dan Track (1401409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885229)

What's this particle anyway and what does it do?

Re:Particle....What particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885327)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson

http://www.exploratorium.edu/origins/cern/ideas/higgs.html

I found it. (1)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885235)

I was doing some cleaning on the weekend and I found the "God Particle" and some loose change underneath some cushions on the living room couch.
Sorry about that.

Re:I found it. (1)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885307)

Wow... God must exist and he must not be happy about having a particle... as soon as I hit "submit"... I got:

Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Please contact the server administrator, admin@slashdot.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.
More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
Apache/1.3.41 Server at slashdot.org Port 80

Re:I found it. (0)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885627)

No, what's unfunnier is emailing admin@slashdot.org... I get an unknown mailbox failure.

So when you get errors like this, you do submit them upstream with a possible time of occurrence, right? (I did as well, and cc'd your post addy into my email)...

Sorry for the piggyback post going way OT

USA! USA! USA! USA!! (-1, Offtopic)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885237)

C'mon, cut us some slack, we'll take any kind of good news.

Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (4, Insightful)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885245)

It's annoying on so many levels.

No (0, Troll)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885323)

It's annoying on so many levels.

Annoying to you. Refreshing to others, also on many levels.

Lookit, you slipped in "C.E." for "A.D." when nobody was looking, but you're going to have to fight us for this one...

Re:No (4, Insightful)

pz (113803) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885417)

I agree with the grandparent post. It isn't the God particle. It isn't the be-all-end-all-explain-everything particle. Discovering the particle won't prove or disprove the existence of a deity. Using the term is annoying AND misleading.

Re:No (3, Interesting)

MarkovianChained (1143957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885561)

There are two leading explanations for why it was called the God particle:

1) It will explain how the universe was created (or at least bring us significantly closer), from a scientific standpoint. Finding it will not disprove the existence of a deity, nor will not finding it prove the existence of one.

2) It was nick-named that as a tongue-in-cheek 'We think this particle is everywhere but nobody has actually seen it.' (this came from an earlier Slashdot article, you can look it up for yourself later)

Re:No (5, Funny)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885877)

It was referred jokingly to as "that goddamn particle" ... but the relevant newspaper wasn't allowed to print such obscenties. Hence they went with 'God particle' and the nickname stuck, in the media at least.

Re:No (1)

MoeDrippins (769977) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885651)

I agree with the grandparent post. It isn't the God particle. It isn't the be-all-end-all-explain-everything particle. Discovering the particle won't prove or disprove the existence of a deity. Using the term is annoying AND misleading.

Amen!

Re:No (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885843)

Please explain what's refreshing about this silly media nickname. Surely you're not going to claim that there's somehow something more divine about the Higgs boson than other force carriers? Not to mention matter, or indeed anything else.
Shall we say that God can only be found in the quantum realm, endlessly supporting a mass-creating field, and far too busy to pay even the slightest bit of attention to anything else? That seems rather silly.

Its the force carrier for the mass-providing Higgs field. Its a boson. It was proposed by a guy called Higgs. Higgs boson, anyone?

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885353)

Even we do do find it it will open thousand more questions about it.
Thus will keep the pointless debate of is there a God or Not going.

I think they came up with the "God Particle" name as a way of saying to the people who beleave in God. Here we found out how the Universe works and THERE IS NO GOD See, you have lived your life on a false belief.

Just as the religious people are hoping for the Second Coming to say to the atheists. Oh Oh here is God he about to put the smack down on you. You should have lived your life based on these values, and now you gonna pay.

However I think if we find this particle so many new questions will come up that we will just realize how much more we don't know. And if there is a second coming many of the Religious people will do like they did before, Ignore or reject it as they bring up ideas that they don't like. And the Religious people will probably kill Jesus for the second time, not the atheists.

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885441)

Since when are did all religious people believe in the second coming of Jesus and have anything against atheists? And since when has all religion been against science?

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (1)

MoeDrippins (769977) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885673)

Since it is based on NOT having evidence?

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885851)

Since it is based on NOT having evidence?

That is not true. It is based on different axioms than science, but not on lack of evidence. I find that I need no less faith to believe in "science" than I do to believe in the Old Testament. And not only do I believe in them both, I see very few contradictions.

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (1)

MoeDrippins (769977) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885899)

How about testability and falsifiability?

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (1)

fracai (796392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886023)

See, there are these books...

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885447)

Just as the religious people are hoping for the Second Coming to say to the atheists. Oh Oh here is God he about to put the smack down on you. You should have lived your life based on these values, and now you gonna pay.

What kind of fucking morons think that way? Just because you're an atheist doesn't mean you can go around killing, raping, stealing, etc.

We just don't need a fuckin' book to tell us good from wrong. It's called morals and common sense.

I'm a vegan because I know killing animals is wrong, but these idiots keep killing and eating them because a stupid book tells them it's okay to do so?

Let me laugh.

You are judged by your actions. It's called Karma, and going to church isn't going to erase the fact that you beat up your wife, have a drinking problem, are an asshole, etc.

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26886019)

Just as the religious people are hoping for the Second Coming to say to the atheists. Oh Oh here is God he about to put the smack down on you. You should have lived your life based on these values, and now you gonna pay.

Technically, only a small percentage of Christians are actually hoping for the Second Coming, and for those that are, it's for different reasons than you espouse (usually a desire to see the permanent end to war/death/cyclical-suffering). I know quite a few Christians who fervently pray to forestall the Second Coming, hoping for more time to change the hearts and minds of those close to them.

Back on topic: it's a silly name, but easier to remember than Higgs-Boson, so it's here to stay.

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (1)

randyleepublic (1286320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885621)

Help! Something doesn't make sense: from my workstation, logged in as me, I cannot post more than once a day. But if I boot from a CD into an environment that includes a browser, I can post pretty much as much as I want. Huh?

I have written .\ a couple of times but they just ignore you. Is there something wrong with my installation. Both Firefox and Chrome give the same result. It even tried IE, (yes I run Wingdows: dot.net developer, OK.), but that got the same result. WTF?

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (1)

minvaren (854254) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885695)

It's because we stoned everyone calling it the "Jehovah particle."

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885911)

What do you do to people who call it the "Jenova particle"?

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (3, Funny)

master_p (608214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885805)

Ok. How about the Allah Particle?

Re:Can we stop calling it the "God Particle" yet? (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885947)

Here, here!

About the only relationship to God the Higgs boson has is that there's a whole bunch of people that devote their lives to it, building temples, and yet so far have to take its existence of faith. I sometimes wonder if their zeal isn't more like idolatry than adoration.

Rather than searching for the thing itself, I think it better to reflect on what the thing's existence would mean in the grand scheme of things.

It's Pretentious More Than Annoying (2, Interesting)

BigFootApe (264256) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885961)

Let's just stick to calling it the Higgs Boson. God Particle is just a meaningless snippet that the scientifically semi-literate have latched onto because it sounds cool.

Just like Theory of Everything, actually.

"God particle" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885265)

What the hell does a boson have to do with gods?

I think we should go with Lederman's original idea, "the goddamn particle".[1]

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_Particle:_If_the_Universe_Is_the_Answer,_What_Is_the_Question%3F

Re:"God particle" (1)

b0ttle (1332811) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885403)

A boson has as much to do with gods as any other particle. The real problem here is money: they need money to keep going with the experiments, and maybe finding it. And what's a better way to attract attention than putting the word "God" into it?

Re:"God particle" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885459)

If they called it the "Oil particle", Bush would have already found it!

Re:"God particle" (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885921)

Seriously though, its not the physicists that keep referring to it as this! Its the media. Physicists really do say "Higgs"

Re:"God particle" (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885897)

My understanding is that the term "God particle" came about due to a newspaper's unwillingness to publish "goddamn particle"

...its a 50-50 chance (1)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885289)

Fermilab say the odds of their Tevatron accelerator finding it first are now 50-50 at worst, and up to 96% at best

so wait they have these muilt-billion $ electron race tracks and they think there is a CHANCE that they won't find in. Wow thats a worse investment than that stimulus package

Re:...its a 50-50 chance (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885319)

Wow thats a worse investment than that stimulus package

You mean it in jest, but the "stimulus package" (aka handout for the rich) is going to provide more ammunition for the robber barons to shoot at us with, whereas these colliders are going to lead to developments in science whether they find this particle or not.

Re:...its a 50-50 chance (1)

Gromius (677157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885601)

The Higgs would just be the icing on the cake of an already highly successful Tevatron physics program which is coming to its end. The Tevatron was built to find and measure the properties of the top quark which it did. It also produced valuable Bs mixing measurements sheding light on mater-antimatter asymetry. It has produced many fantastic results (sadly) confirming the correctness of the Standard Model (at this energy scale) and has set stringent limits on many beyond the Standard Model theorys like extra dimensions and SUSY.

Beastie Boys (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885291)

I'm telling y'all it's SABOTAGE!

*reee-ree-ree-re-re-re-rererere*

Most important phrase (1)

whencanistop (1224156) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885301)

"But don't forget, there is also a whole spectrum of physics to be investigated at the LHC which the Tevatron can never do."

In other words if Tevatron discovers it first, then LHC can get on with finding more useful stuff rather than trying to prove god exists/doesn't exist because of one particle (yes I know that this particle doesn't prove that god exists or doesn't exist).

I think you'll find... (1)

fellip_nectar (777092) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885335)

...it does exist and it's mass is 131.313131313 GeV/c

It's all about cash (2, Insightful)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885343)

CERN needs money badly. By crying out "The Yankees are catching up!" they hope the politicians would hear and pay them more fresh euro.

In this economy, do you really believe the scientists care that much about the God Particle? If your answer is yes, do you really think it's "yes"?

If they lose jobs and food, how can they go on chasing the Higgs particle?

Re:It's all about cash (4, Insightful)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885801)

Its very important for us to improve our data base and understanding of physics. While for some it may seem abstract it is often the case that data which at first seems to be inconsequential and a curiosity plays a critical role in developing some new technology. Understanding how atoms work for instance, gave rise to many new inventions that were probably not anticipated originally, such as understanding how transistors work.

Science is very important to solving our economic problems and collecting data allows science to better understand the universe and be able to develop better technologies. I am one who thinks we need to prioritise resources on science and education funding (especially our badly neglected gifted programs to allow high IQ students to fully develop their maximum potential and go through their course as fast as they wish) , and environmental protections.

LHC still important (5, Funny)

haleyeah (691260) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885347)

Yeah, but can the tevatron create black holes or rip the fabric of the time/space continuum? GO CERN!

News at 11 (1)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885359)

"And in other news, shortly after Fermilab announced the discovery of the so-called 'god particle' the laboratory disappeared into a small black hole."

Let them find that particle first (2, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885399)

One thing is to prove than a theoretical particle exist, and another to give the world a new (and somewhat clean) source of energy and/or world peace, all humanity together... well, at least if the resulting black hole is stable enough.

they would say that, wouldn't they (3, Informative)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885463)

It's all about funding. If one establishment can make an unsubstantiated claim that attracts publicity and therefore money, then why not. It's not as if their scientific credibility (cough, cold-fusion) will be questioned. If so long as they don't say it's certain that they'll produce a given result, they can always claim "well, if we'd had more money ..."

Re:they would say that, wouldn't they (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26886037)

Need something for that cough perhaps?

"Despite a backdrop of meager funding and career-killing derision from mainstream scientists and engineers, cold fusion is anything but a dead field of research. Presenters at the MIT event estimated that 3,000 published studies from scientists around the world have contributed to the growing canon of evidence suggesting that small but promising amounts of energy can be generated using the infamous tabletop apparatus."

"MIT's Peter Hagelstein, on the other hand, said "cold fusion" reactions have yielded surplus energy from as far back as the initial experiments in 1989. Verification of these controversial results is not the problem -- many labs around the world have reproduced parts of the results many times. "

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/08/cold_fusion?currentPage=all# [wired.com]

Navy Discovers Cold Fusion (again):
http://www.zpenergy.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2292 [zpenergy.com]

"Last March, scientists at the annual conference of the august American Physical Society heard presentations on cold fusion. Next month, the Second International Conference on Future Energy will be held in Washington, D.C. The vast majority of physicists remains skeptical, but at the Office of Naval Research, six of the nine experiments performed produced an unexplainable amount of excess heat."

http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060808/REPOSITORY/608080316&SearchID=73253345954312 [concordmonitor.com]

"Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a tabletop accelerator that produces nuclear fusion at room temperature, providing confirmation of an earlier experiment conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), while offering substantial improvements over the original design."

http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/ny_team_confirms_ucla_tabletop_fusion_10017.html [scienceblog.com]

Science in Neglect
Nobel Laureate Speaks Out For Cold Fusion:

http://newenergytimes.com/news/2005/2005Lietz-ScienceInNeglectJosephson.htm [newenergytimes.com]

"The foreword by Dr. Frank Gordon in a [extern] summary report of February 2002 is so far the strongest statement of the Navy about their research:

We do not know if Cold Fusion will be the answer to future energy needs, but we do know the existence of Cold Fusion phenomenon through repeated observations by scientists throughout the world. It is time that this phenomenon be investigated so that we can reap whatever benefits accrue from additional scientific understanding. It is time for government funding organizations to invest in this research. "

http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/18/18580/1.html [heise.de]

"First, a dozen techniques have been found to produce anomalous energy and benign nuclear products in certain solids. These are listed in the table (p. 76). Most of these methods have been duplicated at independent laboratories, and several can be made to work by anyone who would take the time to learn how. "

http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/summ01/cold_fusion/cold_fusion.html [21stcentur...cetech.com]

Edmund Storms* discusses the methods used to generate low energy nuclear reactions (LENR).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltZhii3g2HY [youtube.com]

* Retired from the Los Alamos National Laboratory after thirty-four years of service. His work there involved basic research in the field of high temperature chemistry as applied to materials used in nuclear power and propulsion reactors, including studies of the "cold fusion" effect. Over seventy reviewed publications and monographs resulted from this work as well as several books, all describing an assortment of material properties."

Hmm (3, Funny)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885611)

If this is anything like the last time a scientist tried finding the clitoris it could be a long wait.

Re:Hmm (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885951)

LizardKing? From the Triton demogroup?

A request... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26885665)

If you guys down there do find it, let me know.
I must've dropped it on my trip to the other end of the multiverse. Thanks.

The Almighty

Even more interesting if they can't (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885741)

The newsies will never understand this, but it would actually be more interesting and significant if both Fermilab and LHC fail to detect the Higgs.

Odds or Probability (1)

sternmath (1055910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26885971)

It appears they're confusing "odds" and "probability." It's uncommon to express "odds" as a percentage, but if it is in fact what they intended, 50:50 is very little different from 96:100, but 96:100 would be worse odds than 50:50, not better.
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