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The LHC, the Higgs Boson, and Fate

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the particle-that-doesn't-want-to-be-discovered dept.

Science 691

Reader Maximum Prophet sends a piece from the NY Times by the usually reliable Dennis Overbye reporting on a "crazy" theory being worked up by a pair of "otherwise distinguished physicists": that the Large Hadron Collider's difficulties may be due to the universe's reluctance to produce a Higgs boson. Maximum Prophet adds, "This happened to the Superconducting Super Collider in the science fiction story Einstein's Bridge. Now Holger Bech Nielsen, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, Japan, are theorizing that it's happening in real life." "I'm talking about the notion that the troubled collider is being sabotaged by its own future. A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather."

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Could happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735157)

information theory is weird. for example, it's impossible to create a machine that looks inside a black hole.

Re:Could happen (4, Funny)

OECD (639690) | about 5 years ago | (#29735201)

What did you say?

Re:Could happen (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 5 years ago | (#29735431)

What? Where's this damn Publish button.... Ouch! Waitaminute....

All of you guys were tight all along, slashd0t new UI really suxs.. You can't imagine how hard it is to post from a black hole on this crap!.

Re:Could happen (1)

DESADE (104626) | about 5 years ago | (#29735255)

I don't think so. Entanglement. One particle goes through the event horizon. We stay on this side and observe what happens to the other. Some say the energy of the black hole breaks the entanglement. But how will we know till we try it?

Re:Could happen (1)

ShadowXOmega (808299) | about 5 years ago | (#29735315)

because of the time dilation effect, if the entanglement maintains itself, i think you will see a signal that becomes increasingly lower (from the outside observer) unless it becomes undetectable... just a guess

Re:Could happen (2, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29735433)

Information (except its mass, charge, and spin) can't escape a black hole, period. You don't even need to suspect that some difficult concept could plausibly be an exception, because you know there are no exceptions.

Re:Could happen (2, Interesting)

thepotoo (829391) | about 5 years ago | (#29735463)

A physicist will be able to explain better than I can why entanglement can't be used for information transfer (such as FTL or what you describe), but my simplistic understanding is that in order to observe the spin on the particle, you have to actually observe it, and by observing, you might alter its spin. You have no way of knowing whether the spin you just observed is a legit signal, or a bunk one induced by your measurement.

Any signal transmitted becomes indistinguishable from a random number generator, and you're back to square one.

On the topic of the linked "paper", this seems like the sort of utterly ridiculous nonsense that Penrose [wikipedia.org] or Novikov [wikipedia.org] would cook up (especially the latter). I'm not going to dignify it with a response other than to predict that Occam's Razor will slice it apart.

Re:Could happen (3, Interesting)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | about 5 years ago | (#29735275)

The difference between theory and practice is that nothing in the universe actually conforms to your perceptions and everything you know is not even wrong. You are not even really "you" in any sense beyond the illusory narrative created by the mind, to order its disparate sensations.

Black hole? Maths say they exist - but you will never really know, nor will it ever really matter - if you cannot even know your "self".

"In theory there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is". I paraphrase this as:

"To the imagination, it is identical with reality, when Reality is so totally comprehensive that all of imagination is an infinitesimal subset."

But the mind is a little thing - with such a limited set of tools and perceptions, on such a tiny scale.

Re:Could happen (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 5 years ago | (#29735407)

Black hole? Maths say they exist - but you will never really know, nor will it ever really matter - if you cannot even know your "self".

Actually, there is some argument there. They fall out of Relativity quite easily, but Relativity doesn't take into account any quantum effects. Black holes are one of the few places where that really matters. Depending on how you reconcile the two, you may not get an actual black hole. (You will get something that behaves quite similarly, but not exactly the same.)

Re:Could happen (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29735455)

If information theory wants to stop us from observing a higgs boson then we won't be able to observe it in the experiment. What won't happen is that every time we try to test it some mechanical component breaks down. That's ridiculous.

Einstein's Bridge (2, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about 5 years ago | (#29735163)

Now THAT is a book I'd like to see made into a movie. Put some of the "science" back in Science Fiction.

Re:Einstein's Bridge (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 5 years ago | (#29735283)

Don't you mean Scyence Fyction?

Re:Einstein's Bridge (0, Redundant)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 5 years ago | (#29735345)

No, no, he means SyFy.

Someone is channeling here (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 5 years ago | (#29735383)

OK, who is channeling the Univers(al)?

That's Groovy (5, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | about 5 years ago | (#29735165)

I think casting Keanu Reeves as Neils Bohr was a stroke of unmatched brilliance.

Lady GaGa is, of course, a surprise as "the loathsome particle". She does a good Burlesconi imitation, all thing considered...

So... (4, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about 5 years ago | (#29735171)

We created the universe that we are trying to figure out who made it.

Re:So... (4, Funny)

nametaken (610866) | about 5 years ago | (#29735281)

Psssh, the lengths they'll go to with these silly excuses. I say stop being lazy and get the damned thing working already!

Re:So... (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | about 5 years ago | (#29735341)

But the dog ate our homework. No, really. It came back in time and ate it. Or was that the god? Oh, hell, let's just anthropomorphise nature by ascribing motivations to it. Yeah, that's it. Nature ate our homework.

Perfect... (5, Funny)

neurogeneticist (1631367) | about 5 years ago | (#29735175)

So I can tell my wife that I cannot cook dinner tonight because the result would be so abhorrent that nature might send an agent back in time to destroy me before I can create it. Ergo, any movement toward making dinner could very well result in my demise...so let that be on her conscience.

Re:Perfect... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735323)

I'll have my steak medium rare please honey.

xxx

Re:Perfect... (4, Insightful)

DdJ (10790) | about 5 years ago | (#29735437)

Actually, if you go ahead and tell your wife that, it may just be that one of your descendants would just be so abhorrent that the universe decided you should not be allowed to breed, and this is the method it's using to enforce that.

Re:Perfect... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 5 years ago | (#29735593)

In other words, his conscious ceased to exist in all universe time-lines where he ate his own cooking, and thus is only an observer (and slashdot poster) in those universes where he didn't eat his own cooking.
     

Re:Perfect... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735513)

So I can tell my wife that I cannot cook dinner tonight because the result would be so abhorrent that nature might send an agent back in time to destroy me before I can create it. Ergo, any movement toward making dinner could very well result in my demise...so let that be on her conscience.

She picked a winner . . .

Re:Perfect... (5, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | about 5 years ago | (#29735601)

You can tell her, but she'll probably stop listening after "because," at which point she'll begin recalling everything you've ever done wrong, and start reeling them off in a run on sentence not unlike this one, taking the collective, including your most recent attempt to get out of making dinner, to mean that you don't love her, which raises the question of why you're even together, except that you obviously just want your needs satisfied while she does EVERYTHING, and you don't even care.

Either that or she'll just start making dinner without saying anything, in which case you're in *real* trouble. If so, DO NOT EAT THE FOOD, because it's probably poisoned, but also don't let her know that you're not eating the food, because it will only be taken as an insult to her cooking and further enrage her.

huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735177)

What, the fuck.

Boson in time (1)

Smivs (1197859) | about 5 years ago | (#29735187)

...the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one...

if this is true, it's either scary or wonderful!

Re:Boson in time (1, Insightful)

SlashDotDotDot (1356809) | about 5 years ago | (#29735285)

if this is true, it's either scary or wonderful!

Why choose just one?

Personal ripple (1)

tuxfusion (1600289) | about 5 years ago | (#29735191)

Maybe this is the reason why i was never able to finished University , the effect on the universe would have been catastrohpic !

vulcans already knew time travel....... (3, Funny)

sofar (317980) | about 5 years ago | (#29735195)

but seriously, if it came back through time we should be able to detect it.

Re:vulcans already knew time travel....... (4, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | about 5 years ago | (#29735227)

No, I think the theory is that a universe in which we create a Higgs boson is impossible, because such a universe would not only cease to be, but cease to have ever been as soon as the boson appears.

Re:vulcans already knew time travel....... (-1, Troll)

brian0918 (638904) | about 5 years ago | (#29735435)

You've strung words together, but they are incoherent, so you've made no statement.

Re:vulcans already knew time travel....... (4, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | about 5 years ago | (#29735583)

Put it this way. Of all alternate Earths, the surviving ones (and, if you are reading this, you are in one of those) are the ones that never managed to produce one.

first! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735197)

even the mighty slashdot is speechless!

Re:first! (4, Funny)

SlashDotDotDot (1356809) | about 5 years ago | (#29735303)

even the mighty slashdot is speechless!

Apparently, several posts that came after yours traveled back through time to prevent you from being first.

Ah, 2024... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735199)

I remember when that happened to me, in 2024...

Life hasn't been the same until.

FSM did it (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 5 years ago | (#29735203)

I'm thinking noodly appendages are involved.

Re:FSM did it (0)

FlyByPC (841016) | about 5 years ago | (#29735271)

No, no, no. Clearly the Invisible Pink Unicorn (blessed be her holy hooves) is at work, here.

What a load of (1)

shadders (856122) | about 5 years ago | (#29735207)

Utter utter bollocks.

Larry Niven took it one step further. (4, Interesting)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about 5 years ago | (#29735211)

He found a practical application for the effect in "Rotating Cylinders and the Possibility of Global Causality Violation" (named in honor of Frank Tipler's paper). The universe hates time machines... so one side of a war works to convince the other side to try to make one.

This is a stupid theory (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | about 5 years ago | (#29735219)

Everyone knows the time traveler's objective in going back in time is not to kill his own grandfather, but rather to BECOME his own grandfather.

Re:This is a stupid theory (3, Funny)

FlyByPC (841016) | about 5 years ago | (#29735293)

So time travel just involves a trip to Appalachia?

Re:This is a stupid theory (0, Redundant)

Dan667 (564390) | about 5 years ago | (#29735297)

why stop there? Maybe he is tired of being a man and wants to BECOME his own grandmother!

Re:This is a stupid theory (1)

oatworm (969674) | about 5 years ago | (#29735301)

I did do the nasty in the pasty!

Re:This is a stupid theory (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | about 5 years ago | (#29735461)

Yea verily.

Re:This is a stupid theory (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 5 years ago | (#29735367)

Yeah but without Delta brainwaves, wouldn't you end up being an idiot?

Disturbing (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 5 years ago | (#29735483)

Ewwwwwwww....I think you just described your own grandmother as a GILF.....

Re:This is a stupid theory (3, Funny)

bmo (77928) | about 5 years ago | (#29735577)

I'm my own grandpaw.

I'm My Own Grandpa
( Lonzo & Oscar )

It sounds funny, I know,
But it really is so,
Oh, I'm my own grandpa.

I'm my own grandpa.
I'm my own grandpa.
It sounds funny, I know,
But it really is so,
Oh, I'm my own grandpa.

Now many, many years ago, when I was twenty-three,
I was married to a widow who was pretty as could be.
This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her, and soon they, too, were wed.

This made my dad my son-in-law and changed my very life,
My daughter was my mother, cause she was my father's wife.
To complicate the matter, even though it brought me joy,
I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy.

My little baby then became a brother-in-law to Dad,
And so became my uncle, though it made me very sad.
For if he was my uncle, then that also made him brother
Of the widow's grown-up daughter, who, of course, was my stepmother.

Father's wife then had a son who kept him on the run,
And he became my grandchild, for he was my daughter's son.
My wife is now my mother's mother, and it makes me blue,
Because, although she is my wife, she's my grandmother, too.

Now if my wife is my grandmother, then I'm her grandchild,
And everytime I think of it, it nearly drives me wild,
For now I have become the strangest case you ever saw
As husband of my grandmother, I am my own grandpa!

I'm my own grandpa.
I'm my own grandpa.
It sounds funny, I know, but it really is so,
Oh, I'm my own grandpa.

can be falsified? (1)

ShadowXOmega (808299) | about 5 years ago | (#29735225)

If the event A produces the effect B and that effect B changes the event A to event A1, so, in principle, the event A never ocurred, unless there is a way to observer simultaneously event A and A1.
or im wrong?

To say... (5, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 5 years ago | (#29735241)

that the Higgs boson is abhorrent to Nature is ridiculous.

Please don't anthropomorphize particles. They don't like when you do that.

Re:To say... (-1, Redundant)

Facegarden (967477) | about 5 years ago | (#29735277)

that the Higgs boson is abhorrent to Nature is ridiculous.

Please don't anthropomorphize particles. They don't like when you do that.

Hahahaha, I hope people get that, that's very good.
-Taylor

Re:To say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735359)

Of course people get it, and it's not even original [google.com] .

Re:To say... (4, Insightful)

gordguide (307383) | about 5 years ago | (#29735385)

" ... [To say] that the Higgs boson is abhorrent to Nature is ridiculous. ..."

Of course it is. Being ridiculous is the absolute minimum required of anything worthy of study by Physicists; when it is no longer ridiculous it ascends to theory.

Re:To say... (4, Funny)

adonoman (624929) | about 5 years ago | (#29735397)

It's OK, the summary is only anthropomorphizing Nature, which doesn't mind being anthropomorphized at all. It's mass-imparting, universe-annulling particles that Nature abhors. Unless of course Nature IS a Higgs boson, in which case we should be very worried about living in a self-loathing, suicidal universe that is only kept intact by the fact that if it didn't stay intact, we wouldn't be here to notice.

Re:To say... (4, Informative)

tylersoze (789256) | about 5 years ago | (#29735507)

Please don't anthropomorphize particles. They don't like when you do that.

Hehe. I quite like anthropomorphized particles: http://www.particlezoo.net/ [particlezoo.net]

Kdawson story (0, Troll)

rotide (1015173) | about 5 years ago | (#29735245)

Kdawson's name is on this, why am I not surprised. I don't mean to troll, but wow does that editor have some interesting stories to his/her name. I mean honestly, a bonified, "time travel is killing the LHC", story?

Re:Kdawson story (2, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | about 5 years ago | (#29735317)

Kdawson's name is on this, why am I not surprised. I don't mean to troll, but wow does that editor have some interesting stories to his/her name. I mean honestly, a bonified, "time travel is killing the LHC", story?

Actually you kind of are trolling, because that's not what this article is. This is not a "time travel is doing something" article, it's a "two otherwise respectable scientists are saying something pretty crazy" article. And that is notable, because that does not normally happen.
-Taylor

Re:Kdawson story (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | about 5 years ago | (#29735501)

I dunno, it sounds to me like a "two otherwise respectable scientists got drunk one night and now are saying something pretty crazy" story.

Almost... (2, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | about 5 years ago | (#29735261)

This theory actually kind of makes sense to me... almost.

If the universe were indeed so much more complex than we imagined (which I fully believe is possible) that something like this could happen, I still don't think it would happen this way - that the future universe is coming back in time, just to break some magnets. Nature is rarely so subtle.

I do believe in the possibility of multiverse theory being correct, which also allows me to believe in some form of time travel, but a more natural extension of this all is that the particles created in the future tear a hole in time-space and destroy the collision center of the machine, not some magnets around the edge (unless an accidental collision occurred elsewhere, i suppose).

Plus, I've never figured out if time-space would follow the earth in its orbit, or if these things would just happen out in space somewhere, at the spot in orbit the earth was going to be at.

I really hope this is kind of correct, or the universe would be a much less interesting place. I fear that one day we'll figure everything about this stuff out, and that it won't be a magical world of multiverses and time travel.
-Taylor

Re:Almost... (3, Insightful)

notgm (1069012) | about 5 years ago | (#29735343)

i brought this up before, and was shouted down a little bit.

i think it's less like the future leaking back to prevent the present, and more like the present just isn't capable of reaching the future we expect.

it's like the first time you ever put two little toy magnets together, north pole to north pole. not really knowing anything about them, you think they might stay, but one flips as soon as you take away your hand. try as you might, there is no way for you, as a child, to keep them together effectively. eventually you give up and walk away. your present can't reach a future in which the magnets stay aligned in a way which you desire.

Re:Almost... (1)

Facegarden (967477) | about 5 years ago | (#29735421)

i brought this up before, and was shouted down a little bit.

i think it's less like the future leaking back to prevent the present, and more like the present just isn't capable of reaching the future we expect.

it's like the first time you ever put two little toy magnets together, north pole to north pole. not really knowing anything about them, you think they might stay, but one flips as soon as you take away your hand. try as you might, there is no way for you, as a child, to keep them together effectively. eventually you give up and walk away. your present can't reach a future in which the magnets stay aligned in a way which you desire.

Yeah, that's pretty reasonable, but I think the argument is that things we know normally work have broken, before we've even powered them on. I think. I lose track of LHC news. I'm just trying to enjoy life before the LHC kills us all. ;)
-Taylor

Re:Almost... (5, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | about 5 years ago | (#29735441)

No, it's just the guys running the simulation don't have any code to handle what we're doing with the LHC, so they keep tweaking things to break it while they work on a patch.

Re:Almost... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about 5 years ago | (#29735557)

Why does it have to be Nature that comes back to sabotage the whole mess?

Maybe some Enterprising Scientist in the future saw the results of us fucking around with stuff beyond our comprehension or control and came back to sabotage the tool that led us to it in the first place, in such a way that it would forever preclude us from revisiting the whole scenario.

Like sabotaging things in such a way that the LHC becomes a smoking crater in the landscape with the corpses of millions ringing the periphery--a permanent reminder of The Folly of Fucking With Things We Have No Chance Of Being Able To Control. ...or maybe the technicians at LHC haven't done this before and maybe, just maybe, it might take a few tries before they get it right.

Quantum Suidice (2, Interesting)

Sonic McTails (700139) | about 5 years ago | (#29735267)

I dunno, the more I keep seeing the LHC fail and fail is that we may be experiencing quantum suicide. In each reality that the LHC properly starts up and smashs atoms, the world ends as we know it. We keep experiencing a version of reality where cirmstance is preventing the Hiigs Boson from being created. For those unfamiliar with the concept, here's the thought experiment behind the theory straight from Wikiepdia:

One example of the thought experiment is: a man sits down before a gun, which is pointed at his head. The gun is rigged to a machine that measures the spin of a quantum particle. Each time the trigger is pulled, the spin of the quantum particle is measured. Depending on the measurement, the gun will either fire, or it won't. If the quantum particle is measured as spinning in a clockwise motion, the gun will fire. If the particle is spinning counterclockwise, the gun won't discharge; there will only be a click.

The man now pulls the trigger. The gun clicks. He pulls the trigger again, with the same result. And again; the gun does not fire. The man will continue to pull the trigger again and again with the same result: The gun won't fire. Although it's functioning properly and loaded with bullets, no matter how many times he pulls the trigger, the gun will never seem to fire.

Go back in time to the beginning of the experiment. The man pulls the trigger for the very first time, and the particle is now measured as spinning clockwise. The gun fires. The man is dead.

But the problem arises; the man already pulled the trigger the first time — and an infinite amount of times following that — and we already know the gun didn't fire. How can the man be dead? The man is unaware, but he's both alive and dead. Each time he pulls the trigger, the universe is split in two. It will continue to split, again and again, each time the trigger is pulled. This thought experiment is called 'quantum suicide'. It was first posed by theorist Max Tegmark in 1997. However, science fiction author Larry Niven originally proposed a fictional variant of quantum suicide in his short story All the Myriad Ways in which the protagonist's final action in the story kills/fails to kill him in myriad alternate realities.

With each run of the experiment there is a 50-50 chance that the gun will be triggered and the experimenter will die. According to the Copenhagen interpretation, the gun will (in all likelihood) eventually be triggered and the experimenter will die (assuming the experimenter allows the wavefunction/spinor of the particle to evolve back to its original state after each attempt). If the many-worlds interpretation is correct then at each run of the experiment, the experimenter will be split into one world in which he survives and another world in which he dies. After many runs of the experiment, there will be many worlds. In the worlds where the experimenter dies, he will cease to be a conscious entity.

However, from the point of view of the non-dead copies of the experimenter, the experiment will continue running without his ceasing to exist, because at each branch, he will only be able to observe the result in the world in which he survives, and if many-worlds is correct, the surviving copies of the experimenter will notice that he never seems to die, therefore "proving" himself to be invulnerable to the gun mechanism in question, from his own point of view.

If the many-worlds interpretation is true, the measure (given in M.W.I. by the squared norm of the wavefunction) of the surviving copies of the experimenter will decrease by 50% with each run of the experiment, but will remain non-zero. So, if the surviving copies become experimenters, those copies will either die in the first shot, or survive creating duplicates of themselves (copies of copies, that will survive finitely or die).

Re:Quantum Suidice (4, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | about 5 years ago | (#29735569)

Well you could have just linked the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] instead of copying and pasting it ;)

Bad Theory, Good Fiction (2, Funny)

rsborg (111459) | about 5 years ago | (#29735273)

This "theory" is horribly bad, inconsistent with modern concept of time and light-cones, but would make a kick-ass book or movie. Hollywood, you know what to do!

I believe that would be Niven's Law... (3, Interesting)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 5 years ago | (#29735287)

[citation provided] [wikipedia.org]

I got a particular kick out of the phrase "otherwise distinguished physicists" in the summary.

Imagination is a fine thing... (5, Insightful)

ttimes (534696) | about 5 years ago | (#29735289)

...but did you notice no one mentioned that it is simply hard to create the conditions necessary to detect the Higgs boson? We too quickly opt for the sci-fi answer and though the idea of time based sabotage is fun, it makes for a better movie than it does an answer. And how was such a conjecture published without data or peer review? Nothing to see here, next particle please...

Other theories with backward causality (2, Interesting)

tylersoze (789256) | about 5 years ago | (#29735305)

Re:Other theories with backward causality (1)

tylersoze (789256) | about 5 years ago | (#29735329)

grr, slashdot messed up the second link "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheeler–Feynman_absorber_theory"

pull the other one (5, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 5 years ago | (#29735307)

[quote]the Large Hadron Collider's difficulties may be due to the universe's reluctance to produce a Higgs boson[/quote]

Let's apply Occam's Razor. One of two cases must be true, either:
(a) "the Large Hadron Collider's difficulties may be due to the universe's reluctance to produce a Higgs boson"
or
(b) building a machine like this is rather complicated and it might take a few goes before they get it right.

Of course, there could be an option (c) they really suck. I'll try that on my boss the next time I fuck something up. "No, see, it's not that I'm not any good at my job, it's that the universe is conspiring against the proper completion of the project. Have I ever mentioned Schroedinger's Cat?"

Re:pull the other one (4, Interesting)

Bob Hearn (61879) | about 5 years ago | (#29735479)

But the great thing is, they propose an experiment to *test* whether this is happening.

Re:pull the other one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735519)

In polycosmic theory a) and b) are the same thing, that is there simply isn't a worldtrack that leads to discovering the Higgs Boson, and thus the path is constrained to a set of worldtracks in which b) is always true.

Re:pull the other one (1)

Dizigel (756737) | about 5 years ago | (#29735545)

Also along the Occam's Razor line, wouldn't something like the particle beam failing to focus tightly enough be a more likely example of the universe failing to "let" the event occur? ("Focusing the beam" might be the wrong mechanism but basically I mean something closer to the actual event rather than a superconducting failure perhaps 100's of meters away from the actual collision.)

Learned it watching Lexx (2, Funny)

oldnotold (1655975) | about 5 years ago | (#29735327)

Didn't everybody learn about Higgs by watching the last season of Lexx?

Or How Quantum Physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735337)

became literary theory [wikipedia.org] .

Get back to work you lazy sods.

Yours In Elektrogorsk,
Kilgore Trout

Not Harry Potter-esque... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735347)

as stated in the article. I think it is very much a part of "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"

Not crackpot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735353)

I don't know anything about Ninomiya, but Nielsen is an established High Energy Theorist at a reputable institute (I've attended lectures given by him). I still think the theory is just too far out, but then again, I would have said the same about quantum mechanics (which at least has the advantage of being testable).

Anti-scienctific sentiment (but it's okay) (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#29735381)

Reading TFA, Nielsen sounds like a reasonable guy, and this sounds like little more than idle speculation from a scientist who does real science. And he welcomes skepticism to his idea. It's still interesting to me that this sounds patently anti-scientific. Science is founded on the idea that our universe is predictable and that we can understand it. Saying "we might not be able to find this out because it's fate" seems closer to "We can never understand our own origins because a mysterious intelligent designer created us" in spirit than I would be comfortable with if I were the scientist who said it.

Don't take this as saying this guy is in the same category as an IDer, that's not at all what I mean. Dr. Nielsen isn't saying we shouldn't try this anyway, wheras IDers do discourage inquiry into evolutionary biology, and more importantly Dr. Nielsen is suggesting an explanation to a phenomena wheras IDers are just trying to convince people to join their church.

Re:Anti-scienctific sentiment (but it's okay) (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about 5 years ago | (#29735467)

It's still interesting to me that this sounds patently anti-scientific. Science is founded on the idea that our universe is predictable and that we can understand it. Saying "we might not be able to find this out because it's fate" seems closer to "We can never understand our own origins because a mysterious intelligent designer created us" in spirit than I would be comfortable with if I were the scientist who said it.

On the other hand, this theory, unlike ID, can be disproven, making it very scientific.

Original concept from "Doomsday Device" (5, Interesting)

Bob Hearn (61879) | about 5 years ago | (#29735387)

by John Gribbin, (Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, 105(2):120?125, Feb 1985). In that story a powerful particle accelerator seemingly fails to operate, for no good reason. Then a physicist realizes that if it were to work, it would effectively destroy the entire universe, by initiating a transition from a cosmological false vacuum state to a lower-energy vacuum state. In this story, the explanation of the failures assumes a many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. So instead of explicit backward causality, there is effective backward causality: only the branches of reality with equipment failures contain observers; therefore, observers can only experience histories with equipment failures. The effect is the same.

I also discussed this idea in the context of novel models of computation in my MIT Ph.D. thesis, Games, Puzzles, and Computation [mit.edu] (section 8.2; also published as a book by A.K. Peters). The idea was a bit similar to Nielsen and Ninomiya's proposed experiment. It turns out that by connecting an accelerator capable of destroying the universe to a computation depending on random numbers, one could in principle solve problems that are otherwise intractable. I termed this "doomsday computation", as a variation on the similar concept of "anthropic computation" proposed earlier by Scott Aaronson.

Re:Original concept from "Doomsday Device" (4, Funny)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 5 years ago | (#29735505)

It turns out that by connecting an accelerator capable of destroying the universe to a computation depending on random numbers, one could in principle solve problems that are otherwise intractable. I termed this "doomsday computation"

Was that right after you published your paper on Bistromath?

Thrice Upon A Time (1)

r0nc0 (566295) | about 5 years ago | (#29735389)

A book by James P. Hogan. In the novel they built a large collider and produced microscopic black holes accidentally. Their future selves found a way to send a message back in time despite the noise degradation to tell their past selves not to turn the damned thing on.

Wait .. I've played this game before (1)

0racle (667029) | about 5 years ago | (#29735399)

It was Chrono ... Chrono something.

Whenever Something Doesn't Work (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 5 years ago | (#29735403)

It's because it would have lead to time travel:
  • Duke Nukem Forever: A brilliant physicist spending his days masturbating pauses to download the latest copy of Duke Nukem Forever only to realize it's the worst game ever made. Unable to 'unplay' the game, he sets his mind to developing a way to travel back in time in order to prevent himself from playing the game and instead spend his time doing better things (like masturbating). Unless Duke Nukem Forever can never be released due to unexplainable problems!
  • Hurd: A revolutionizing operating system is delivered to MIT's labs only to allow the physicists 100% computational up time and serious efficiency. Unplagued by BSODs and kernel panics, the lab flourishes to the point of developing a way to time travel. Unless Hurd is development is never completed!
  • Steorn's Free Energy: Currently a large hurtle in faster than light travel is the energy required to move the tiniest amount of mass at that speed. Steorn's perpetual motion machine would have provided that energy ... unless their debut in London fantastically flopped and stymied them resulting in an international laughing stock.
  • ReiserFS: Had nothing to do with potential time travel, Hans just got out of control and killed his wife.

Cue the humorbot joke... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 5 years ago | (#29735411)

Supercollider? I just met her!

Same with Bigfoot, Loch Ness, Ghosts and Aliens (1)

mswhippingboy (754599) | about 5 years ago | (#29735453)

These scientists obviously never heard of Ockham's Razor. The fact that these particles have not been found could not be because they don't exist... no, it must be that they're are conspiring with the universe to deny us knowledge of their existence! I think they watched the Wizard of Oz just a few times to many. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...

Natural Occurrence? (2, Interesting)

Dizigel (756737) | about 5 years ago | (#29735465)

Isn't one of the defenses of the safety of colliders such as the Large Hadron that natural collisions at even higher energy levels happen all the time in the universe, just not in front of a sensor that can accurately measure it? Therefore, scientists aren't doing anything that isn't "supposed" to happen. Or maybe it's the _observation_ that isn't supposed to happen. (-;

I dunno (4, Funny)

should_be_linear (779431) | about 5 years ago | (#29735477)

Did anyone tried to fix LHC by waterboarding main scientist? Today I was trained at my workplace to think outside the box.

This theory is not to be taken seriously (5, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | about 5 years ago | (#29735487)

It has a serious, and might I saw, rather obvious flaw

If the activation of the LHC created some kind of cataclysmic event which would some fuck up time to the extent of violating causality, and if the universe does indeed have causality as a boundary condition, then there are far more probable ways of averting the fatal collision than screwing up several tonnes of magnet months before the high energy firings were scheduled to take place.

The universe could simply induce a sufficient e/m force to stop the proton beams colliding. It wouldn't take much, on a cosmic scale, and would be a far more likely outcome than an entire macroscopic object being foobared just to protect the continuity of the universe.

if only (1)

chdig (1050302) | about 5 years ago | (#29735495)

So the formation of the Higgs comes back from the future to stop its own creation...

If only the destruction of these physicist's careers could have come back from the future and saved themselves from it.

Where's the party? (1)

chord.wav (599850) | about 5 years ago | (#29735497)

Anyone knows how to get to the enchantment under the sea dance? I was told that a weird, translucent, guy will play the guitar there...

LHC, more like lots of THC sounds like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735517)

Conversely, with the same premise you could draw a different conclusion, that no where in the future is a particle discovered that is so awesome that ripples in time space must confer that awesomeness on those prior eras that lacked it.

They got's to do something.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29735523)

All these LHC physicist have essentially been out of a job for awhile. They need to come up with something to keep them looking busy.

Superstition (4, Insightful)

vga_init (589198) | about 5 years ago | (#29735525)

I have to point out that this is merely superstitious thought; there is no evidence to indicate that this is the reason why the collider failed, and while the theory *is* possible, it defies rationality. The simplest/most obvious explanation is the the collider simply failed due to technical reasons due to flaws in design or construction. Anyone could tell you that. Saying that it didn't happen because the Universe simply didn't allow it is the same as if you just substituted "God" for the word "Universe." Why didn't X happen? God didn't allow it. Why did Y happen? God made it happen. I'm not saying that it's wrong to believe in God, but these "explanations" are really non-explanations.

Timecube reveals itself in mysterious ways! (2, Funny)

Beelzebud (1361137) | about 5 years ago | (#29735535)

Next they'll tell us that we live in an electrified universe!

It's a brilliant excuse for a late project... (1)

ratm999 (1070324) | about 5 years ago | (#29735537)

If they're right, what's the point in further funding?

Oblig: Futurama Ref (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 5 years ago | (#29735561)

Fry: [discussing Fry being his own grandfather as a result of going back in time and getting with his grandmother] I did do the nasty in the past-y.
Nibbler: Verily. And that past nastification is what shields you from the brains!

Ah, says Man (1)

niks42 (768188) | about 5 years ago | (#29735571)

God says "I refuse to prove that I exist, since prove denies faith, and without faith I am nothing"

Ah, says Man "But the Higgs boson is a dead giveaway, isn't it? We found it with our new-fangled LHC and It proves you exist, and therefore you don't. QED!" (waits for puff of smoke, quickly attempts to knock up proof that black is white, identifies location of nearest pedestrian crosswalk)

"What Higgs boson? What LHC?" says God, winking.

Higgs is everywhere. (5, Insightful)

ianm.phil (1140173) | about 5 years ago | (#29735591)

This is ridiculous and not worthy of any publication, let alone the NYT (and should not be propagated on slashdot, imho).

In short, the Higgs boson (if theories are correct) is a scalar that provides mass to all particles. That means it is present at all times everywhere. So, although it is tongue in cheek, we are swimming in an invisible soup of Higgs particles at each moment. To say that universe doesn't want us to create one is like saying people are born blind because the universe didn't want us to experience light.

Crackpot theory! (1)

Slur (61510) | about 5 years ago | (#29735595)

By their own theory, every event in history delaying the creation and operation of the LHC would have to be included. Not least of which would be the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria, which probably set back the experiment by a thousand years. Very silly. Who funds these guys?
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