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The LHC, the Higgs Boson, and the Chicago Cubs

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the all-the-time-in-the-world dept.

Science 194

Following up our earlier discussion of the theory that the Higgs boson might time-travel to avoid being found, reader gpronger notes an interview with MIT (and LHC) physicist Steven Nahn, in which he comments on Nielsen and Ninomiya's unlikely-sounding theory. "The premise is fairly crazy, but many things in physics are constructed that way... The difference here is that... previous 'crazy' ideas gave consequences that were clearly testable and attestable to the new nature of the theory, in an objective manner, and involved the behavior of inanimate objects (i.e., not humans). However, in this case, the consequences seem quite contrived... Exactly in line with their argument, I could say that Nature abhors the Chicago Cubs, such that the theory which describes the evolution of our universe prescribed Steve Bartman to interfere on October 14, 2003, extending the 'bad luck' of the Cubbies."

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Whoa (5, Informative)

Kell Bengal (711123) | about 5 years ago | (#29819197)

Least coherent summary ever. I read it twice and I'm still not sure I understand what we're talking about.

Re:Whoa (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819229)

I wish I could time travel to make the first post

Re:Whoa (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819857)

I wish I could time travel to make the first post

What if you could time travel and sterilize the first nigger?

Re:Whoa (2, Funny)

thommym (1059510) | about 5 years ago | (#29820531)

As we all stem from Africa we then have been without all your wisdom.

Re:Whoa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29820671)

Please read up on human evolution [] before doing anything rash.

Re:Whoa (2, Funny)

belthize (990217) | about 5 years ago | (#29819231)

Must be a White Sox fan.

Re:Whoa (4, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#29819239)

I think he's talking about a group of people that do something out in the big blue room.

Re:Whoa (5, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 5 years ago | (#29819247)

Least coherent summary ever. I read it twice and I'm still not sure I understand what we're talking about.

That's just because the Higgs Boson was there in the discussion before and after you read it, but not during.

Re:Whoa (3, Funny)

muzicman (1148101) | about 5 years ago | (#29820513)

Maybe they are like Gideons?

Do y'all have different books of the Bible than I do? Are y'all Gideons? Who are the ******' Gideons? Ever met one? NO! Ever seen one? NO! But they're all over the ******' world puttin' Bibles in hotel rooms. Every hotel room- "This Bible was placed here by a Gideon" When?! I been here all day. I ain't seen ****! I saw the housekeeper come and go. I saw the minibar guy come and go. I never laid eyes on a ******' Gideon. What are they- ninjas? Where are they? Where're they from? Gidea? What the **** are these people?

I'm gonna capture a Gideon. I'm gonna make that my hobby. I'm gonna call the front desk one day. "Yeah. I don't seem to have a Bible in my room."

God bless you Bill!

Re:Whoa (1)

Canazza (1428553) | about 5 years ago | (#29821349)

I met a coulpe of Gideons once. They were both like Gandalf, if Gandalf wore a Turtleneck...

No. really! (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | about 5 years ago | (#29821125)

Maybe they're onto something. It's not that their math is wrong, it's not that their hypothesis is wrong. It's because the phenomenom ITSELF doesn't want to be found.


If this is true, we've cracked the case on why I send an even-number of socks to the laundry and they come back, odd. Why I collect pocket fluff in my pockets from characters from ancient history....

I'm sorry, but to suggest the Higgs Boson is trying not to be found suggests an intelligence. Rain doesn't stop on it's fall to consider the consequences of it's landing, whether in the green grass or in the open sodium bin.

Maybe they've taken the GlobalWarming(TM) toolset into the making of this collider? "Whether it works or fails, both are proof of GlobalWarming(TM)." You can see where this kind of lunacy will get ya off track pretty quickly.

And tell me one more time how I'm supposed to believe the Scientists *instead* of the Bible, because the scientist have a better track record again? Weren't they just last week talking about how dark matter estimations were off by like 4x?

Re:Whoa (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 years ago | (#29819331)

It's just you. Read it again. :-)

I can't be the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819217)

who read the headline and was disappointed when this wasn't some kind of joke

Re:I can't be the only one... (3, Insightful)

fractoid (1076465) | about 5 years ago | (#29819791)

Erm, it is. He's joking that saying that some spooky future force is preventing us seeing Higgs bosons 'for our own good' is about as scientific as saying that God hates the Chicago Cubs... and that there's as much proof for the latter as for the former.

He also says:

Admittedly, I haven't read the whole series of papers, which means my comments should be taken with a grain of salt, but I did skim, and the authors do make an argument for why a new unknown particle (they use Higgs as their poster boy for unknown theoretical particle) can do this and not the ones we know about, based on the experimental evidence we have on the known particles and the existence of yet another theoretically possible but experimentally undetected (not without trying) phenomenon, a magnetic monopole.

Aside from its hideous verbosity, this made me curious because there was an article a day or two about magnetic monopoles...

Time will tell (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#29819275)

If the LHC gets hit by a meteor five minutes before it is next switched on we may conclude that something strange is going on.

Oblig. link (3, Funny)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 5 years ago | (#29819487)

Re:Oblig. link (4, Funny)

CreamyG31337 (1084693) | about 5 years ago | (#29819971)

YES []

Re:Oblig. link (1)

Gromius (677157) | about 5 years ago | (#29820543)

When I first saw that link, my first response was "My Car!!!", as I was sitting in the control room on shift at the time. Second thought was "this is going to be an awkward e-log entry" :)

Re:Oblig. link (1)

jcwayne (995747) | about 5 years ago | (#29820043) []

        <script type="text/javascript">
            try {
            } catch(err) {

This just in: Noscript [] saves the world!

Re:Oblig. link (1)

eihab (823648) | about 5 years ago | (#29820343) []

This just in: Noscript saves the world!

Not really. If you enable JavaScript you'll still see "No".

"Yes" is in the catch block if the first document.write() call throws an exception.

This will only happen if the document was served with "proper" XHTML content-type, and even if that was the case the document.write("YES") will also fail and throw a second unchecked exception, so you will end up staring at a blank page.

I'm probably reading too much into this, it's getting late, I know, woosh...

Re:Oblig. link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29820193) []

Read the spelling of Destroyed in the title of the page once open, notice anything?

Re:Oblig. link RSS (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 5 years ago | (#29820871)

The best part about that site is that they have an RSS feed [] , so you don't need to remember to check back regularly.

Re:Time will tell (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 years ago | (#29819799)

Proof that God exists! He doesn't want his particle to be found and his universe destroyed.

Uh oh, I dumped the chum in the water again. Sorry. ;)

Re:Time will tell (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819833)

Wouldn't a highly improbable event like a meteor hitting the LHC itself create a high probability that something is amiss with the universe? I suspect the stronger the improbability of the failure event, the more probable it would appear that the universe is indeed attempting to prevent something. Wouldn't this indirectly assign a probability to the existence of the Higgs boson? That is, wouldn't the universe, by openly trying to obstruct investigation, reveal by that obstruction the existence of exactly what it is trying to hide?

It follows that only obstacles that are likely in the ordinary course of events can stand in the way of the LHC team; unlikely obstacles would become evidence for what the universe is hiding. Thus coolant leaks or metal stress or funding issues can arise, but not meteors.

The notion of a conspiratorial universe also thus precludes the possibility of science taking that same notion seriously: if we really thought the universe were preventing this discovery, we'd have evidence for the existence of the Higgs boson; thus the "theory" (which can't be a scientific theory) itself must be discredited in order to be true.

This is the same sort of thinking that leads people to believe that a shadow conspiracy killed JFK to prevent Obama from being born on the moon, which we never reached.

Re:Time will tell (1)

elinden (155827) | about 5 years ago | (#29819933)

a shadow conspiracy killed JFK to prevent Obama from being born on the moon

Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Time will tell (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about 5 years ago | (#29820181)

If the LHC gets hit by a meteor five minutes before it is next switched on we may conclude that something strange is going on.

Wouldn't a highly improbable event like a meteor hitting the LHC itself create a high probability that something is amiss with the universe?

That is what was just suggested. Your reading skills have earned you a gold star.

Re:Time will tell (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 5 years ago | (#29819913)

Anyone would think this is April Fools day with this retro Slashdot skin that almost works, and people talking about the meteor impact that broke the space time continuum as if it never happened.

Re:Time will tell (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | about 5 years ago | (#29821007)

Nah, now if it gets hit by a sudden downpour of molten Swiss cheese, THEN something will be going on.

Re:Time will tell (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 years ago | (#29821083)

I am a John Varley fan so I have to say "An avalanche of cathedrals".

Re:Time will tell (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29821609)

Uuum, where have you been? It is up and running [] !

I hope they get it running by new year's eve. So all the monkey boys and time travel loonies can all shoot themselves and their sorry cult. ^^

Well, duh! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819279)

Nature *does* abhor the Chicago Cubs. What's your point?

Re:Well, duh! (4, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 5 years ago | (#29819389)

Nature having it out for the Cubbies is at least plausible. The rest of pseudo-science is not.

Re:Well, duh! (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 5 years ago | (#29819663)

Damn! There's a lot more baseball fans here than I thought.

Re:Well, duh! (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | about 5 years ago | (#29820095)

Damn! There's a lot more baseball fans here than I thought.

Calling Cubs fans "baseball fans" is like calling Scientologists "religious". They're not really playing the same game as everyone else...

Re:Well, duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819485)

As much as I like the Cubs, and would root for them when they got close to a world series... I always felt if they won it, it would be one of the pre-conditions necessary for the apocalypse or ragnarok or whatever EOTWAWKI scenario.

Which probably means the LHC will continue to fail to destroy the universe unless something alters the space-time probability curve so that the Cubs actually win a world series. (Since their only 1908 win that is.)

Maybe it's just a stupid and random nihilist fantasy, but it's funny to think of a reason for that scenario to exist. At least now I know I'm not alone in this.

Re:Well, duh! (0, Offtopic)

name*censored* (884880) | about 5 years ago | (#29819545)


R.E.M. - ItEoTWAWKi(AIFF).mp3

ftfy, ac.

Surpisingly many respectible physists talking (4, Interesting)

physburn (1095481) | about 5 years ago | (#29819281)

Surprisingly many respectable physicists talking, about this dumb nature abores the Higgs theory. You see there all very excited about the relaunch of the LHC, about finally finding the Higgs, super-symmetric particles, or maybe something new, that there hyping it up. They need it to, without a bit of public excitement, the enormous amounts of money needed for each big generation of collider, aren't going to get spent.

Hope the LHC finds something, and something mysterious and exacting. If nothing governments are very unlikely to fund a 100 billion for a 100 TeV collider. (that would be very strange, the Standard model need some new physics before about 10TeV, to stablise the masses of the W,Z particles).


LHC [] Feed @ Feed Distiller []

Re:Surpisingly many respectible physists talking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819537)

Actually, the new physics has to arrive before roughly 1 TeV, otherwise you get unitarity violations in WW -> WW processes. They'll observe *something* at the LHC; observing "nothing" will itself be a notable observation.

And note that the next major collider project (the ILC) will likely have a budget of less than $10 billion. An actual 100 TeV machine would be almost unimaginably expensive, as it would need to be a sizable fraction of the Earth's circumference long (the ILC will have 500GeV per beam at 30km long, so figure 200x that length -> 6000km long(!)).

Re:Surpisingly many respectible physists talking (5, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | about 5 years ago | (#29819965)

Not strange at all. If they spin it the right way, they can charm the governments and come out on top. Besides when you compare the cost of a new collider to their national bottom lines it just isn't that significant. Sure if they manage to pop up with a new particle or two they can get it quicker, but even without that the knowledge that these particles don't exist means it isn't just money flushed down the drain.

Re:Surpisingly many respectible physists talking (1, Insightful)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | about 5 years ago | (#29820125)

Not strange at all. If they spin it the right way, they can charm the governments and come out on top.

I [] see what [] you did [] there. Nice! []

Re:Surpisingly many respectible physists talking (1)

Another, completely (812244) | about 5 years ago | (#29820751)

Besides when you compare the cost of a new collider to their national bottom lines it just isn't that significant.

Not sure if you meant this seriously, but Austria compared it with their national bottom line [] , and almost [] cut it.

Re:Surpisingly many respectible physists talking (2, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 5 years ago | (#29820443)

Surprisingly many respectable physicists talking, about this dumb nature abores the Higgs theory.

Its becoming a hallmark of theoretical physics. Underproducing and over-respected scholars prattling on about any nonsense they can dress up in sophistic argument.

Theoretical physics has produced essentially no results for 40 years. Even when faced with outright contradictions of the standard model, i.e. neutrino mass, they do little but concoct the same convoluted models that lead to nowhere. String theory is the prime example of this, but things like loop quantum gravity and dark matter are no less terminal. For four decades physicists have produced theories that raise only more questions and don't answer anything.

In light of this, it's easy to see why nonsense such as the multi-verse, the anthropic principle, and of course this travesty come out of the mouths of men and women who are tired of seeing their more rigorous efforts achieve little and less. By proposing these theories, they can reach virtually the same results and conclusion they otherwise would (i.e nothing of value), yet need expend only a fraction of the effort. PLus, by dressing it all up even a little, they can wow the odd committee and perhaps get a bit more funding.

Meanwhile, despite the odds against it, science moves on.

Re:Surpisingly many respectible physists talking (1)

Rosyna (80334) | about 5 years ago | (#29820585)

Surprisingly many respectable physicists talking, about this dumb nature abores the Higgs theory.

Sometimes science is about taking the utterly absurd and finding a way to rationalize it. Such as I'm about to do.

This time traveling Higgs Boson would support the principal of self-consistency. In a non-multiverse universe (redundant), no event could ever occur that would create a paradox. Viewing the Higgs Boson would create a logical (perhaps ontological) paradox. Thus, it can never happen.

That's what happened, isn't it? (1)

liquiddark (719647) | about 5 years ago | (#29819295)

Turns out, nature DOES abhor the Cubs. Showed you, mr fancy physicist guy.

Re:That's what happened, isn't it? (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 5 years ago | (#29819635)

But how does this explain the 2004 Red Sox?

Re:That's what happened, isn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819725)

Easy. They didn't play the Cubs for the Series. If they had, the Series would have gone 7 games and either:

A) The Cubs win and the entire Universe ceases to exist...(or never did for that matter) or

B) The 7th game would never have ended. We would still be watching.

Re:That's what happened, isn't it? (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | about 5 years ago | (#29820133)

But how does this explain the 2004 Red Sox?

Nature abhors me more, by putting so many Bostonians in my dorm that year.

Re:That's what happened, isn't it? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 5 years ago | (#29820425)

I bet they won't let you take a seeing eye goat into the LHC either.

Physicist humor, reporter humor (3, Insightful)

lieutenant24 (1655997) | about 5 years ago | (#29819355)

This might simply be a matter of physicist humor not translating into reporter humor: Physicist says, "Maybe we're violating the laws of the universe and it's out to get us (chuckle, chuckle)." Reporter thinks, "That sounds like front-page news!"

Re:Physicist humor, reporter humor (1, Insightful)

dakameleon (1126377) | about 5 years ago | (#29819699)

Apart from the part where the physicist actually published a paper with their arguments for peer review [] .

Re:Physicist humor, reporter humor (1, Funny)

daveime (1253762) | about 5 years ago | (#29819781)

A physicist who eats a bowl of spaghetti, cuts himself shaving or takes a particularly large dump will probably publish a paper for peer review. It's their way of validating their existence, just humour them ...

Oh get real (1)

areusche (1297613) | about 5 years ago | (#29819375)

I don't believe in luck. The problem at the LHC that occurred over a year ago was a mistake and not the machine destroying itself in some weird physics different universe crap. The Chicago Cubs aren't doing well because well, maybe they're a bad team. Like a really bad team and need to do a complete overall to maybe start doing well. For the record I hate baseball and I don't care or follow it.

Re:Oh get real (2, Funny)

pete-classic (75983) | about 5 years ago | (#29819411)

I bet you're a gas at parties.


Re:Oh get real (2, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 5 years ago | (#29819533)

I bet you're a gas at parties.

It all works swimmingly until he pulls out his favourite board game. The game of life insurance.

Re:Oh get real (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 5 years ago | (#29819583)

If the Cubs win it all in 2012, THEN the Mayans may be on to something...

The Pittsburgh Pirates are an example of a badly run team and franchise. The Cubs are on a whole new level. They've had some really good teams, but yet, no Worlds Series in 100+ years. Even the two newest franchises in the National League have not only been to a Worlds Series, they've won it! /ducks

Random Assumptions. (1)

Erythros (140001) | about 5 years ago | (#29819407)

So, what this article is saying is that as you increase the number of random assumptions the validity of linked assumption increases.

            -The Higgs Boson particle exists.
            -Nature abhors this particle.
            -Time travel is possible.
            -This inanimate particle will use this possible time travel to sabotage machine that can theoretically create theoretical particle.

Allow me to paraphrase in a manner that slashdotters understand.

            -Nature abhors slashdotters.
            -Time travel is possible
            -Slashdotters Procreate
            -Time warps and shifts so that the procreation never happens since it is so against the natural order of things.

OMG it is true................

that is right the cubs must win it all before the (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 5 years ago | (#29819415)

that is right the cubs must win it all before the World can end also the maybe the LHC can take out the Earth but the universe? other allens out there likely have much better tech.

also is the goat tied to this as well? and we need game 7 to be at 1060 west addison and WE NEED TO DROP THE ALL STAR GAME COUNTING.

at least the blackhawks and bears look good this year.

Re:that is right the cubs must win it all before t (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29821771)

at least the blackhawks look good this year.

I fixed that for you. Jay Cutler is the Bears Steve Bartman

Steve Bartman incident for those who don't know... (2, Interesting)

VinylRecords (1292374) | about 5 years ago | (#29819447) [] [] [] [] []

Osama Bin Laden is safer walking down the streets of New York City than Steve Bartman is walking down the streets of Chicago.

Re:Steve Bartman incident for those who don't know (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about 5 years ago | (#29820223)

That says more about American Baseball supporters than it does about Steve's actions.

Re:Steve Bartman incident for those who don't know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29821087)

Yes, because a small number of people hold an arguably tongue-in-cheek grudge against a well acknowledged scapegoat for one failed attempt to win the World Series (And just because I'm guessing someone is going to make a slightly snide remark, I would encourage people to look at the number of countries currently represented in Major League Baseball before condemning the name to 'American pretentiousness') out of more than a century's worth of them says so much about "American Baseball supporters".

If you're from the Midwest you would know something about how much of a joke the whole Steve Bartman thing was/is considered now. If you're an American you would understand the humor of the gp's hyperbole. And if you're none of these things (Hazarding a guess from your name, New Zealand? But that might be too obvious.) I would be very surprised to hear that Ameican baseball has more violent fans than soccer (Anyone who is so blinded by their need to impose their vocabulary on mine that they can't see the conversational expediency of using the term soccer in the context of other American sports instead of having the clarify which football one is referring to can shove off) or rugby fans anywhere else in the world, but you know, whatever.

And yes, I do think you're a little bit of a dick for making such an irrelevant and uninformed remark by the way.

Oh, and go Cubbies.

Re:Steve Bartman incident for those who don't know (1)

metrix007 (200091) | about 5 years ago | (#29821427)

Idiots. Sure, it sucked, but your team losing should not be an excuse to want to inflict grevious harm upon another human being.


Re:Steve Bartman incident for those who don't know (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29821661)

And my brother still insists, that we are not evolving backwards...

Shit, I would not even blink with an eye, to burn up every single one of those drooling retards that would want to hurt him for this. Were are we? in the dark ages??

That's what reverse natural selection — the fostering and supporting of the worst parts of society, while insulting and mistreating the best from the very beginning of education — does for you.

magic and time travel (2, Insightful)

Odinlake (1057938) | about 5 years ago | (#29819451)

I could believe that there was some strange time-travel-effects going on to prevent this poor Boson, but I can't imagine that it would establish itself as suspicious high-level events such as meteorite impacts or whatever "chance" events people are going on about. If it is happening I bet it is in the form of some new repulsive force that doesn't follow from other theories, or something basic like that. Something we will be able to measure and something we will probably be able to take advantage of.

Re:magic and time travel (2, Funny)

glwtta (532858) | about 5 years ago | (#29820525)

I can't imagine that it would establish itself as suspicious high-level events such as meteorite impacts or whatever "chance" events people are going on about.

You clearly have no understanding of theoretical physics. You are probably one of those people who doesn't believe that in the many-worlds interpretation decoherence hinges entirely on human actions, resulting in universes which are primarily distinguished by the clothing and facial hairstyle choices of their respective inhabitants, thus providing material for lazy TV science fiction writers.

Re:magic and time travel (1)

khakipuce (625944) | about 5 years ago | (#29821699)

I really don't get all this time travel stuff, and I would love someone to explain to me why physicists even consider it possible. It seems to me that time is just the rate of propagation of change. A photon cannot move from a source to a detector instantly, the change introduced to the system by emitting a photon can only be detected after the change has propagated to the detector.

An often quoted example of why time is a dimension is that to meet someone you need there coordinates (x,y,z) and a time, ergo time is a dimension. However another way of thinking about it is to say meet me on the 20th floor of 2nd and 5th after a certain amount of change has occurred in the universe. Our most obvious method of monitoring universal change is the movement of the earth around the sun.

On this basis there is no way you can travel back in time, because anything you do creates change, even when it undoes a previous action - erasing a pencil mark does not cause time travel back to a point before the pencil mark was made)

Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819497)

Why would it even HAVE to come back in time to stop from being discovered unless it had already been discovered? In which case, isn't it too late? The only conclusion that makes sense then is that there are multiple time lines, in which case it still wouldn't matter if it were discovered on ours. I think.

Re:Wait... (1)

realmolo (574068) | about 5 years ago | (#29819543)

Well, there is a theory of spacetime that everything that has or will or is happening exists simultaneously. So time paradoxes are impossible.

So, we may have discovered the Higgs boson, and then "nature" undid the discovery afterwards, by stopping it from being discovered in the first place. We'd never "know" that the Higgs boson had been discovered, but it WAS discovered. We just don't have access to that event in spacetime.

Yeah, it's nutty. But the physics all work out.

Re:Wait... (1)

Odinlake (1057938) | about 5 years ago | (#29819885)

I'm roughly aware of what you are writing. But supposing that there is some validity in those theories, what I'm protesting is not the theories themselves but many peoples supposition that they must lead to suspicious events such as meteorite strikes on the LHC etc. Using the principle of Occam's razor it seems more logical to me to think for instance: A, each time some effect manifests itself it will be in roughly the same way and B, the effect will be something much simpler than a meteor strike, e.g. we may discover that in circumstances that should produce a Boson by other theories there actually arises a strange field of some previously unknown kind that makes the creation impossible. That's simpler than trying to explain how a meteor suddenly smashed up the LHC.

Albeit not as much fun.

Novikov self-consistency (5, Interesting)

Ryvar (122400) | about 5 years ago | (#29819503)

This whole 'theory' really just sounds like an application of the Novikov Self-Consistency Conjecture [] to particle physics. The short version is: the probability of events which could lead to a violation of causality is zero. So, according to this conjecture if the manifestation or observation of the Higgs Boson eventually lead us to develop technology with which we might otherwise violate causality, we'll never discover it.

I can think of at least one way it might - the Higgs Boson is critical to our understanding gravity. We know from relativity that there are certain gravitric structures which might potentially lead to violations of causality. One example is a toroidal singularity, spun extremely fast, which theoretically generates stable artificial wormhole along the axis of the spin with an opening small enough to fire, say, an x-ray laser through. A signal sent through such a wormhole and then back again could lead to extremely clear-cut violations of causality.

Thus, if the Novikov Self-Consistency Conjecture is correct, the discovery of anything capable of allowing us to engage in large scale gravity manipulation of this sort might well have zero probability of ever occurring.

I don't really believe this is what's going onhere , but given the abject failure of every experiment that might lead us to real, large-scale gravity manipulation (I'm thinking of that experiment where extremely fine measurements of lasers fired down long tubes buried under the ground were supposed to be used to detect gravity waves), it's a neat idea.


Re:Novikov self-consistency (3, Insightful)

justleavealonemmmkay (1207142) | about 5 years ago | (#29819883)

I don't buy it. By your interpretation of the conjecture, the people working at CERN couldn't possibly be born.

You make the fallacious reasoning that if A may lead to and precedes B, B to C, C to D and D to violation of causality, that A cannot possibly happen. This is faulty. Just because you can't have Y without having X and Y is impossible doesn't mean X is impossible.

Re:Novikov self-consistency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29820001)

You're assumption that finding the higgs boson will enable us to manipulate gravity is a lot like saying we couldn't discover the speed of light because someday we travel that fast, or faster, and be able to time travel! while we're dreaming, why not imagine that slashdot and the playboy mansion collide and everyone here gets laid!

WTF people! get ahold of yourselves! Anything discovered in the LHC probably isn't going to be very useful to us for centuries!

Discovery of new particles and a better understanding of the world aside.

Re:Novikov self-consistency (1)

geekboy642 (799087) | about 5 years ago | (#29820183)

Supposing that humanity learning how to manipulate gravity does indeed lead to violating causality, and that we live in one universe in an infinitely bifurcating multiverse, probability could indicate that any continuing stable universe is one which does not contain the discovery of the higgs boson.

All it takes is one madman with a sufficiently powerful time machine, and the entire shape of the involved universe is irrevocably altered--effectively destroyed. Or, over infinite future time, the probability that a universe containing time travel is destroyed by a time traveler must approach 1. Perhaps it's not any ham-fisted 'self-consistency' principle keeping us out of the cookie jar, it's just that the cookie jar is a disguised thermonuclear bomb.

Re:Novikov self-consistency (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | about 5 years ago | (#29820723)

Assuming you can destroy a universe in the first place. It's also possible that Universes don't get destroyed, they just enter exponentially increasing states of entropy due to time travel. So, not destroyed, just unable to support life (or meaningful patterns of any sort).

Capitalising on Higgs (1)

pyrocam (1219228) | about 5 years ago | (#29819507)

If this is true. can someone point the Higgs Boson to my website? I should be earning megabucks by now. [] for all your Black Hole and other Cosmic Anomaly protection needs

What if there were time travel? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819535)

If people could travel in time, the universe would become unstable. People would keep going back and changing history which would result in those same people not going back and changing history ...

If the universe is going to be stable (which it seems to be) in the face of time travel (by particles or people) there must be a mechanism that keeps it stable. If it looks to us like the Boson going back and sabotaging the LHC ...

Fairy Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819551)

Finally, a sensible objection!

To say "a time-distorting bogon from the future did it" is about as scientific as saying that "a fairy did it", or whichever turn of phrase you prefer, if you're not going to then follow it with: "and this can be demonstrated because of such and such, and therefore the consequences are so and so."

Because while a time-distorting bogon from the future might indeed be responsible; that does not mean that it's the least bit a scientific explanation if you don't spell out a testable hypothesis, or all of the qualities of the scenario you're describing such that one can be formed. Without a testable hypothesis, an explanation is just a fairy story.

(I'm deliberately using the term bogon, don't flame me for misunderstanding Higgs boson)

Run it, I dare ya! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 5 years ago | (#29819569)

    God.print(9 / 0);

This post (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819607)

This post will enlighten you into the inner minds of a regular Slashdot reader. By the end of this post you will know everything.

So here's the deal...

Wait, you look like me. Is that a gun? No! Let me finish typ

Time does not exist (1)

SirAstral (1349985) | about 5 years ago | (#29819609)

Time does not exist in corporeal reality. It only exists in concept as a tool to methodically track and gauge the progression of the state of matter/energy.

Math is a concept, abstract, invention of the mind. Likewise so is Time.

It has been the here and now since the beginning of "time". All that has changed, is state of the matter in our observable vicinities!

There is no grandfather clock with a massive pendulum swinging in the heavens declaring every second that has been, is now, or yet to come.

Re:Time does not exist (1)

cjfs (1253208) | about 5 years ago | (#29819667)

Math is a concept, abstract, invention of the mind. Likewise so is Time.

Didn't get you an extension on your paper either, did it?

Re:Time does not exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819783)

So time can be manipulated with gravity and velocity, and it's state has an effect on energy and mass, but it doesn't exist? What definition of existence are you using?

Attention Humans (1)

cjfs (1253208) | about 5 years ago | (#29819623)

The earth is not the center of the universe. You can't travel back in time and create paradoxes anymore than a hydrogen atom can. The Higgs boson isn't hiding from you and your macroscopic view. You're not special.

Either I'm missing something, or the level of arrogance in this 'theory' is exceptionally high.

Re:Attention Humans (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 5 years ago | (#29819735)

Either I'm missing something, or the level of arrogance in this 'theory' is exceptionally high.

Arrogance is another thing the universe doesn't care about. A given scientist can be the world's most pompous ass, and still be right.

Not that that's likely in this case. But at least give them points for creativity.

Re:Attention Humans (1)

bane2571 (1024309) | about 5 years ago | (#29819813)

Actually, it's a pretty cool Sciencey-fiction plot. Ever see the butterfly effect? Think about it, human kind invents time travel, almost wipes itself out because of it so goes back and prevents the original invention. Pick a point of failure that is sufficiently essoteric like the higgs boson and humanity might come to believe time travel is not even possible.

Cool for fiction, not so sure I'd want to be the one to suggest time traveling ninja assasins as the reason I failed at my lab work.

Re:Attention Humans (4, Insightful)

AJWM (19027) | about 5 years ago | (#29819895)

A universe which permits time travel which can change the past is inherently unstable. Sooner or later (on some meta time axis) that universe's timeline will be changed to one where such time travel never occurs, and will then stay that way. It's the most stable state.

Re:Attention Humans (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 5 years ago | (#29820811)

To conclude your theory, no universe will ever discover time travel. Its discovery will preclude its own discovery, according to your model, therefore there can be no discovery.

If we're considering time travel, though, how about this "Novikov Self-Consistency Conjecture." What if the universe allowed time travel to the point of time travel being discovered only, and travel prior to that point impossible?

How would we know that the machine worked?

Well (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | about 5 years ago | (#29819701)

The theory may be silly, and currently it appears to violate Occam's razor. It's pretty implausible for now. But, what if every time they try to discover the Higg's Boson, an even unlikelier mishap prevents them? Janitors tripping over power cords, meteors, lightning strikes, structural collapse...

Re:Well (3, Interesting)

glwtta (532858) | about 5 years ago | (#29820397)

Yes, very good point. If something really unlikely happens, we should have a good unlikely explanation ready. It's good we are starting now, so we can be ready when something really unlikely happens.

Analogy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29819727)

I don't get it, can you give me a cars' analogy?

Re:Analogy? (3, Informative)

mooglez (795643) | about 5 years ago | (#29819809)

I don't get it, can you give me a cars' analogy?

Imagine you just got your dream car.

Everytime you try to go on a drive with it, something happens to it.
The kids poked the wheels, a meteor fell trough the engine compartment, the steering wheel just fell of...

Nonsense (1)

ocean_soul (1019086) | about 5 years ago | (#29819821)

The "theory" of Nielsen and Ninomiya is complete nonsense. Read this [] and this [] for more information about these crackpots.

Consider yourself lucky (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 5 years ago | (#29819901)

If Higgs Boson makes time loops that get solved when something break and then is not discovered, really weird things could happen to end those loops (i.e. in FAQ about time travel there were giant ants, and in PKDick's Medler were intelligent killer butterflies). That so far has been just somewhat minor problems that affected only the LHC, but next try could happen something that ends civilization, life on earth or the entire universe.

Breaking sensibly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29820049)

It's silliness and mere opportunism to suggest the LHC will continue to break in ways similar to how it has already--before reaching substantial energies--or that some other weird catastrophe will always occur--all because the Higgs boson is somehow "immune to detection". I can only see the LHC breaking in a spectacular new way when its highest designed energies are achieved--and that at its strangest it might break due to some new phenomenon the designers had not anticipated. The shame would be if the scientists don't obtain enough information to figure out why the LHC broke. Trying to debug such an energetic system could be a problem!

Star Trek IV & The cubs (3, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 5 years ago | (#29820155)

What many people do not realize, is that the cubs that won in 1908 were a completely different team playing in a different field. Wrigely field ( then called wigman park) was built for the Chicago Whales. The whales kicked but winning two championships at the same ballpark that the Cubs suck in. So yadda yadda yadda. Federal league goes kaput, the whales owner buys the cubs, just changes the name of the whales to the cubs and presto chango they never win again.

The obvious problem is that aliens can no longer communicate with the chicago whales. And thus are cursing them from space. Manipulating the flights of balls. Temporary blinding out fielders. Not even the Modern steroids coursing through Sosa's veins were a match for the alien interlopers.

So we need to go back, BACK into the past and rescue the chicago whales and bring them into the modern era where they can successfully communicate with the pissed aliens and allow the Cubs to win or lose as their abilities permit.

Time loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29820279)

Actually we're stuck in a time loop (

And the only way to break out of it to fix LHC again and again until we finally discover the Higgs particle.

It's NOT time 'travel' they're suggesting (1)

John Guilt (464909) | about 5 years ago | (#29820389)

What they're talking about is that the probability of any path in functional space for the universal wave function that includes an observed Higgs is zero. Nothing 'causes' something in the past to happen differently than it could, no signal is sent back to 'prevent' something.

Observed classical physics corresponds to the highest-probability paths for the wave functions of the particles under consideration; these correspond to the extremal values for an integral of a particular function (related to the classical action) along the path---assuming that extremum is a minimum, it means that all other paths give a result for that path-integral that's higher than that. Paths with higher values are _less_ likely, though not impossible if those values are finite.

The path-integral along a given path is exactly that: it is characteristic of the path as a whole. I believe that they are saying that all paths which include a universal state corresponding to any Higgs boson's being observed produce an effectively infinite path integral; my guess (not having read them yet) is that they claim that such a state makes the canonically real action acquire an imaginary component.

To make a rough analogy: even though there are very many possible air routes from Paris to New York, probably chosen to maximise total profit (say) by minimising fuel usage, or maximising the number of passengers by picking up some in London. So some likely paths are a single arc, Paris to New York, another includes London---a third includes a stop in Iceland to pick up the eccentric billionaire who'll pay $10^6 for the lulz....but none of them include Proxima Centauri. No signal is being sent back in time from New York telling the pilot not to go to Centauri, there is just no world in which she even tries to go there---an 'air route' must have air. (This also conveniently leaves more bandwidth for the Illuminati to send their usual backwards-in-time instructions from New York.)-

(The preceding does not represent an endorsement of the validity of their conclusion, I just don't want to see what is being contended mischaracterised.)

Re:It's NOT time 'travel' they're suggesting (1)

SciBrad (1119589) | about 5 years ago | (#29821341)

Yes thank you for pointing this out. I read something similar at a science-y blog the other day. Basically it comes about from assuming a particular form of a complex action as opposed to the standard real one. [] Basically there is a good more or less layperson explanation about it. All this hub-bub about time travel is exaggeration.

Parallel Universes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29821401)

A much more likely explanation is that each time we attempt to observe the Higgs boson, the universe splits into two alternate paths: the one that succeeds is immediately destroyed, and the one that fails continues on. We are by definition in the universe that has (so far) failed to detect it. As far as we will ever be able to know, all attempts to measure the Higgs boson will always fail--the versions of ourselves that learn otherwise will immediately cease to exist.

Could we please stop with the bullshit already? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29821573)

Nothing against theories. Even the wild ones. But bring verifiable predictions, or stop acting as if it were a real theory. It's just an idea. And a pretty bad one to start with.

Mainly because, of all the stupid time travel models that were made up in movies, it is based on the by far stupidest. The one where you can cause time paradoxes, and there is somehow just one time line.
If there were some influence trough time, then that would mean the creation of new time lines. Just like you could kill your father and still live. Because you still came out of the time line where your father lived. You just could never return to it, but only to the newly created one(s), where your father would not exist anymore. Simple. Paradox-free.
But that would destroy the theory. ^^

And I am willing to bet any money you and I have, that they *will* be able to perform the proper experiments. In fact, I am willing to bet all I own, including my life and body on it. Go on. Bet against me. :)

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