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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Implications of Finding the Higgs Boson?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the already-working-on-a-marketing-jingle dept.

Science 683

PhunkySchtuff writes "OK, so we're all hearing the news that they've found the Higgs boson. What are some of the more practical implications that are likely to come out of this discovery? I realize it's hard to predict this stuff — who would have thought that shining a bright light on a rod of ruby crystal would have lead to digital music on CDs and being able to measure the distance to the moon to an accuracy of centimeters? If the Higgs boson is the particle that gives other particles mass, would our being able to manipulate the Higgs lead to being able to do things with mass such as we can do with electromagnetism? Will we be able to shield or block the Higgs from interacting with other particles, leading to a reduction in mass (and therefore weight?) Are there other things that this discovery will lead to in the short to medium term?"

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Probably (5, Insightful)

Squiddie (1942230) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554003)

We will find a way to blow stuff up with it. It's humanity's specialty, after all.

Re:Probably (5, Informative)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554181)

Currently the finding of the Higgs particle is just that it confirms that the theories are correct and that a new platform has been established. This means that they will continue the same track.

But I don't think that this will cause new ways to blow things up - you may need something bigger than the CERN accelerator to make things happen.

But if someone later determines that this wasn't the Higgs particle but another unpredicted particle type then the current model will fall and some new model has to be created.

Re:Probably (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554321)

Currently the finding of the Higgs particle is just that it confirms that the theories are correct and that a new platform has been established. This means that they will continue the same track.

But I don't think that this will cause new ways to blow things up - you may need something bigger than the CERN accelerator to make things happen.

But if someone later determines that this wasn't the Higgs particle but another unpredicted particle type then the current model will fall and some new model has to be created.

Atomic bombs are soooo 1960's - the modern way to wipe out humanity is with bio-engineering of custom plagues.

Re:Probably (4, Funny)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554529)

It's actually interesting to see how we've come full circle - war starts = sticks and rocks, continues = swords and shields, more = catapulting dead bodies over sieged walls, continues = guns and bullets and traditional bombs, continues = atom bomb bitches, more = the MOAB, smart missles and bombs, and big ass machine guns to tear buildings to pieces - or, a step back to conventional bombs, now = bio-engineered weapons, or the cheaters version of lobbing bodies over walls.

I'm predicting a run on big sticks and bigger rocks at around the year 2026 or so.

Re:Probably (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554613)

+1 it would be a very foolish government that can not see the value in a fully functioning health care system as part of their national defense strategy.

Re:Probably (5, Interesting)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554501)

But I don't think that this will cause new ways to blow things up - you may need something bigger than the CERN accelerator to make things happen.

Actually...one of the exciting findings is that the Higgs boson's mass is lower than expected. So low that the standard model predicts that the vacuum should be unstable. That means any space with no particles in it should be boiling away, with the zero point energy converting into real energy. Since we probably would have noticed if the universe had spontaneously disintegrated, that suggests something needs to be fixed in the standard model.

If fixing the standard model leads to a way for us to utilize the zero point energy, this discovery might just lead to a new way to blow things up. And if -- ghod forbid -- we discover a way to make the vacuum unstable, then we might learn how to make one really big boom. Just one, because it will consume the entire universe, but that one will be REALLY BIG.

Re:Probably (2)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554505)

But I don't think that this will cause new ways to blow things up - you may need something bigger than the CERN accelerator to make things happen.

Pessimists never blew anything up worth blowing up.

Re:Probably (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554281)

Stuff belonging to people standing on OUR oil.

Re:Probably (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554287)

We will find a way to blow stuff up with it. It's humanity's specialty, after all.

More likely it'll feature in some diet pharma ploy - Reduce Your Mass With New Higgs-Boson Removing Creme!

The way you float around the room, I'd say you've lost a few Higgs-Bosons, Honey!

Re:Probably (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554331)

We will find a way to blow stuff up with it. It's humanity's specialty, after all.

More likely it'll feature in some diet pharma ploy - Reduce Your Mass With New Higgs-Boson Removing Creme!

The way you float around the room, I'd say you've lost a few Higgs-Bosons, Honey!

Yeah that's just what the fatties need - another way to avoid discipline and exercise.

"No dear, that dress doesn't make you look fat. At all. It's your ass that does that!"

Re:Probably (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554351)

We'll make a Higgs Boson gun that shoots atoms full of mass. Then we'll use it to make planes fall out of the sky, cause submarines to sink until they implode, and make people collapse under their own weight.

Re:Probably (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554357)

We will find a way to blow stuff up with it. It's humanity's specialty, after all.

Well, either that or the first use will have something to do with letting us watch even more pornography.

Antigravity (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554039)

Will we be able to shield or block the Higgs from interacting with other particles, leading to a reduction in mass (and therefore weight?)

EOM

Re:Antigravity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554073)

weight != mass

Re:Antigravity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554155)

Spy Handler didn't say mass and weight are the same

Re:Antigravity (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554165)

weight != mass

No shit.

Take an object and reduce its mass, then tell me what happens to its weight.

Re:Antigravity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554257)

weight != mass

No shit.

Take an object and reduce its mass, then tell me what happens to its weight.

You've violated the conservation of momentum. There is no need to answer the second part of your statement because it is irrelevant. Remember F = dp/dt.

Re:Antigravity (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554329)

What if it just transfers the effective mass to everything else in the universe (or maybe locally)?

Did I just come up with a way to detect advanced alien civilizations (measure tiny mass fluctuations propagating through space)?

Re:Antigravity (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554291)

That depends. Are we talking about the inertial mass, or the gravitational mass? They may be numerically equal, but that doesn't mean they are the same thing.

Re:Antigravity (2)

richpoore (925284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554237)

Weight does not equal mass but mass is vitally involved in determining weight.

Re:Antigravity (2, Informative)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554431)

Weight does not equal mass but mass is vitally involved in determining weight.

Only when a gravitational field is measurably present. Gravity is the primary determinant of weight, vice mass. Mass is only a secondary or tertiary determinant of weight.

Re:Antigravity (1)

richpoore (925284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554531)

Correct me if I'm wrong but I assume there is no weight when a gravitational field isn't present or when there's no mass. So, when there is weight, mass is vitally involved in determining said weight. Also, if both are needed for weight to exist or be measurable, what makes one primary and the other secondary?

Re:Antigravity (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554603)

No, being the invariant, mass is the "primary" determinant. Gravity is the variable, mass is not (ideally, that is).

That's an easy one (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554045)

There will be an immediate and nearly catastrophic increase in the amount of bad science, pseudo-science and technobabble-based science fiction in popular media.

It could be years before the world recovers from this.

Re:That's an easy one (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554129)

Don't forget the religious community who will say that it does not matter, the world started 5,600 years ago.

Re:That's an easy one (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554385)

Don't forget the religious community who will say that it does not matter, the world started 5,600 years ago.

Yes, some religious people are ignorant and small-minded, just like some of any people are ignorant and small-minded. Hey, I got it! Let's paint them all with a really broad brush. Yeah, that'll fix them!

Then everyone will know we're not ignorant and small-minded like they are!

Re:That's an easy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554169)

I was going to suggest something similar. Expect the next Star Trek series to explain warp drive as "an artifical inhibition of the Higgs field, allowing conventional matter to transition past light speed."

Re:That's an easy one (0)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554195)

There will be an immediate and nearly catastrophic increase in the amount of bad science, pseudo-science and technobabble-based science fiction in popular media.

It could be years before the world recovers from this.

True. Or politicians could get involved (ala global warming) and we could guarantee that the world wouldn't recover or benefit from it...

Re:That's an easy one (0)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554301)

Actually, I was just thinking that it would be packaged in a pill that helps you lose weight. You may look like you weigh 300 pounds, but you're really only 98 pounds! Step on the scale and see for yourself.

The ability to dynamically change your weight might also be interesting for American football. Next time Vince Wilfork gets an interception [youtube.com] , dial his weight down and he's suddenly sprinting for the goal line.

Re:That's an easy one (3, Informative)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554327)

"There will be an immediate and nearly catastrophic increase in the amount of bad science, pseudo-science and technobabble-based science fiction in popular media."

In Sci-Fi, such as TV shows or novelizations therefrom, yes.

In Science Fiction, where writers drink bourbon and eat science magazines with sprinkles, we'll do it right, as usual, for the real SF devotees.

Don't confuse the two genres.

Re:That's an easy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554457)

I've already seen people posting that it proves the existance of god somehow.

Re:That's an easy one (1)

Empiric (675968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554469)

You seem to be suspiciously avoiding the term "mass" media.

The cover-up of the Higgs' nefarious role in the conspiracy's broadcast disinformation campaign has already begun, clearly.

Re:That's an easy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554521)

It could be years before the world recovers from this.

We discovered the God Particle. It is omnipresent and omnipotent. It made everything possible. The Bible is right. The Torah and Koran are wrong.

I'm guessing more like centuries.

Re:That's an easy one (1)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554551)

What!? How dare you speak of the God particle that way!

I've thought of 2 great applications! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554065)

1)The Higgs diet. Eat whatever you want, you'll always weigh as much as you want!
2)A freakin' suitcase that no matter what I'm putting in, it will always weigh less than 20kg, 'cause FUCK YOU AIRPORTS AND YOUR EXTRA FEES.

Re:I've thought of 2 great applications! (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554177)

#2 is also known as a bag of holding.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bag_of_holding [wikipedia.org]

Re:I've thought of 2 great applications! (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554299)

#2 is also known as a bag of holding.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bag_of_holding [wikipedia.org]

Also known as - heard from my grandfather (who was Navy, not Army) - a Blivet [wikipedia.org] :

In traditional U.S. Army slang dating back to the Second World War, a blivet was defined as "ten pounds of manure in a five pound bag"...

Re:I've thought of 2 great applications! (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554445)

Flew on Air Canada a while ago, if your bag goes over 50lbs. you immediately must pay $100CAN 8-(

Also if you fly in executive class, you can carry bags of unlimited mass. You could theoretically pack a solid block of osmium the size of your suitcase's interior.

Fonts may be affected. (4, Funny)

ElmoGonzo (627753) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554075)

Comic Sans in particular can be expected to become more popular.

Re:Fonts may be affected. (1)

Pro-feet (2668975) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554359)

And awful color choices...

Angry Bird Higgs (5, Funny)

Ashenkase (2008188) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554081)

We will be able to develop a new physics engine for Angry Birds.

Direct momentum inducers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554093)

Instead of propelling vehicles by producing explosions and using the resultant mechanical force to create momentum, we will (someday) be able to directly convert stored energy into momentum.

This will be much more effecient, and will also completely eliminate the experience of inertia for the passengers. Safe acceleration rates will be much higher than they are now, with atmospheric friction and collisions being the primary limiting factors (well, and also the energy source, but that bar will be much higher).

I am not a scientist, and really don't know what I am talking about. But this would be cool.

Re:Direct momentum inducers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554489)

Instead of propelling vehicles by producing explosions and using the resultant mechanical force to create momentum, we will (someday) be able to directly convert stored energy into momentum.

We already can, just strap a rocket on the back.

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554097)

I get my Hoverboard that's been long overdue!

Re:Finally (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554353)

I get my Hoverboard that's been long overdue!

Don't forget your self-tying, inflatable Nikes!

Re:Finally (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554361)

Or just in time?

Just two and a half more years.

Grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554099)

"...would have lead to digital music..."

You used the word "lead" when you should have used the word "led". "Lead" is present tense. "Led" is past tense. Learn English grammar.

Re:Grammar (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554183)

They were confused by a Led Zeppelin mp3. Besides, too much digital music can lead to deaf leopards.

sandwiches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554107)

it will lead to tastier sandwiches.

Not so much as finding Po-210 on Arafat's clothing (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554121)

Honestly. The hype on this Higgs-Boson quest is reaching nauseating levels. It's cool, but what of it? Will it give us world peace? Will it deliver flying cars? What about donuts? Doesn't anyone think about donuts anymore?!?

Re:Not so much as finding Po-210 on Arafat's cloth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554201)

Personally I would love to have some Higgs sprinkles, for a more weighty donut that fills me up too.

Re:Not so much as finding Po-210 on Arafat's cloth (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554377)

Personally I would love to have some Higgs sprinkles, for a more weighty donut that fills me up too.

Have you considered Lard Lad? He's the Bottom Line in Donuts!

Re:Not so much as finding Po-210 on Arafat's cloth (1)

brunorossi (2677799) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554475)

I'm not down playing the significance of the potential assassination of Arafat, but this is one of the biggest scientific discoveries in the past 40 years. A few days coverage is not that crazy. It would be weird to not cover it. As for "what of it?", understanding what sort of universe we live in can have a very powerful effects. For example, understanding that the Earth orbits the sun or that creatures evolve or that space and time are not absolute fundamentally changed how a lot of people see themselves, religion, and their relationship to society. Those discoveries have really shaken up humanity. Does this discovery do that? No, probably not, but it may lead to some other discoveries that might do that. For example, in presentations on Higgs results I've attended, it has been suggested that if the mass of the Higgs is 125 GeV instead of 124 or 126 GeV, the vacuum may be unstable. Let me spell that out a little more clearly, space may be unstable. That's kind of a big deal.

Very little changes (4, Insightful)

dittbub (2425592) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554131)

I don't think anything changes except that the model they've discovered years ago is in fact real.

Re:Very little changes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554587)

Real = good for the time being

Re:Very little changes (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554635)

I think this is the best answer yet. We already knew it was there, we just needed to prove it.

No (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554135)

To manipulate it's properties would would be something like LHC.
Plus, one you return it the higher state of symmetry, how do you generate a field to prevent symmetry from breaking?
returning it to symmetry would mean the particle becomes zero mass. If it's zero mass would it even interact with other particle in the way needed to hold 'large' objects together?

Re:No (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554277)

To manipulate it's properties would would be something like LHC.

For now, but let's be practical; how long could it possibly take to miniaturize a 27km ring that spits out one boson every few hours?

Text book sales..... (5, Funny)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554139)

now that its been discovered, all textbooks will have to be re-written and sold to students.

Re:Text book sales..... (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554379)

now that its been discovered, all textbooks will have to be re-written and sold to students.

So, business as usual, then?

Re:Text book sales..... (3)

Pro-feet (2668975) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554411)

This is actually interesting. I got the electro-weak symmetry breaking theory in my 4th year of university (physics, of course). It was thaught as an essential ingredient of the Standard Model, which it is. But in a sense the absence of the Higgs boson discovery at that time was not considered so important. The underlying physics has effectively already been absorbed into the university physics curriculum.

Re:Text book sales..... (2)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554429)

(insert gratuitous flamebaiting remark regarding exemptions for textbooks in Kansas, Oklahoma, and most of Texas, here)

A whole list of stuff: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554147)

Teleportation
Warp Travel
Cure for aging
Phasers
Faster than light communication
Practical sub $1,000 quantum computers
Land Speeders

There are other more practical applications of applying higgs-boson technology but these are the most obvious.

Inevitable (3, Funny)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554173)

Sudden, otherwise inexplicable increase in popularity of "Higgs" as a baby name.

God help us!

Validates the Higgs mechanism (1)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554197)

It validates the Higgs mechanism, which explains why elementary particles have mass. Now the Higgs boson is no longer considered hypothetical, likewise the Higgs mechanism and the Higgs field, mediated by the Higgs bosun. Speaking as a layman.

Re:Validates the Higgs mechanism (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554227)

Everyone knows Bosun Higgs is in charge of the mass on this ship.

Re:Validates the Higgs mechanism (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554479)

It validates the Higgs mechanism, which explains why elementary particles have mass.

True, but there's still no explanation for why particles have the particular mass that they do.

Re:Validates the Higgs mechanism (1)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554507)

True, and that was not the question.

Hover Board (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554205)

We'll finally be able to invent that Hover Board everyone's been waiting for.

The bad news.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554209)

In and ever increasing expanding universe what the Higgs Boson means, as it verifies no energy is lost only transformed, is simple that we are going to expand into nothing eventually. Unless we can find a Clair Bosom to Fu& Higss and have new energy born.

Create elements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554229)

Me thinks if we can apply mass to atoms, could we control the amount of mass... say use it to manufacture gold? or other precious elements?
INB4: The amount of energy required blah blah blah...

Phasers, transporters, warp drives (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554235)

Someone already beat me to these but s/he was an anonymous coward so s/he doesn't count.
I listed phasers first cuz they're cooler.

the biggest innovation will be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554241)

the biggest innovation will be being able to control the mass then by adding or removing mass from matter and keeping it together thus you could have a cheat on faster then light travel

A great question (3, Insightful)

Spiflicator (64611) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554245)

I would suspect if all that happened here is that the expected model was confirmed, that lots of research under the premise of the expected model being accurate would have already occurred/be taking place currently. I would think confirmation might just make it easier to get funding to do more. That said, I was itching to burn my mod points on anybody who responded with a non-joke answer. Ah well.

Ob Faraday (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554253)

Of what use is a newborn child?

Re:Ob Faraday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554517)

Not much. But when you are paying several billion euros for a baby, you'd like at least some reasonable speculation on the subject.

Re:Ob Faraday (3, Funny)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554633)

Terrible analogy. How are you supposed to sell Higgs Boson's on eBay?

"In the short or medium term"? No. (5, Interesting)

Bootsy Collins (549938) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554259)

Full disclosure: I'm a physicist with some high energy/field theory in my background; but I stopped doing anything with high energy theory twenty years ago. Maybe someone who works in the field will disagree with me. And also, some of what I'm saying here I said on /. nine years ago, when someone asked what the practical implications were of experiments that were shedding light on the quark-gluon plasma, because my answer is close to the same.

With that said . . .I can't imagine any short (or even medium) term practical application. In fact, I can't even imagine practical value in the long term. Mind, it's certainly possible that down the road someone cleverer than I am will come up with something. In fact, that's the normal way in which major technological advances have occurred. For instance, Schottky wasn't trying to invent the transistor when he started studying the quantum behavior of transition metals. Michael Faraday didn't really see any public benefit to understanding electromagnetism, either. It's always worked like this: pure research has historically been without such obvious benefit.

But nevertheless, I don't want to suggest that that's the eventual result here, because I don't believe it will be. I think that would be disingenuous of me. I highly doubt that an improved understanding of Higgs physics will ever produce any wonderful and amazing technological advance. To me, the motivation is simply that understanding and knowledge -- especially of something like how the Universe got to be the way it is, and why it works the way it does -- is inherently a good thing. It has value by definition. Perhaps my least favorite thing about our society is that we are trained to evaluate the worth of things in terms of their economic value. Just like love, understanding has its own value, in my mind -- bereft of any "practical" value.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. To the best of our ability to tell, there's only one place where elements heavier than carbon (such as nitrogen, oxygen, sodium, etc. etc.) can be formed in large amounts -- and that's inside a star. Only elements as heavy as carbon or lighter can be formed in the early universe (and, for that matter, the amounts of Li, Be, B and C formed in Big Bang Nucleosynthesis are very very small); for heavier elements, and for larger amounts of carbon etc., you need a star. Now, if you didn't already know this, stop and think about it for a second. A huge chunk of you, perhaps all of you, was inside a star at one time. It appears that you and I are star debris. And it gets even better. The way that large amounts of these elements, forged within a star, can get out of the star is if the star supernovas -- dies at the end of its lifetime with a big boom. That big boom also serves to make very heavy elements -- such as uranium, for instance -- that cannot be made even in a star while it's burning away. There's uranium, and other similar very heavy elements, on our planet. Do you see what I'm getting at? Much of the atoms that make all of us up, that make this planet up, were at one time inside a star (or stars) that lived its life, supernovaed, and spewed out debris. Eventually, maybe a few hundred million years later, that stuff is part of our planet, part of our atmosphere, our water, part of you and me. We are all brothers and sisters; we all came from the same place, sorta.

Now, that knowledge will never make me any money. It will never have any practical benefit in my life. And yet, I consider myself immensely richer for knowing it.

Understanding has its own value.

Re:"In the short or medium term"? No. (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554483)

Whoa, we are stardust [youtube.com] ?
So like Every atom in your body
Came from a star that exploded
You are all star dust
From a star that exploded

Science based Spirituality? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554485)

Now, that knowledge will never make me any money. It will never have any practical benefit in my life. And yet, I consider myself immensely richer for knowing it.

Understanding has its own value.

Science based Spirituality?

I LIKE it! A spirituality that has facts to support it.

Re:"In the short or medium term"? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554537)

But if we look long term, we might see warp drive, gravity shielding, or gravity generators. Right now, we can generate magnetic, electric, and electromagnetic fields, but we can not construct a circuit to generate either a positive or negative gravitational field. If would could generate a gravity field, we could produce one heck of a trash compactor or maybe even a component for a fusion reactor. If it turns out gravity has an opposite or negative, we could possibly make a gravity shieding and put it under 18-wheelers to make them more fuel efficient. I am sure the military is already interested in the weaponization of the Higgs. One we move beyond the parlour tricks and practical jokes we would move on to understanding the relationship between gravity, space, and time. Once we have mastered that, warp drive and serious space exploration could be in our future. Maybe even moon mining or asteroid mining.

Knowing that Higgs exists is only half the battle. Exploiting the Higgs and its properties for new applications are the second and equally difficult task. Right now we know about all sorts of subatomic particles, but sadly there are few applications.

I had to post anonymously today on this topic.

Re:"In the short or medium term"? No. (-1)

gewalker (57809) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554541)

I am not a physicist. However, I suspect one practical benefit is that we should be able to reduce the amount of money we spend funding high-energy physics that will never produce anything of practical value. Although new scientific knowledge has intrinsic merit, the percentage of funding for this aspect of pure science has left other science starving for funds. The large hadron collider cost 7.5 billion euros (about 10 billion USD).

Never mind, they are already planning to upgrade it. Nobody ever asks for less money.

Re:"In the short or medium term"? No. (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554581)

Thanks for posting.

Re:"In the short or medium term"? No. (1)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554641)

It appears that you and I are star debris.

Speak for yourself. I'm big bang debris.

E=MC^2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554265)

What happens when M approaches 0...nothing...that's the problem. Let's say that we take out the "M", if we do then fundamental physics fails. The H-B particle if found should give us a path to removing it which would ultimately destroy cohesion of the substance in that if there is no mass then either there is no energy which would indicate bad things, or light speed becomes infinite, in which case our understanding of the universe is flawed...when does the Mayan calendar end? :)

Mass is mostly strong force binding energy (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554303)

Notwithstanding the chatter about non-zero rest mass being related to the Higgs mechanism, an undermentioned fact is that 99% of the mass of all ordinary matter comes from strong force binding energy in protons and neutrons. E.g., look at the mass section of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark

Twiddling with rest masses of quarks only twiddles with about 11/938ths = about 1% of the rest mass of nucleons. Some of the bias to neglecting this statistic is surely to help elevate in the popular mind the significance of results from the expensive LHC and standard model verification. Naturally, truly massless quarks and/or leptons would lead to major revisions of the standard model and all that. Still, it's just a bit disingenous to keep referring to the Higgs as the origin of "mass" with a bunch of celebrity analogies and whatnot. In the popular mind, mass is more akin to the effective mass of matter at rest (or in slow motion relative to the speed of light), and for that trait it is really strong force binding energy rather than Higgs interactions that creates almost all of it. Such poor analogies lead to weird comments like the original snippet above.

Creation of massless matter? (0)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554309)

Maybe we'll discover a way of creating three-dimensional objects that have zero mass. Imagine something with the strength of the strongest alloys, but zero measurable mass. You'd have to add conventional matter to them as ballast, just to keep them from floating away! You could build massive structures from it, and they'd have a fraction of the mass of conventional buildings. You could have bicycles that weigh only a couple pounds. The possibilities would be endless, it would revolutionize everything.

Re:Creation of massless matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554433)

It's already been discovered. It's called stupidity. Zero mass, infinite strength, and limitless reach.

Re:Creation of massless matter? (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554559)

Is there some reason you're insisting on being Mister Crankypants Rain-on-my-parade guy? Did you not have your coffee yet today? Or did you forget to take your meds this morning? Got turned down and laughed at by that girl you were interested in so you're taking it out on everyone else?

Mass Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554339)

The following is a way-out theory, thanks to a wonderful video game franchise called "Mass Effect":

Well, if we can figure out a way to change the mass of things by manipulating the Higgs Boson... Maybe we can make some sort of transportation device?

Could the Higgs be the "element zero" we need?

"Mass effect fields are created through the use of element zero. Element zero (Higgs?) can increase or decrease the mass content of space-time when subjected to an electrical current via dark energy. With a positive current, mass is increased. With a negative current, mass is decreased. The stronger the current, the greater the magnitude of the dark energy mass effect."

All we need to know now is if the Higgs affects space-time... Or if that even is a scientifically valid statement.

http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Mass_effect_field

It's painfully obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554409)

This will open up vast new possibilities for porn parodies.

Just the act of finding it is an achievement . . . (5, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554425)

. . . from a book by Physicist Leonard Mlodinow:

Sure, the physics behind the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator in Switzerland, is a monument to the human mind. But so are the scale and complexity of the organization that build it -- one LHC experiment alone required more that 2,500 scientists, engineers, and technicians in 37 countries to work together, solving problems cooperatively in an ever-changing and complex environment. The ability to form organizations that can create such achievements is as impressive at the achievements themselves.

-- From his book "Subilminal"

Our children will find out (5, Insightful)

MetricT (128876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554493)

Thermodynamics began in 1650, but the first air conditioner wasn't invented until 1820.

Maxwell's work on electrodynamics was published in 1861, but radio wasn't invented until 30 years later.

Quantum mechanics was first formulated in modern form in the 1920's, but the integrated circuit wasn't built until 1956.

Today, Higgs is a scientific curiosity, and a validation of the Standard Model. While I suspect it will take longer than 20 years for practical applications of Higgs to emerge, the science and engineering required to build the accelerator are already leading to breakthroughs in material science, computation, and engineering today. Today's accelerator is tomorrow's medical proton beam to cure cancer. And maybe, just maybe, the grandkids will get warp drive out of it.

Or, we could go bomb some more brown people and give more tax cuts to billionaires. Which seems like a better long-term investment?

Fusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554553)

Well, at the energies required to manifest a Higgs boson, you will not be likely to routinely do it in your living room...

The most likely *practical* applications of any LHC results (of which higgs is only one example) will be in the field of large scale fusion energy production.

Proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40554555)

It's proove that long hard work can pay off. :-)

Implications? A big shit storm over the glory (4, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554561)

A Nobel award is given to at most 3 people. But in modern times theoretical research is not something that a single person does in their basement .. so there are 6 people (actually one is deceased - so isn't eligible because of that) who could make a claim for the glory. See higgs-boson-nobel-prize-headache [guardian.co.uk] for a better run down on all of this.
 
Interestingly Higgs wasn't the first to publish on this subject. And I heard yesterday on NPR from a former student of Higgs who suggested he wanted to call it the "God Damned Particle" - but it seems that the name went all PC.

Now they need to discover the anti-higgs (1)

Ratchet (79516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554609)

which would subtract mass, allowing for negative mass and thus faster-than-light travel. Someone write sci-fi around that, sounds sweet.

Faster than light travel? (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554621)

IANAP (I am not a physicist), but I do know that the speed-of-light limit is mass-related. Massless particles move at the speed of light, particles with mass move at up to the speed of light.

Could it not be true that particles with negative mass move above lightspeed? I know tachyons are at least theorized, although I'm not sure if they're supposed to have negative mass or if they have some other relativistic loophole.

Now, assuming the above is true, couldn't the manipulation of the Higgs field result in negative mass? We obviously have no method, right now, of doing so, but wouldn't that at least be plausible?

*Manipulate* Higgs? (1)

drdrgivemethenews (1525877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40554631)

We can't even directly detect the thing; we have to infer its existence from the decay of other particles. I'd say it will be a while before we use it to blow shit up.
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