I haven’t been able to find a lot of things in my life, but I can’t think of a single thing for which my search could possibly have lasted 40 years. I’d have given up by then. If only because by the time I found the lost shoe, the misplaced spectacles, the missing widget, it would be totally useless by then anyway.
Obviously the Higgs Bosom belongs in a different category altogether. Some of the best minds in the world spending billions of dollars have been looking for it. And now they think they’ve found it.
They are only pretty sure, mind you, because nothing in science is ever 100% certain. But they think they found it.
So why were they looking for the Higgs Bosom? Because up until now scientists have been unable to explain why the almost infinitesimally small particles that emerged with the Big Bang haven’t all just kept whizzing around at the speed of light in splendid isolation from each other. What made some of them slow down and mass together? In other words, what made the particles give up their individuality to bind together ultimately to form atoms and molecules, the very stuff of matter? It must have been something very powerful because bound together in the atom are both negative and positive particles that one would expect to repel each other.
The Higgs Bosom creates the Higgs field which slows down any other particles in its field and so creates bunches, or mass or matter. It’s why irreverent scientists dubbed it the “God particle.”
Okay, it’s pretty easy to understand what the Higgs Bosom does.
What I can’t find anybody to explain is how it does it. How, for instance, did scientists know to search in a particular place of the particle spectrum? And how did they know it when they found it?
I haven’t a clue to the answer to this question.
I have the feeling I am going to have to ask one of those brainy scientists working on the problem to explain it.
But I have the scary feeling I won’t have any idea what any of them are talking about.
Anyway, scientists say that now that they have a pretty comprehensive theory about matter, which accounts for about 4% of the Universe, they are now free to start looking for dark matter, which explains about 23% of the Universe. Another 73% of the Universe is composed of dark energy, and even the brainiest scientists don’t really know what that is. A few scientists think it doesn’t exist. They say we only think it does because we are misinterpreting what we see.
Well, that’s nothing new, is it?