By Chet Yarbrough
Searching for the God Particle
By: Scientific American Articles
Narrated by : Alex Boyles
It’s difficult to believe but it has been nine years since the Higgs Boson particle was discovered. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Cern, Switzerland bombarded atoms with protons to reveal a new fundamental particle of atoms known as Higgs Boson.
Alex Boyles offers an excellent narration of several “Scientific American” articles written by scientists about the significance and limitations of the Higgs Boson’ discovery.
Higgs Boson is an elementary particle produced by excitation in what is called the Higg’s field. It is a particle that decays into other particles which makes it difficult to identify. It was theorized by Peter Higgs with five other scientists in 1964. It is a particle that gives mass to what we see in the world. One of the articles cited in this narration suggests the particle that was discovered had less weight than was expected which led to speculation that another, different Higgs Boson, will be found in the future.
As of this date, though many particles have been seen, no new elementary particles have been confirmed by an improved higher velocity LHC at Cern, Switzerland.
One broad category of scientists is defined as reductionist. Scientist’s pursuit of fundamental particles of atoms like the Higgs Boson falls into the reductionist scientist’ category. This category of scientists believes the door to a better understanding of physics can only be opened with the use of fundamental particles in experiments that reliably predict the same results.
Reductionist’ thought is that more fundamental particle discovery will provide an experimental base upon which a provable “theory of everything” can be developed.
Albert Einstein, and other scientists, offer many scientific theories that have been proven by reproducible experiments, either later in their lives or after their deaths.
Without discovery of the fundamental particles of nature, reductionists argue it is impossible to create repeatable experimental results. They believe repeatable experimental results are the heart of truth. However, reproducible experiment is no guarantee of truth. There is the threat of science bias to confirm theories. There is error in experimental set-up. There is the lure of money, power, and prestige of science experimenters that deny or confirm test results.
However, whether denied or confirmed, reproducible experimental results give weight to knowledge, if not absolute truth.
Einstein’s E=mc2 theorized energy and mass are equivalent. The theory is proven by experimentally repeatable destruction by atomic bomb detonations. To discover a “theory of everything” requires proof. Einstein unsuccessfully searched for a “theory of everything” to the end of his life. He theorized there is a “theory of everything”, but he never discovers why quantum mechanics, and the principle of gravity would not fit into a predictable equation like E=mc2.
To science reductionists, the answer lies in understanding the fundamental particles of nature and how they relate to each other. However, not all scientists are reductionists. Some suggest the atom and its electrons, protons, and neutrons are all that is needed to pursue the fundamental laws of nature. Some scientists suggest understanding atoms has little to do with understanding nature. To these scientists, Higgs Bosun is of little consequence.
A “theory of everything” is presumably something all scientists are interested in, but their theories range from invention by mind, to the thermodynamics of entropy, to God.
What seems relevant in listening to these “Scientific American” articles is –Different ways of looking for the truth is critical to the future of humanity. To many, pursuit of natural laws by scientists is key to human survival. Whether a science’ reductionist, entropic theorist, believer in God, or philosopher, a provable “theory of everything” offers growth to science and a possible future for humanity.