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Tags cern , higgs boson , physics

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Old 4th July 2012, 12:28 PM   #121
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MattusMaximus: yes, and I should say your 'bottom line' was always correct. The text you quote is a little ambiguous but it's consistent with what I'd consider right ;-)

Incidentally my jaw nearly fell off this morning when the BBC posted an article online that got it spot on - it's such a common error it's honestly astounding when the media gets it right!
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Old 4th July 2012, 12:29 PM   #122
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How difficult it is to draw a balance between reading the news about this awesome discovery (like as not) and avoiding the staggeringly ignorant comments of the general public. "So what?" "Why don't these so-called scientists do something useful?" "Why not use the money to feed starving Africans!?" "They don't even know what use this will be - what's the point?"

Thick people - OK.
People with opinions - OK.
Thick people with opinions - not OK.
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Old 4th July 2012, 12:29 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by oglommi View Post
When we see how fast alternative medicine will incorporate this new discovery maybe it's time to reevaluate our skepticism?

Just a thought.
Well, I do think that "Higgs woo" will become a new object in the skeptical war on bovine feces.
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Old 4th July 2012, 12:33 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by ben m View Post
It's reasonably safe to say "creating".



There's no reasonable sense in which bosons "have size" or "take up space". It's like looking at a radio antenna and asking whether there's space between the radio waves.
I didn't just mean the bosons or photons or gravitons for that matter. I just meant of all the elementary particles what do you get.

We tend to view solid things as taking up the amount of space that their visible mass occupies. But there's a lot space between the molecules, and a lot of space between the protons and electrons within the molecules and a lot of space between the particles that make up the protons and neutrons and so on. I was just wondering what you'd have left if you squeezed all the proverbial air out of the molecule balloons.
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Old 4th July 2012, 12:34 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by edd View Post
Incidentally my jaw nearly fell off this morning when the BBC posted an article online that got it spot on - it's such a common error it's honestly astounding when the media gets it right!
BBC news caption I read referred to CERNE. So they don't get it all right.
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Old 4th July 2012, 12:37 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by Tubbythin View Post
BBC news caption I read referred to CERNE. So they don't get it all right.
Maybe that's the French spelling.
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Old 4th July 2012, 12:42 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by edd View Post
MattusMaximus: yes, and I should say your 'bottom line' was always correct. The text you quote is a little ambiguous but it's consistent with what I'd consider right ;-)
Thanks, edd

Quote:
Incidentally my jaw nearly fell off this morning when the BBC posted an article online that got it spot on - it's such a common error it's honestly astounding when the media gets it right!
Well, to be fair to the media, I have an advanced degree in physics, I teach physics at both the high school and college level, and I try to be as technically correct as I am able, but I still screw up some of the details on the really cutting-edge stuff like this discovery (such as I did above).

And if someone with my level of training and interest can make such errors, it isn't hard to imagine the typical media wonk making them as well.

Thanks for helping to put the 'E' in JREF!
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Old 4th July 2012, 12:50 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I didn't just mean the bosons or photons or gravitons for that matter. I just meant of all the elementary particles what do you get.

We tend to view solid things as taking up the amount of space that their visible mass occupies. But there's a lot space between the molecules, and a lot of space between the protons and electrons within the molecules and a lot of space between the particles that make up the protons and neutrons and so on. I was just wondering what you'd have left if you squeezed all the proverbial air out of the molecule balloons.
The beginnings of a black hole????
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Old 4th July 2012, 12:56 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
How difficult it is to draw a balance between reading the news about this awesome discovery (like as not) and avoiding the staggeringly ignorant comments of the general public. "So what?" "Why don't these so-called scientists do something useful?" "Why not use the money to feed starving Africans!?" "They don't even know what use this will be - what's the point?"

Thick people - OK.
People with opinions - OK.
Thick people with opinions - not OK.
I think a wonderful way to address these sort of questions/criticism was summed up very well by the director of CERN in this morning's press conference. The last question they took was along these lines, and he answered it beautifully...

Download the press conference here:
https://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1459604
--> go to the 58:38 mark in the video for the question and response.

I have transcribed the response below:
Quote:
First of all, I don't think you should neglect other things, you have to find the right balance to do things. And one of the, to my mind, most important balance is to balance science in the sense that you support applied science and fundamental science. To me, there's only one science, and there's a whole grey area, so it ranges from absolutely fundamental to absolutely applied. But you have to keep in mind there is a virtuous circle: you have fundamental science which drives innovation which drives applied science... and if you break this virtuous circle, you break something for mankind. So you have to be very careful not to break that circle somehow.

Secondly, in a more blunt statement, if there's no fundamental or basic science, then you lose the basis for applied science. And you should look around at how many things came out of the basic, "blue-sky" science compared to the applied science.

You have to get the right balance. If you have one sack of corn, do you eat it or do you plant it? In both cases you are going to starve and die. You have to find the balance: part of it you eat, and part of it you plant. And this balance has to be found...

And you should also see what comes out of this [basic] scientific innovation. I mean, 23 years ago, the World Wide Web was born here, and this has changed the world dramatically. It was born because we needed it, because we were doing our science.

So if you take all of this together, I think there's a lot of justification, once you find the right balance, but the right balance cannot mean that you suppress either fundamental or that you suppress applied science.
I especially like his analogy about the corn. Too bad that quote is too long for a sig file
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Old 4th July 2012, 12:57 PM   #130
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Old 4th July 2012, 12:57 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I didn't just mean the bosons or photons or gravitons for that matter. I just meant of all the elementary particles what do you get.

We tend to view solid things as taking up the amount of space that their visible mass occupies. But there's a lot space between the molecules, and a lot of space between the protons and electrons within the molecules and a lot of space between the particles that make up the protons and neutrons and so on. I was just wondering what you'd have left if you squeezed all the proverbial air out of the molecule balloons.
That space is simply vacuum. So there's nothing to "squeeze out", in that sense.

Or are you referring to simply forgoing the intervening space and putting all those particles together into the smallest volume possible? If so, then I have to agree with the statement above that you're likely moving towards something akin to either a neutron star or black hole.
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Old 4th July 2012, 01:05 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
Surely the "god particle" must consist of three parts. {groan}
Originally Posted by bpesta22 View Post
The father, the boson, and the holy spirit.
No, the Brahmon, the Vishnon, and the Shivon.
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Old 4th July 2012, 01:11 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by xtifr View Post
No, the Brahmon, the Vishnon, and the Shivon.
H0, H+ and H-?
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Old 4th July 2012, 01:25 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by Jorghnassen View Post
Call me when they find the "mother of god" particle, the Higgs bosom which gives all existence a meaning, not mere mass.
Nominated.
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Old 4th July 2012, 02:01 PM   #135
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Can I bet on who will win this/next year's Nobel prize in physics?
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Old 4th July 2012, 02:04 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Is that original?

Rolfe.
Not likely - it was used on MSNBC last night -Rachel Maddow my wife thinks - but says it could have been Lawrence O'donnel. Either way, she passed it to me last night.
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Old 4th July 2012, 02:09 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by Tubbythin View Post
Can I bet on who will win this/next year's Nobel prize in physics?
Don't Nobel prizes usually go to small teams?
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Old 4th July 2012, 02:14 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Don't Nobel prizes usually go to small teams?
At most four I think. Of which one I expect to be Peter Higgs in the next couple of years.
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Old 4th July 2012, 02:21 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by Tubbythin View Post
At most four I think. Of which one I expect to be Peter Higgs in the next couple of years.
Ah, yes, I didn't realize he was still alive.
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Old 4th July 2012, 02:26 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by Jodie View Post
Well I for one was blown away by the news although they said it was a bit premature and would have liked to have a had a couple of more weeks to prepare. Evidently CNN was not impressed. I turned on the news at noon to see what folks were saying and all they were talking about was some fungus in the Himalaya's that acts like viagra. They didn't even mention it.

....
There have been major articles in the National Post and a link on the Bloomberg home page so I am satisfied that the media has recognised this as a significant story.
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Old 4th July 2012, 02:32 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
This is a massive achievement.
Sheesh, tough crowd...
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Old 4th July 2012, 03:17 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by MattusMaximus View Post
... are you referring to simply forgoing the intervening space and putting all those particles together into the smallest volume possible? If so, then I have to agree with the statement above that you're likely moving towards something akin to either a neutron star or black hole.
Wouldn't a black hole be a singularity if it were all those particles together in the smallest volume possible?

Are neutron stars the same density as black holes? (I know the BH has more mass unless it evaporates or whatever they do.)

Black holes = infinitely dense?

Sorry, I know this is all basic stuff but the answers I find on Google aren't exactly the ones I'm asking.
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Old 4th July 2012, 03:27 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Are neutron stars the same density as black holes? (I know the BH has more mass unless it evaporates or whatever they do.)

Black holes = infinitely dense?
If you define density for a black hole as mass divided by volume enclosed by the event horizon then black holes have finite density. And they can come in a very wide variety of densities, including as low density as hydrogen gas here on Earth if they are very large black holes.

Both black holes and neutron stars come in a variety of masses. Though neutron stars are subject to more constraints that lead to a lesser range of mass and densities.
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Old 4th July 2012, 03:34 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
We tend to view solid things as taking up the amount of space that their visible mass occupies. But there's a lot space between the molecules, and a lot of space between the protons and electrons within the molecules and a lot of space between the particles that make up the protons and neutrons and so on. I was just wondering what you'd have left if you squeezed all the proverbial air out of the molecule balloons.
It's simply not a good way of dealing with it. I know it's common to say that "an atom is mostly empty space" but it isn't, really. The electrons in the atom are, in some sense, "filling" all the space in it already.

Why do people say electrons are tiny and/or pointlike? Well, if you hit them with a really short-wavelength probe, you can sort of force them to behave as tiny and pointlike. But an atom isn't doing that, an atom is letting them hang around with long wavelengths.

How about all the stuff whereby an alpha particle can "go right through" an atom "without hitting anything"? That has nothing to do with spatial gaps between things, or emptiness, or hollowness---it's just a statement about how strong the alpha/electron interaction is.
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Old 4th July 2012, 03:41 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
If you define density for a black hole as mass divided by volume enclosed by the event horizon then black holes have finite density. And they can come in a very wide variety of densities, including as low density as hydrogen gas here on Earth if they are very large black holes.
Very large black holes have effectively infinite volumes. A completely classical (nonevaporating) black hole has infinite spatial volume.
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Old 4th July 2012, 03:56 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by Vorpal View Post
Very large black holes have effectively infinite volumes. A completely classical (nonevaporating) black hole has infinite spatial volume.
You're not applying the definition of volume that would most commonly be used to determine a black holes density, are you?
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Old 4th July 2012, 04:06 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
You're not applying the definition of volume that would most commonly be used to determine a black holes density, are you?
I am. There is an ambiguity for black holes because we're taking the volume of a spatial region at some instant in time, and the 'instant in time' is frame-dependent, but allowing for some small caveats my statement was correct.
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Old 4th July 2012, 04:23 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by Vorpal View Post
I am. There is an ambiguity for black holes because we're taking the volume of a spatial region at some instant in time, and the 'instant in time' is frame-dependent, but allowing for some small caveats my statement was correct.
If you're applying the most common definition of volume used to compute black hole density then why aren't black hole density citations a lot closer to zero?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittarius_A*
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/304/5671/704.abstract

Neither of those density citations appear to be using a nearly infinite volume for Sagittarius A*.
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Old 4th July 2012, 04:33 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Neither of those density citations appear to be using a nearly infinite volume for Sagittarius A*.
At a guess, they have a specialized definition of density disconnected from physical volume of a spatial region. Why?
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Old 4th July 2012, 04:38 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Sheesh, tough crowd...
Yeah, people are already making Higgs jokes en masse.
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Old 4th July 2012, 04:43 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by Vorpal View Post
At a guess, they have a specialized definition of density disconnected from physical volume of a spatial region. Why?
The "specialized version" they appear to be applying would be the mass divided by the volume of a sphere using the formula taught in elementary school (such school's typically located outside of black holes).
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Old 4th July 2012, 04:47 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
The "specialized version" they appear to be applying would be the mass divided by the volume of a sphere using the formula taught in elementary school (such school's typically located outside of black holes).
Alright. That's rather specialized because, as I've said, that formula has absolutely nothing to do with the spatial volume of the region enclosed by the horizon. It may give an empirically interesting measurement (in fact it's just a rescaling of surface area), but it is not the volume in any physically meaningful sense.
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Old 4th July 2012, 04:51 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by Vorpal View Post
Alright. That's rather specialized because, as I've said, that formula has absolutely nothing to do with the spatial volume of the region enclosed by the horizon. It may give an empirically interesting measurement (in fact it's just a rescaling of surface area), but it is not the volume in any physically meaningful sense.
In fact, it leads to a perfectly good answer to the question that was asked by Skeptic Ginger.
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Old 4th July 2012, 05:03 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
In fact, it leads to a perfectly good answer to the question that was asked by Skeptic Ginger.
I'm not in any way contradicting that large black holes can be reasonably said to have low density, since they're actually defined by the horizon and not the singularity. I'm simply saying your conclusion was even more true than you suggested.

Though the singularity itself has no volume, so in the other sense it has infinite density (or very large, since we don't know what happens before that).
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Old 4th July 2012, 05:26 PM   #155
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Okay, sorry. I think in the context of the original question we're having an "I think our minds may be too highly trained Majikthise" moment.
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Old 4th July 2012, 06:25 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by edd View Post
Incidentally my jaw nearly fell off this morning when the BBC posted an article online that got it spot on - it's such a common error it's honestly astounding when the media gets it right!
Is this the article?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-18702455

(This one helped me understand the sigma stuff.)

I like this part:

Quote:
They claimed that by combining two data sets, they had attained a confidence level just at the "five-sigma" point - about a one-in-3.5 million chance that the signal they see would appear if there were no Higgs particle.

However, a full combination of the CMS data brings that number just back to 4.9 sigma - a one-in-two million chance.

Prof Joe Incandela, spokesman for the CMS, was unequivocal: "The results are preliminary but the five-sigma signal at around 125 GeV we're seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle," he told the Geneva meeting.
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Old 4th July 2012, 07:43 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Okay, sorry. I think in the context of the original question we're having an "I think our minds may be too highly trained Majikthise" moment.
As I see the difference between you, Vorpal in the context of Skeptic Ginger's question ...

Inside the event horizon anything can be regarded as "volume" from our point of view, because out here we're protected from it. In our protected space we can fly around outside the horizon, take GPS measurements to get the volume, weigh the singularity by other means and come up with a density. Our protection guarantees that everything remains consistent with the evidence we're able to gather. No judge will yet provide a warrant to search beyond the horizon.

There's a name for this which I've forgotten, but the general principle helps keep me sane.
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Old 4th July 2012, 08:09 PM   #158
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Cosmic Censorship may be the name you're referring to?
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Old 4th July 2012, 08:40 PM   #159
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http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/co...5806418_n.jpeg

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Old 4th July 2012, 08:50 PM   #160
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Originally Posted by ben m View Post
The Higgs boson is an unstable (something like 10^-25 seconds) particle whose interactions are, in the context of the Standard Model, 100% known.

Many bosons died to bring us this information.
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