Thursday, 22 December 2011

All about the Higgs Boson

Last week we heard news that scientists at CERN are - maybe - edging closer to finding the Higgs Boson.

This was news demanding attention from Sixty Symbols.

But I was away from Nottingham and unable to speak with the usual suspects.

To make a amends I've published a 12-minute epic:



Followed by 49 minutes of hyper-extended interview footage on Test Tube (traditional home of our bonus footage):



2 comments:

  1. I loved this. Just watched the long interviews. I want to make sure you know that some of us are devouring all this footage and anxiously awaiting more. This makes the science so much more exciting that we get to talk to people whom it impacts directly, and catch their enthusiasm.

    I studied physics at the undergraduate level and read everything I can get my hands on about it to try to puzzle it out. The math of this sort of thing is beyond me but I like technical discussions of it. The stuff that appears in the popular press is not useful because it's so vague. The level of depth at which you tackle these questions is perfect.

    As for answering the question of the eventual usefulness of this sort of basic science, things like unlimited free energy are quite possible, which would transform our technological abilities entirely. Unlimited free energy would mean no more problems with clean water, for instance, because desalinization plants would be no big deal. Once you can irrigate with and drink water from the ocean, you can grow food far cheaper, and so on. Unlimited free energy would solve climate change, because we could just pump greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and re-bury them. It could also get us into space, terraforming moons and planets and building inside-out worlds in the asteroid belt, allowing humans to uncouple from the planet Earth so that we're far safer as a species from any one catastrophic event (such as a dinosaur-killer-size impact, a supermassive volcano system blowup, or something on that level) wiping us out.

    So, while it's not a direct connection by any means, understanding physics and cosmology at high energies is very worth doing, mainly because it could potentially offer humans unlimited free energy.

    Of course, the last unlimited cheap energy we found from physics has been developed into fission reactors, which truly are marvels, and the general public doesn't much like them. We will go a long way toward solving the greenhouse gas problem by switching to nuclear power generation over the next century, but politically, people aren't too thrilled with it. So you never know how things will fall out (so to speak, heh) but it's truly thrilling any way you look at it.

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