0812: "Glass"

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webgiant
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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby webgiant » Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:44 pm UTC

mcv wrote:
webgiant wrote:I've always thought of physics as quite stupid: you can't convince it to do anything differently from the way it has always done things, no matter how you try. And it claims all the "new discoveries" are really stuff physics has been doing all along, we just haven't noticed physics doing them.

Sometimes I wonder if God isn't just making stuff up as he goes along, but wants to present a logically consistent universe to us, and the more we discover about how the universe works, the more he feels bound to stick to the rules.

And then we caught him into some inconsistencies, and he quickly made up Quantum Mechanics overnight. At least that's how WM sometimes feels to me.

Yes, the Universe wasn't created by a guy with a PhD, but by a guy with a GED trying to impress a college admissions board. Every year he brings the same science project and every year they keep pointing out that the intelligent beings in his creation know more about his Universe than he does, so he keeps having to refine the project year after year to keep trying to impress the admissions board.

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby webgiant » Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:52 pm UTC

Tyrannosaur wrote:
kingworks wrote:Just because the girl said "Okay Physics. . . " why can't the disembodied voice be God? Isn't the Higgs-Boson supposed to be the "God particle?"


It is. But physicists wouldn't try to talk to God, would they? They'd talk to "physics"

it's like when you're working on an engineering project and it's not working. After enough hours spent in frustration, inanimate objects and concepts devoid of any intelligence suddenly seem like reasonable partners in conversation, if a conversation largely composed of swear words.

Of course, I understand shamans do something similar when they want to talk to their deities: submitting their bodies to frustrating, painful things until they imagine there are gods talking to them. The modern church replaces the physical ordeal with the frustrations of the church maintenance committee, but the principle is the same.

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:42 pm UTC

Captain Chaos wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:Physics is angry with the two folks because "we" are trying to find the Higgs Boson... I mean, is that the joke?

That doesn't really have any humour or many any sense, not even in Randall's own terms.

Sure it does, it's just absurd humour. The kind I like the best. Like that old joke I have on one of my T-shirts: "2 + 2 = 5, for extremely large values of 2". Or any Monty Python sketch. :)

Something tells me SirMustapha wouldn't like those jokes either, and unlike other things I've said about/to him, no that is not spiteful; on the other hand, where did you get the shirt? I kinda want one...

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Yes, as my lettuce remains uneaten. Unless of course my lettuce becomes a chair while I'm not looking...

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Gamer_2k4 wrote:Man, it's a good thing that "electroweak soul" business was written by someone doing the HARD sciences. Otherwise I might doubt their credibility!

Oh shit, please don't get that started again, we had enough of that after the strip with the giant pendulum.
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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby webgiant » Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:06 pm UTC

Captain Chaos wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:Physics is angry with the two folks because "we" are trying to find the Higgs Boson... I mean, is that the joke?

That doesn't really have any humour or many any sense, not even in Randall's own terms.

Sure it does, it's just absurd humour. The kind I like the best. Like that old joke I have on one of my T-shirts: "2 + 2 = 5, for extremely large values of 2". Or any Monty Python sketch. :)

I think a better version of that is 1 + 1 = 3. It's a more dramatic change in my opinion.

If absurdist humor offends you, XKCD is not your comic. :wink:

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby brood » Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:13 pm UTC

Gamer_2k4 wrote:
brood wrote:the ledger lines on the music notes bug me. I get why they're there, but it still looks pretty awkward.


You get why they're there? Why are they there? A line indicates absolutely nothing about a note except where it is in relation to other notes (which there aren't any). And if you say, "There's the other half note," well, there SHOULDN'T be, because they're representing one continuous sound. It's just an unnecessary visual distraction.


they're there because Randall was looking at some sheet music for reference and noticed that the very high notes had ledger lines, and then removed them from context, because he wanted to imply a high note without drawing a whole staff, which obviously doesn't work. That's not why they bug me, though, never mind the stem direction (it's possible he was looking at the upper part of a two line melody or something), just that they're there at all and, like you said, visually distracting.

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby Maximus_Light » Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:46 pm UTC

wackojacko1138 wrote:I guess the laws of physics still haven't recovered from the latest Order of the Stick.


I had a friend who said the same thing.

Then again gravity is really just make-believe anyways. :P

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby Superisis » Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:58 pm UTC

webgiant wrote:
Captain Chaos wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:Physics is angry with the two folks because "we" are trying to find the Higgs Boson... I mean, is that the joke?

That doesn't really have any humour or many any sense, not even in Randall's own terms.

Sure it does, it's just absurd humour. The kind I like the best. Like that old joke I have on one of my T-shirts: "2 + 2 = 5, for extremely large values of 2". Or any Monty Python sketch. :)

I think a better version of that is 1 + 1 = 3. It's a more dramatic change in my opinion.

If absurdist humor offends you, XKCD is not your comic. :wink:


Personally I prefer the " 2 + 2 = 4 (for most values of 2) " but that's just me.

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby Uninfinity » Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:04 am UTC

The silly comic-strip lady shoulda hired Jamie Vendera. 8)

also

keithc wrote:originally nicknamed the "God-damned particle", but "God particle" makes a better headline.
I disagree.

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby Matsi » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:30 pm UTC

Superisis wrote:
webgiant wrote:
Captain Chaos wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:Physics is angry with the two folks because "we" are trying to find the Higgs Boson... I mean, is that the joke?

That doesn't really have any humour or many any sense, not even in Randall's own terms.

Sure it does, it's just absurd humour. The kind I like the best. Like that old joke I have on one of my T-shirts: "2 + 2 = 5, for extremely large values of 2". Or any Monty Python sketch. :)

I think a better version of that is 1 + 1 = 3. It's a more dramatic change in my opinion.

If absurdist humor offends you, XKCD is not your comic. :wink:


Personally I prefer the " 2 + 2 = 4 (for most values of 2) " but that's just me.

You might prefer it, but it would be wrong. Most values of 2 incude the range from 1.5 to 2.249... which does not add up to 4, while only the range from 2.25 to 2.49... adds up to 4. So 75% of the values of 2 do not add up to 4

edit: I'll leave the above unedited as a warning, mainly to myself. Do not drink and post!

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby glasnt » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:45 pm UTC

But, I don't understand.

"Once more, with feeling" was after the episode where blood pours from the sinks (back when giles had a girlfriend, 3 eps before the end of season 1, if I recall correctly)


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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby ohabsalom » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:39 am UTC

brood wrote:
Gamer_2k4 wrote:
brood wrote:the ledger lines on the music notes bug me. I get why they're there, but it still looks pretty awkward.


You get why they're there? Why are they there? A line indicates absolutely nothing about a note except where it is in relation to other notes (which there aren't any). And if you say, "There's the other half note," well, there SHOULDN'T be, because they're representing one continuous sound. It's just an unnecessary visual distraction.


they're there because Randall was looking at some sheet music for reference and noticed that the very high notes had ledger lines, and then removed them from context, because he wanted to imply a high note without drawing a whole staff, which obviously doesn't work. That's not why they bug me, though, never mind the stem direction (it's possible he was looking at the upper part of a two line melody or something), just that they're there at all and, like you said, visually distracting.


You're both wrong, it looks fine. If you'd like you can read it as an implication of two or more attempts and therefore distinct tones.

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby webgiant » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:40 am UTC

Matsi wrote:
Superisis wrote:
webgiant wrote:
Captain Chaos wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:Physics is angry with the two folks because "we" are trying to find the Higgs Boson... I mean, is that the joke?

That doesn't really have any humour or many any sense, not even in Randall's own terms.

Sure it does, it's just absurd humour. The kind I like the best. Like that old joke I have on one of my T-shirts: "2 + 2 = 5, for extremely large values of 2". Or any Monty Python sketch. :)

I think a better version of that is 1 + 1 = 3. It's a more dramatic change in my opinion.

If absurdist humor offends you, XKCD is not your comic. :wink:


Personally I prefer the " 2 + 2 = 4 (for most values of 2) " but that's just me.

You might prefer it, but it would be wrong. Most values of 2 incude the range from 1.5 to 2.249... which does not add up to 4, while only the range from 2.25 to 2.49... adds up to 4. So 75% of the values of 2 do not add up to 4

And I probably should clarify that "1 + 1 = 3" only works for extremely large values of 1, which only includes 1.3 and 1.4. Which is why the joke is most often expressed as "1 + 1 = 3, for extremely large values of 1."

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby lesmith11 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:35 pm UTC

Ghavrel wrote:
katrmr wrote:Do I understand right that a 'degree' is a PhD? After reading "4 Hour Workweek", you'll have trouble trusting PhD's. Cause it's now just a marketing thing.


I started having trouble trusting PhDs when I started going to college. Probably a liberal arts thing.


Ouch. No, a degree can also be a Bachelor or a Master. And if you're feeling flush you can also get a Doctor of Letters/Science/Medicine in the UK :)

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:40 am UTC

lesmith11 wrote:No, a degree can also be a Bachelor or a Master.

Or an Associate.

(Aside: Why is it that we say "Associate's", "Bachelor's", and "Master's" degrees, all in the possessive form, but then "Doctoral" degree? Shouldn't it be "Doctor's" degree? Or conversely, "Associative", "Baccalaureate", and "Masterful" degrees, or some such?)
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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby Ghavrel » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:04 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:(Aside: Why is it that we say "Associate's", "Bachelor's", and "Master's" degrees, all in the possessive form, but then "Doctoral" degree? Shouldn't it be "Doctor's" degree? Or conversely, "Associative", "Baccalaureate", and "Masterful" degrees, or some such?)


I've never heard "a Doctoral degree"; we usually just say "a Doctorate." But none of those are the actual names (in Latin, obviously, but in English translation either) of the degrees, so it's probably just corruption.
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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby SirMustapha » Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:07 pm UTC

SpringLoaded12 wrote:
Captain Chaos wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:Physics is angry with the two folks because "we" are trying to find the Higgs Boson... I mean, is that the joke?

That doesn't really have any humour or many any sense, not even in Randall's own terms.

Sure it does, it's just absurd humour. The kind I like the best. Like that old joke I have on one of my T-shirts: "2 + 2 = 5, for extremely large values of 2". Or any Monty Python sketch. :)

Something tells me SirMustapha wouldn't like those jokes either, and unlike other things I've said about/to him, no that is not spiteful;


I enjoy actual absurdist humour when it's done well, and the "2+2=5" thing is only marred to me because of the unnecessary Orwell connection (and I'm okay with geek humour when it's not the pedantic, xkcd style). The problem is, this comic is not "absurd" humour: it is a non-joke built on nothing. It is just not humour.

But I would better stop posting here, otherwise someone might MAKE FUN OF MY SIGNATURE! Now THAT would really break my heart.

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby StNowhere » Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:54 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:I enjoy actual absurdist humour when it's done well, and the "2+2=5" thing is only marred to me because of the unnecessary Orwell connection (and I'm okay with geek humour when it's not the pedantic, xkcd style). The problem is, this comic is not "absurd" humour: it is a non-joke built on nothing. It is just not humour.

But I would better stop posting here, otherwise someone might MAKE FUN OF MY SIGNATURE! Now THAT would really break my heart.


Now, personally, I never read an Orwell reference into that joke. I read 1984, I enjoyed it, but I never connected the two. Surely, not all "2 + 2 = 5" references are Orwell-related, are they?

I'd also make a case that a vast majority of geek humor is at least a little pedantic. Either that, or it's ripped apart, limb-from-limb, by overzealous pedants (cf. 90% of the math-centric comic threads here). I think that's what's actually getting me down about the comics lately; the past few months, they've been kind of weak, but then you come on the boards and have them analyzed, reanalyzed, over-analyzed, and then beaten like a dead horse. I keep coming back because I occasionally enjoy some of the conversation, but more and more, the conversation is only good when it doesn't apply to the comic.

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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby HNSZ » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:16 am UTC

Matsi wrote:
Superisis wrote:
webgiant wrote:
Captain Chaos wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:Physics is angry with the two folks because "we" are trying to find the Higgs Boson... I mean, is that the joke?

That doesn't really have any humour or many any sense, not even in Randall's own terms.

Sure it does, it's just absurd humour. The kind I like the best. Like that old joke I have on one of my T-shirts: "2 + 2 = 5, for extremely large values of 2". Or any Monty Python sketch. :)

I think a better version of that is 1 + 1 = 3. It's a more dramatic change in my opinion.

If absurdist humor offends you, XKCD is not your comic. :wink:


Personally I prefer the " 2 + 2 = 4 (for most values of 2) " but that's just me.

You might prefer it, but it would be wrong. Most values of 2 incude the range from 1.5 to 2.249... which does not add up to 4, while only the range from 2.25 to 2.49... adds up to 4. So 75% of the values of 2 do not add up to 4

edit: I'll leave the above unedited as a warning, mainly to myself. Do not drink and post!

Awesome explanation. I totally understand it. It's kind of like when you have a mate that you are close with, then he moves to another city, you meet one time but after that all of a sudden he's not picking up the phone and not answering your e-mail. Yeah..

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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby NeatNit » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:56 pm UTC

Bump for relevance.

This is no longer funny. :roll:

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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby SerMufasa » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:15 pm UTC

NeatNit wrote:Bump for relevance.

This is no longer funny. :roll:


Unless this strip turns out to be relevant
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:15 am UTC

SerMufasa wrote:
NeatNit wrote:Bump for relevance.

This is no longer funny. :roll:


Unless this strip turns out to be relevant
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Yes. Let's have some scientific decorum, here. Even the researchers themselves admit to only finding a new boson that seems to have certain properties predicted by Peter Higgs. A lot of research needs to happen before the role of this particle can truly be determined.

Even still, I find it hard to accept mass as a quality held outside itself. I can see the Higgs field acting as a binding agent to hold massless particles in a quatum loop to produce massive bodies. I can see this potentially new discovery carrying that field. I don't accept that any massive body can be removed from a Higgs field and still retain any of its existing properties. It should break down instantly into its constituent massless elements.

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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby J Thomas » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:28 pm UTC

EpicanicusStrikes wrote:Even the researchers themselves admit to only finding a new boson that seems to have certain properties predicted by Peter Higgs. A lot of research needs to happen before the role of this particle can truly be determined.

Even still, I find it hard to accept mass as a quality held outside itself. I can see the Higgs field acting as a binding agent to hold massless particles in a quatum loop to produce massive bodies. I can see this potentially new discovery carrying that field. I don't accept that any massive body can be removed from a Higgs field and still retain any of its existing properties. It should break down instantly into its constituent massless elements.


it's a mathematical abstraction that has some abstract relationship with reality.

Do you have an idea how to remove a mass, even a tiny mass, from a Higgs field?
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:45 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:it's a mathematical abstraction that has some abstract relationship with reality.

Do you have an idea how to remove a mass, even a tiny mass, from a Higgs field?


Apparently the LHC figured it out. Or rather they figured out how to remove the Higgs field from a tiny mass. I would still expect the tiny mass to be reduced to massless elements in the absence of the Higgs bosons.

Keep in mind that my use of the term mass is in reference to absolute/resting mass. Relative mass doesn't seem to be dependent on the Higgs boson in the standard model.

Regardless, I still view the concept of resting mass being a an external property to be absurd. It's going to be an interesting month while the researchers validate their findings.

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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:09 pm UTC

EpicanicusStrikes wrote:Apparently the LHC figured it out. Or rather they figured out how to remove the Higgs field from a tiny mass.

Any real physicists feel free to correct me, but I'm pretty sure this is not the case.

As I understand it, the Higgs mechanism is not about where mass in general, as in the stuff that is equivalent to energy and gives things inertia and gravity, comes from. It's about where some unaccounted-for energy (and hence mass) comes from.

We know that some of the energy that constitutes the mass of an atom or other compound particle is bound up in the electronuclear forces binding the whole thing together. The problem is, when you account for all of the binding energy of those forces, it doesn't add up to the equivalent mass of the whole atom; and when you look at the elementary particles that that make up those atoms, that unaccounted-for energy doesn't seem to be evenly distributed between them. Some have more energy (and thus mass) than others, even when considered in isolation apart from their interactions with any of the known forces, and of course apart from any relative motion (and thus kinetic energy).

So the Higgs mechanism was proposed, whereby there is an unknown force field, the Higgs field, which many of the elementary particles interact with to different degrees, and that interaction is where the unaccounted-for energy (and thus mass) is bound up, and why different particles have different amounts of that energy. The problem is, we have (or had) no evidence of this Higgs field; it's just a convenient postulate which makes the math of our models work out right, to give us the correct rest-energies of the elementary particles, which together with the binding energies of the other better-known forces gives us the rest-energies, and thus rest-masses, of matter as we know it.

But, if there is a Higgs field there, it should be possible, with an energetic-enough event, to excite it and produce a wave (particle) that we can detect in it. That is what the Higgs boson is. It is just evidence that there is a Higgs field there, which in turn would account for the rest energies (masses) of the elementary particles. It is not like the Higgs boson is the fundamental particle of mass and Higgs bosons are part of all other massive particles giving them mass. So this collision between protons did not just smash the protons into their constituent parts and then we looked through the debris for the Higgs bosons that were in them. What it did was build up a lot of energy in the motion of the protons, and then release all that energy at once, along with the binding energy of the smashed-apart protons, to produce an energetic-enough event to disturb the Higgs field enough for us to detect whether it's really there or not.

And the answer appears to be "maybe".
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby Max™ » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:31 pm UTC

Electrons are left handed, if they moved at the speed of light they would always appear left handed, but as it is you can move fast enough that an electron appears right handed.

That is a broken symmetry attributed to the Higgs mechanism, the property of the Higgs field is such that elementary particles interact with it to various degrees. That interaction lends the masses we observe.

A Higgs Boson is a bit of the background energy squeezed out of the field which propagates for a short ways before decaying in a particular fashion.

These results are signs that the specific types of decay products expected with the arrangement/momentum/orientation expected have been observed a certain number of times, and almost all other causes of these decay products as possible have been eliminated as being involved in the events in question.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:22 am UTC

Max™ wrote:Electrons are left handed, if they moved at the speed of light they would always appear left handed, but as it is you can move fast enough that an electron appears right handed.

That is a broken symmetry attributed to the Higgs mechanism, the property of the Higgs field is such that elementary particles interact with it to various degrees. That interaction lends the masses we observe.

A Higgs Boson is a bit of the background energy squeezed out of the field which propagates for a short ways before decaying in a particular fashion.

These results are signs that the specific types of decay products expected with the arrangement/momentum/orientation expected have been observed a certain number of times, and almost all other causes of these decay products as possible have been eliminated as being involved in the events in question.


This is where I boggle. Is there any reason to think that today's physicists have imagined more than a tiny fraction of the possible other causes?

Only if you carefully maintain a congenial mindset. We have a set of assumptions which can explain everything we have noticed, and if we are careful not to notice anything that doesn't fit the assumptions then we have a simple set of assumptions that appears to explain everything. So why should we suppose there is anything else?

If you haven't noticed anything that doesn't fit the theory yet, there's no reason to assume you'll find something later that doesn't fit. So you might as well assume that there is nothing that doesn't fit and that you have proven you have the only possible explanation! It's a proven fact!

Just, something about this reasoning leaves me with a nameless doubt.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:53 am UTC

It's not as bleak as you seem to think it is, JT. In other threads about yesterday's discovery I've been following all over the internet, a bunch of people are very disappointed that the Higgs boson was (plausibly) observed, because all that means is "none of the current contender theories are wrong". Everyone has been working on theories incorporating the Higgs mechanism, but there are a lot of different variations on those theories, and we don't really know what direction to look in until we find something proving at least some of them wrong. For that reason, a lot of people are really hoping for something unexpected to show up, because then at least it gives us something to cull the possibilities with and a direction to look for new possibilities. If we had discovered something that wasn't just a Higgs boson like everybody expected, then some of the current theories would have been unable to cope with that unexpected result and be discarded, and the survivors would have new evidence to reshape themselves around. (Unless the unexpected discovery was so unexpected that it required everybody going completely back to the drawing board). Finding exactly what we all expected, though... doesn't really tell us anything, doesn't give us anything new to go off of.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby Max™ » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:58 am UTC

Well, there are a class of events which can produce similar effects as a Higgs decay, generally those are eliminated bit by bit due to not fitting the expected properties of a Higgs, and in the process the signature of those events is mapped out to various degrees.

After enough data has been gathered you are left with a very small class of events which are capable of producing the right types of decay products at the right rate with the right energies and such, yet haven't been identified as another process that is excluded by this point.

It is possible that an actual Higgs decay event has been mistakenly excluded as another type of event, but it is unlikely for that to happen with very high confidence.

It is possible that a previously excluded event is responsible for the observations in question through some previously unobserved interaction or process which appears to give a Higgs signal but is actually a false-positive.

It is possible that all of the known or expected events which could produce Higgs-like decay products have been excluded and what was found is a new particle completely outside of the Standard Model rather than a Higgs.

Ultimately though there are certain features which a Higgs must exhibit, and certain manners in which it must decay in order for it to be compatible with the rest of the particle zoo, we can't say with as much certainty that something IS a Higgs, but we can be far more confident about what is not a Higgs.

The 4.9/5 sigma confidence level means they're pretty sure it is not any of the known not-Higgs candidates AND it exhibits the right combination of properties as predicted for the Higgs.


Right now they're sifting through the data and continuing to look for any sign that it actually isn't a Higgs, but the announcement they gave amounts to "we're fairly sure if it isn't a Higgs then it's a new particle with almost the same properties as the Higgs should have", roughly.


Note that this particular mass range does not mesh well with the pure standard model, and instead fits perfectly into most of the minimal supersymmetry projections.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:32 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:Well, there are a class of events which can produce similar effects as a Higgs decay, generally those are eliminated bit by bit due to not fitting the expected properties of a Higgs, and in the process the signature of those events is mapped out to various degrees.

After enough data has been gathered you are left with a very small class of events which are capable of producing the right types of decay products at the right rate with the right energies and such, yet haven't been identified as another process that is excluded by this point.

It is possible that an actual Higgs decay event has been mistakenly excluded as another type of event, but it is unlikely for that to happen with very high confidence.

It is possible that a previously excluded event is responsible for the observations in question through some previously unobserved interaction or process which appears to give a Higgs signal but is actually a false-positive.

It is possible that all of the known or expected events which could produce Higgs-like decay products have been excluded and what was found is a new particle completely outside of the Standard Model rather than a Higgs.

Ultimately though there are certain features which a Higgs must exhibit, and certain manners in which it must decay in order for it to be compatible with the rest of the particle zoo, we can't say with as much certainty that something IS a Higgs, but we can be far more confident about what is not a Higgs.

The 4.9/5 sigma confidence level means they're pretty sure it is not any of the known not-Higgs candidates AND it exhibits the right combination of properties as predicted for the Higgs.


Right now they're sifting through the data and continuing to look for any sign that it actually isn't a Higgs, but the announcement they gave amounts to "we're fairly sure if it isn't a Higgs then it's a new particle with almost the same properties as the Higgs should have", roughly.


Note that this particular mass range does not mesh well with the pure standard model, and instead fits perfectly into most of the minimal supersymmetry projections.


I have not looked into the subject in much detail at all, but I would strongly suggest doing the following, if it has not been done:

1. Find some set of criteria to decide what it means to choose hypothetical particle properties "at random".
2. Choose a collection of random hypothetical particles and search for them with the same meticulous care that the Higgs boson has received.
3. If the Higgs boson is detected but no more than 5% of the randomly hypothesized particles are detected, call that Higgs detection at the 5% level.
If no more than 1% of the random particles are detected, call that Higgs detection at the 1% level.
Etc.

My point ought to be so obvious and so obviously correct that it doesn't need more explanation. But I will explain if asked.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby Max™ » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:00 pm UTC

I'm a bit sleepy so I need explanation, but I'll make a note: particle physics isn't about looking for a particular thing, it's about eliminating everything you have already found/examined/etc and seeing what is left.

When they get rid of all the "uninteresting" data from the LHC runs, you then check and see if there are any unusual excesses of any particular events, if so, you check to see if those events are present with certain other types of excesses, and then you build up a dataset with them.

If you're in luck, that dataset will exhibit the signature of an interesting particle, and then you repeat the experiments to collect as much data as you can to make sure it wasn't a fluke.


There isn't really a "oh, that was a Higgs" moment, just lots of "well, we still can't exclude the possibility that these events are from Higgs decays" which gradually build up until the likelihood that what you've found is anything but a Higgs decay event drops below the threshold of your equipment to detect and/or outside of the ability of your theory to model.


Sure, everything might be an illusion generated by pink fairy elephantuons, but there is no way to produce any useful results or distinguish that explanation from the more simple answer that while we don't have absolute answers, we do have a functioning description of particle physics.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:18 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:I'm a bit sleepy so I need explanation, but I'll make a note: particle physics isn't about looking for a particular thing, it's about eliminating everything you have already found/examined/etc and seeing what is left.


It sounds like you're saying that they have every possible outcome mapped that can come from things they know about, leaving a giant expanse of possible results that have no known explanation, plus a few possible results that could come from the hypothetical Higgs particle and nothing else.

And what they found was that none of the anomalous events happened except the ones that could be attributed to Higgs.

Is that what they did? They were ready to detect any anomalous result including those that could come from Higgs decay, and the ones that could come from Higgs decay were all they found?

When they get rid of all the "uninteresting" data from the LHC runs, you then check and see if there are any unusual excesses of any particular events, if so, you check to see if those events are present with certain other types of excesses, and then you build up a dataset with them.

If you're in luck, that dataset will exhibit the signature of an interesting particle, and then you repeat the experiments to collect as much data as you can to make sure it wasn't a fluke.


There isn't really a "oh, that was a Higgs" moment, just lots of "well, we still can't exclude the possibility that these events are from Higgs decays" which gradually build up until the likelihood that what you've found is anything but a Higgs decay event drops below the threshold of your equipment to detect and/or outside of the ability of your theory to model.


Sure, everything might be an illusion generated by pink fairy elephantuons, but there is no way to produce any useful results or distinguish that explanation from the more simple answer that while we don't have absolute answers, we do have a functioning description of particle physics.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:28 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Is that what they did? They were ready to detect any anomalous result including those that could come from Higgs decay, and the ones that could come from Higgs decay were all they found?

Pretty much, yes.

Imagine there are millions or billions of locked safes all over the place. We've smashed a bunch of them open with hammers and discovered that there are certain kinds of gems inside these safes, and begun cataloging the kinds of gems we find. From the patterns in those gems we've cataloged, we suspect that there is another kind of gem we haven't found yet that fits into this pattern. But some of the safes are harder to crack open than others. There have been a bunch that we haven't had hammers strong enough to smash open for a while, and all the ones we can crack open just have more of the same gems. Now we got a stronger hammer, and went around smashing open a whole bunch of the ones we haven't been able to open... and so far they all contain nothing but the same gems we've been finding in all the other ones, and a number of rocks that seem like they might be the gem we thought was missing once we polish them up. There could have been anything in those safes, and a lot of people were hoping we'd find something even cooler than more of the same gems and the ones we thought we were missing. But, it looks like that's all we got.
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Re: 0812: Glass

Postby clockworkbookreader » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:37 pm UTC

Matthias wrote:I'm redeeming it in my own mind by pretending it's a scene from a Nobilis game. :P


Only if you spend enough DMP to counteract Physics' miracle.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby Max™ » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:39 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Is that what they did? They were ready to detect any anomalous result including those that could come from Higgs decay, and the ones that could come from Higgs decay were all they found?

Pretty much, yes.

Imagine there are millions or billions of locked safes all over the place. We've smashed a bunch of them open with hammers and discovered that there are certain kinds of gems inside these safes, and begun cataloging the kinds of gems we find. From the patterns in those gems we've cataloged, we suspect that there is another kind of gem we haven't found yet that fits into this pattern. But some of the safes are harder to crack open than others. There have been a bunch that we haven't had hammers strong enough to smash open for a while, and all the ones we can crack open just have more of the same gems. Now we got a stronger hammer, and went around smashing open a whole bunch of the ones we haven't been able to open... and so far they all contain nothing but the same gems we've been finding in all the other ones, and a number of rocks that seem like they might be the gem we thought was missing once we polish them up. There could have been anything in those safes, and a lot of people were hoping we'd find something even cooler than more of the same gems and the ones we thought we were missing. But, it looks like that's all we got.

Great description.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:52 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Is that what they did? They were ready to detect any anomalous result including those that could come from Higgs decay, and the ones that could come from Higgs decay were all they found?

Pretty much, yes.

Imagine there are millions or billions of locked safes all over the place. We've smashed a bunch of them open with hammers and discovered that there are certain kinds of gems inside these safes, and begun cataloging the kinds of gems we find. From the patterns in those gems we've cataloged, we suspect that there is another kind of gem we haven't found yet that fits into this pattern. But some of the safes are harder to crack open than others. There have been a bunch that we haven't had hammers strong enough to smash open for a while, and all the ones we can crack open just have more of the same gems. Now we got a stronger hammer, and went around smashing open a whole bunch of the ones we haven't been able to open... and so far they all contain nothing but the same gems we've been finding in all the other ones, and a number of rocks that seem like they might be the gem we thought was missing once we polish them up. There could have been anything in those safes, and a lot of people were hoping we'd find something even cooler than more of the same gems and the ones we thought we were missing. But, it looks like that's all we got.


I have the natural suspicion that since the whole enterprise was advertised and funded on the promise that they would find the Higgs boson (or face the shock of not finding it), then "[w]hen they get rid of all the "uninteresting" data from the LHC runs" could slip into getting rid of everything that doesn't look like a Higgs boson.

And since the measurements are indirect, it turns into a statistical game to decide whether the various indirect measurements could have happened from an accidental combination of other events that resulted in that particular combination of outcomes.

But the statistics about what to expect from combinations of events using the "new hammer" are partly based on theoretical grounds and partly ad hoc, and there is a possibility that they might be wrong. Lots of careful calibration can help with that, but at some point you have to just decide it's good enough and go with it.

It's as if you're looking for a particular new gemstone from the new safes you can crush, so you crush a bunch of safes and you put the fragments through increasingly fine sieves, and then centrifuge the ones that are around the right size, and so on, and you find a few things that could be the gemstone you want, and you can announce that they weigh closer to 23 grams than 21 grams, and they seem to be ellipsoidal more than spherical, and various theories are confirmed or shaken. But the 50 gram gems and the 6 gram gems were not what you were looking for and got discarded.

And perhaps there are irregular fragments of safe that slip past your testing, that you didn't expect? If you looked for 50 gram gems and 6 gram gems too, and found them, that might make it more plausible that the detection methods have a flaw and you are likely to find what you look for whether it's there or not.

I'm not sure it's useful to discuss this with you, though. The published results might possibly show how much that happened, when they get published. Or they might leave it unclear. The primary researchers ought to know. The technicians who actually did the work and analyzed the results would know, if they had a strong sense of the big picture beyond just doing their jobs.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby Max™ » Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:22 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:I have the natural suspicion that since the whole enterprise was advertised and funded on the promise that they would find the Higgs boson (or face the shock of not finding it), then "[w]hen they get rid of all the "uninteresting" data from the LHC runs" could slip into getting rid of everything that doesn't look like a Higgs boson.

Well, no, it was founded on the promise of expanding the frontiers of science and improving our understanding of the universe.

If you're reacting like this to a mere $8 Billion, what is your take on the $4 Billion a year oil subsidies to companies that earn profits, or the effective $20+ Billion coal subsidies by allowing them to make ultra low no bid contracts? How did the billions of bank bailouts strike you?

Of all the things to be suspicious about, a long awaited result from an experiment in one of the few branches of physics with direct day to day results* is what you choose?

And since the measurements are indirect, it turns into a statistical game to decide whether the various indirect measurements could have happened from an accidental combination of other events that resulted in that particular combination of outcomes.

But the statistics about what to expect from combinations of events using the "new hammer" are partly based on theoretical grounds and partly ad hoc, and there is a possibility that they might be wrong. Lots of careful calibration can help with that, but at some point you have to just decide it's good enough and go with it.


The expectations are based on the standard model of particle physics, with a huge list of successful predictions.
It's as if you're looking for a particular new gemstone from the new safes you can crush, so you crush a bunch of safes and you put the fragments through increasingly fine sieves, and then centrifuge the ones that are around the right size, and so on, and you find a few things that could be the gemstone you want, and you can announce that they weigh closer to 23 grams than 21 grams, and they seem to be ellipsoidal more than spherical, and various theories are confirmed or shaken. But the 50 gram gems and the 6 gram gems were not what you were looking for and got discarded.

Well no, it's not that they're looking for a particular thing.

They're getting rid of everything they recognize and can explain.

The expectation is a null result, not finding anything of interest.

And perhaps there are irregular fragments of safe that slip past your testing, that you didn't expect? If you looked for 50 gram gems and 6 gram gems too, and found them, that might make it more plausible that the detection methods have a flaw and you are likely to find what you look for whether it's there or not.

I'm not sure it's useful to discuss this with you, though. The published results might possibly show how much that happened, when they get published. Or they might leave it unclear. The primary researchers ought to know. The technicians who actually did the work and analyzed the results would know, if they had a strong sense of the big picture beyond just doing their jobs.

The results are analyzed by a vast collection of scientists working in several different teams performing their own experiments.

That two distinct teams of researchers at two distinct experiments found results that both point towards the possibility that this is a 125~ GeV Higgs at 4.9 to 5 Sigma is more than enough reason for any layman to accept this as "they found the Higgs", the question even among theoretical physicists now is "how do we have to change the standard model to accomodate minimal supersymmetry", which is exciting as fuck in itself.

Striclty speaking everyone was "looking for" a heavier Higgs, one over 130 GeV I think, as that would be compatible with a no-frills standard model. That we now have what is almost experimental confirmation of supersymmetry is the real news for physics geeks like myself.


*Besides the improvement of computer networks being funded for scientific research, cloud computing improvements which were necessitated by the LHC data volume, and so forth... consider this: right now you or someone you know is walking around because of MRI scans enabling the early identification and diagnosis of numerous conditions.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby ijuin » Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:43 am UTC

Max™ wrote:That two distinct teams of researchers at two distinct experiments found results that both point towards the possibility that this is a 125~ GeV Higgs at 4.9 to 5 Sigma is more than enough reason for any layman to accept this as "they found the Higgs", the question even among theoretical physicists now is "how do we have to change the standard model to accomodate minimal supersymmetry", which is exciting as fuck in itself.

Striclty speaking everyone was "looking for" a heavier Higgs, one over 130 GeV I think, as that would be compatible with a no-frills standard model. That we now have what is almost experimental confirmation of supersymmetry is the real news for physics geeks like myself.

This is the beautiful part of it--it is as close to supersymmetry as we can get before actually finding any superpartners. Supersymmetry itself, if true in a form at all resembling currently-available theory, would solve a number of quantum problems, including the hierarchy problem, the unification of strong, weak, and electromagnetic forces, and would make up a large chunk of the mass of dark matter in the universe. It also would explain why certain aspects of spacetime must be as they are to maintain consistency.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimal_Su ... dard_Model

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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:06 am UTC

Max™ wrote:
J Thomas wrote:I have the natural suspicion that since the whole enterprise was advertised and funded on the promise that they would find the Higgs boson (or face the shock of not finding it), then "[w]hen they get rid of all the "uninteresting" data from the LHC runs" could slip into getting rid of everything that doesn't look like a Higgs boson.

Well, no, it was founded on the promise of expanding the frontiers of science and improving our understanding of the universe.

If you're reacting like this to a mere $8 Billion, what is your take on the $4 Billion a year oil subsidies to companies that earn profits, or the effective $20+ Billion coal subsidies by allowing them to make ultra low no bid contracts? How did the billions of bank bailouts strike you?

Of all the things to be suspicious about, a long awaited result from an experiment in one of the few branches of physics with direct day to day results* is what you choose?


Miscommunication there. I didn't intend to imply that physicists would intentionally falsify results to produce what they advertised they would produce. I intended to imply that the search for the Higgs boson might accidentally result in a search for the Higgs boson instead of a search for whatever they might find.

Also, I don't particularly object to the cost. If I thought it was a waste (which I'm open minded about), as far as I know I didn't pay for it, and I didn't vote for anybody who allocated money for it. My taxes probably pay an insignificant fraction of the salary of some physicsts who work with the data, but I don't begrudge them that. They might learn something useful.

And since the measurements are indirect, it turns into a statistical game to decide whether the various indirect measurements could have happened from an accidental combination of other events that resulted in that particular combination of outcomes.

But the statistics about what to expect from combinations of events using the "new hammer" are partly based on theoretical grounds and partly ad hoc, and there is a possibility that they might be wrong. Lots of careful calibration can help with that, but at some point you have to just decide it's good enough and go with it.


The expectations are based on the standard model of particle physics, with a huge list of successful predictions.


Sure, but when you're using your theory to massage the data you use to test the theory .... Well, the more self-referential it gets, the more self-referential it gets.

It's as if you're looking for a particular new gemstone from the new safes you can crush, so you crush a bunch of safes and you put the fragments through increasingly fine sieves, and then centrifuge the ones that are around the right size, and so on, and you find a few things that could be the gemstone you want, and you can announce that they weigh closer to 23 grams than 21 grams, and they seem to be ellipsoidal more than spherical, and various theories are confirmed or shaken. But the 50 gram gems and the 6 gram gems were not what you were looking for and got discarded.

Well no, it's not that they're looking for a particular thing.

They're getting rid of everything they recognize and can explain.

The expectation is a null result, not finding anything of interest.


I'm interested in the possibility that they ignore things which could be significant, because those things are not what they are currently interested in. How would you or I find out about that?

And perhaps there are irregular fragments of safe that slip past your testing, that you didn't expect? If you looked for 50 gram gems and 6 gram gems too, and found them, that might make it more plausible that the detection methods have a flaw and you are likely to find what you look for whether it's there or not.

I'm not sure it's useful to discuss this with you, though. The published results might possibly show how much that happened, when they get published. Or they might leave it unclear. The primary researchers ought to know. The technicians who actually did the work and analyzed the results would know, if they had a strong sense of the big picture beyond just doing their jobs.

The results are analyzed by a vast collection of scientists working in several different teams performing their own experiments.

That two distinct teams of researchers at two distinct experiments found results that both point towards the possibility that this is a 125~ GeV Higgs at 4.9 to 5 Sigma is more than enough reason for any layman to accept this as "they found the Higgs", the question even among theoretical physicists now is "how do we have to change the standard model to accomodate minimal supersymmetry", which is exciting as fuck in itself.

Striclty speaking everyone was "looking for" a heavier Higgs, one over 130 GeV I think, as that would be compatible with a no-frills standard model. That we now have what is almost experimental confirmation of supersymmetry is the real news for physics geeks like myself.


That's all fine. Even scientists can get stuck in group-think, but I don't have important evidence that's happened here.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby Max™ » Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:54 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Miscommunication there. I didn't intend to imply that physicists would intentionally falsify results to produce what they advertised they would produce. I intended to imply that the search for the Higgs boson might accidentally result in a search for the Higgs boson instead of a search for whatever they might find.

Findings

CERN scientists estimate that, if the Standard Model is correct, a single Higgs boson may be produced every few hours. At this rate, it may take about two to three years to collect enough data to discover the Higgs boson unambiguously. Similarly, it may take one year or more before sufficient results concerning supersymmetric particles have been gathered to draw meaningful conclusions.[3] On the other hand, some extensions of the Standard Model predict additional particles, such as the heavy W' and Z' gauge bosons, whose existence might already be probed after a few months of data collection.[54]

The first physics results from the LHC, involving 284 collisions which took place in the ALICE detector, were reported on 15 December 2009.[55] The results of the first proton–proton collisions at energies higher than Fermilab's Tevatron proton–antiproton collisions were published by the CMS collaboration in early February 2010, yielding greater-than-predicted charged-hadron production.[56]

After the first year of data collection, the LHC experimental collaborations started to release their preliminary results concerning searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model in proton-proton collisions.[57][58][59][60] No evidence of new particles was detected in the 2010 data. As a result, bounds were set on the allowed parameter space of various extensions of the Standard Model, such as models with large extra dimensions, constrained versions of the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model, and others.[61][62][63]

On 24 May 2011, it was reported that quark–gluon plasma (the densest matter besides black holes) has been created in the LHC.[64]

Between July and August 2011, results of searches for the Higgs boson and for exotic particles, based on the data collected during the first half of the 2011 run, were presented in conferences in Grenoble[65] and Mumbai.[66] In the latter conference it was reported that, despite hints of a Higgs signal in earlier data, ATLAS and CMS exclude with 95% confidence level (using the CLs method) the existence of a Higgs boson with the properties predicted by the Standard Model over most of the mass region between 145 and 466 GeV.[67] The searches for new particles did not yield signals either, allowing to further constrain the parameter space of various extensions of the Standard Model, including its supersymmetric extensions.[68][69]

On 13 December 2011, CERN reported that the Standard Model Higgs boson, if it exists, is most likely to have a mass constrained to the range 115-130 GeV. Both the CMS and ATLAS detectors have also shown intensity peaks in the 124–125 GeV range, consistent with either background noise or the observation of the Higgs boson. It is expected that there will be sufficient data by the end of 2012 for a definite answer.[70]

On 22 December 2011, it was reported that a new particle had been observed, the χb (3P) bottomonium state.[71]

On 4 July 2012, the CMS at CERN team "announces the discovery of a boson with mass 125.3 ± 0.6 GeV/c2 within 4.9 sigma". This meets the formal level required to announce a new particle which is "consistent with" the Higgs Boson, but scientists are cautious as to whether it is formally identified as actually being the Higgs Boson, pending further analysis.[72]


Computing resources

Data produced by LHC, as well as LHC-related simulation, was estimated at approximately 15 petabytes per year (max throughput while running not stated).[82]

The LHC Computing Grid[83] was constructed to handle the massive amounts of data produced. It incorporated both private fiber optic cable links and existing high-speed portions of the public Internet, enabling data transfer from CERN to academic institutions around the world.[84]

The Open Science Grid is used as the primary infrastructure in the United States, and also as part of an interoperable federation with the LHC Computing Grid.

The distributed computing project LHC@home was started to support the construction and calibration of the LHC. The project uses the BOINC platform, enabling anybody with an Internet connection and either OS X or Linux,[85] as well as Windows, to use their computer's idle time to simulate how particles will travel in the tunnel. With this information, the scientists will be able to determine how the magnets should be calibrated to gain the most stable "orbit" of the beams in the ring.[86]


Purpose

Physicists hope that the LHC will help answer some of the fundamental open questions in physics, concerning the basic laws governing the interactions and forces among the elementary objects, the deep structure of space and time, and in particular the interrelation between quantum mechanics and general relativity, where current theories and knowledge are unclear or break down altogether. Data are also needed from high energy particle experiments to suggest which versions of current scientific models are more likely to be correct – in particular to choose between the Standard Model and Higgsless models and to validate their predictions and allow further theoretical development. Many theorists expect new physics beyond the Standard Model to emerge at the TeV energy level, as the Standard Model appears to be unsatisfactory. Issues possibly to be explored by LHC collisions include:[14]

Are the masses of elementary particles actually generated by the Higgs mechanism via electroweak symmetry breaking?[15] It is expected that the collider will either demonstrate or rule out the existence of the elusive Higgs boson, thereby allowing physicists to consider whether the Standard Model or its Higgsless model alternatives are more likely to be correct.[16][17][18]
Is supersymmetry, an extension of the Standard Model and Poincaré symmetry, realised in nature, implying that all known particles have supersymmetric partners?[19][20][21]
Are there extra dimensions,[22] as predicted by various models based on string theory, and can we detect them?[23]
What is the nature of the dark matter that appears to account for 23% of the mass-energy of the universe?

Other open questions that may be explored using high energy particle collisions:

It is already known that electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force are different manifestations of a single force called the electroweak force. The LHC may clarify whether the electroweak force and the strong nuclear force are similarly just different manifestations of one universal unified force, as predicted by various Grand Unification Theories.
Why is the fourth fundamental force (gravity) so many orders of magnitude weaker than the other three fundamental forces? See also Hierarchy problem.
Are there additional sources of quark flavour mixing, beyond those already predicted within the Standard Model?
Why are there apparent violations of the symmetry between matter and antimatter? See also CP violation.
What are the nature and properties of quark-gluon plasma, believed to have existed in the early universe and in certain compact and strange astronomical objects today? This will be investigated by heavy ion collisions in ALICE.


Sure, but when you're using your theory to massage the data you use to test the theory .... Well, the more self-referential it gets, the more self-referential it gets.

That's not how particle physics works though, you're talking about something like climate science here.

I'm interested in the possibility that they ignore things which could be significant, because those things are not what they are currently interested in. How would you or I find out about that?

http://lhcathomeclassic.cern.ch/sixtrack/

This blog goes into some good explanations of what you're discussing I think: http://profmattstrassler.com/

That's all fine. Even scientists can get stuck in group-think, but I don't have important evidence that's happened here.
[/quote]
Well yeah, but generally science is a method of trying to avoid such errors as group-think, and particle physics tends to hew pretty closely to the "let's throw shit at the wall and see what sticks and what breaks, then make a theory to explain it and throw IT at the wall and examine the pieces", and as they say, if the theory is sound the pieces left will be those of the wall.
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Re: 0812: "Glass"

Postby J Thomas » Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:38 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:
http://lhcathomeclassic.cern.ch/sixtrack/

This blog goes into some good explanations of what you're discussing I think: http://profmattstrassler.com/


Thank you for the links! I will look at them as I find the time for careful study.

Thank you again!
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