On Tuesday, scientists at Cern will reveal the latest results of their search for the elusive Higgs boson particle. Some are expecting the researchers, who have been working at the Large Hadron Collider, to announce that they have found the particle. If they have nailed down the Higgs boson, it’ll basically explain why things have mass. If they don’t, it means the way many physicists have been explaining the universe has been a bunch of peer-reviewed mumbo jumbo. In the Guardian, theoretical physics professor Jeff Forshaw can barely hold in his excitement: “This means that whatever happens we are going to need to dream up something new about the world.”
What this amounts to is a possible early-week paradigm shift. Your original plans for Tuesday–go to work, jam on the 2 for $20 deal at Applebee’s, liveblog Terra Nova–may have to change. In order to ensure that your brain doesn’t completely shut off once the universe either falls into place or gets placed on its head, we’ve compiled a list of tips:
Handcuff yourself to a physicist:
They’ll be able to explain to you the specificities of what the discovery (or non-discovery) means. By elucidating the mystery of the particle and why its presence fills in the blanks for the standard model of particle physics, a physicist will be an invaluable buddy to have on Tuesday. They’ll also weigh you down when gravity shuts off and the earth’s population starts to float into space.
If they announce the Higgs boson hasn’t been discovered, all it means is the way scientists have understood particle interactions has been off. You nor I have ever understood this in the first place, so we should be largely unaffected.
Loudly proclaim, “I knew it:”
It’ll make you sound smart.
Higgs boson to be unveiled (possibly) [Guardian]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 11, 2011