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OfflineScarfmeister
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The GOD particle
    #3034259 - 08/21/04 10:24 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

They call it the God particle: a mysterious sub-atomic fragment that permeates the entire universe and explains how everything is the way it is..

Nobody has ever seen the God particle; some say it doesn't exist but, in the ultimate leap of faith, physicists across the world are preparing to build one of the most ambitious and expensive science experiments the world has ever seen to try to find it.
At a summit meeting in Beijing yesterday, 12 experts from countries including Britain, Japan, America and Germany announced they have agreed on a blueprint for the new experiment - a gigantic atom smashing machine called the international linear collider. Now they must convince their respective governments to meet the anticipated ?3bn price tag.

Buried underground away from vibrations on the surface, the collider would accelerate particles from opposite ends of a 20-mile tunnel at near-light speeds and smash them into each other head-on. One stream of particles would be electrons; the other would be positrons, their antimatter partner.

The scientists hope the resulting cataclysmic explosion of heat, light and radiation will recreate the conditions found in first few billionths of a second after the big bang. And when that happens, they hope the God particle, otherwise known as the Higgs boson, will show itself.

The collider will not be built in Britain (Germany, America and Japan are favourites) but scientists here are determined to play a leading role in the project. British physicists have already been involved in planning a number of its key components and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), which pays for research in this field, is waiting to see if the government agrees a plan for Britain to invest some ?300m in the experiment over the next decade. A decision is expected in the autumn.

Ian Halliday, chief executive of PPARC said: "This is an extremely significant milestone. We now have a clear and defined route for the future that will enable the world's particle physics community to concentrate resources and unite efforts behind the design."

Scientists have learned the hard way in recent years that such megaprojects are beyond the reach of individual countries. The US attempted to build its own linear collider in Texas in the early 1990s but the project collapsed amid spiralling costs, leaving them with a ?1bn bill and only a hole in the ground to show for it.

Read the full story here.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/news/story/0,12976,1287776,00.html


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OfflineStrumpling
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Re: The GOD particle [Re: Scarfmeister]
    #3034290 - 08/21/04 10:34 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

the god particle?

fucking dammit dude!! There are already enough definitions of "god" for people to start labeling something ELSE "god."

I'm getting so fucking sick of this word it makes me want to punch it out of existence


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: The GOD particle [Re: Scarfmeister]
    #3034295 - 08/21/04 10:35 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

Bah.

It ain't gonna explain nuttin.

A lot of scientists (Stephen Hawking included) don't believe that the Higgs Boson even exists.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The GOD particle [Re: Scarfmeister]
    #3034302 - 08/21/04 10:40 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

The Higgs Field (or "Higgs particle") is a concept that attempts to explain the origin of mass. It got the nickname of "the God particle" because it is supposed to permeate ALL of spacetime. Particles "get" their mass by interacting with this field: particles which interact strongly have more mass than ones which interact weakly. Particles which do not interact with the Higgs field at all are massless (ie: photons).

Some physicists are not very comfortable with the concept, as it brings up memories of the dated (and well disproven) concept of the "luminiferous aether" which was supposed to allow light to propogate through space. The idea was that if light is a wave, then what is doing the waving. Sound waves are waves of air, water waves are made of water, ect. The theory predicted that as the Earth moved through the aether, we should see different speeds of light on one side of the Earth from the other (if a light wave is coming towards you through the aether, and you are moving towards the light wave, then the speed should be faster than a light wave that is coming from behind you). Several experiments were tried but they all stubbornly showed the EXACT same speed for light.

The way the Higgs field is supposed to work, the process by which particles gain mass, is probably quite technical...but can be explained in concept with a simple analogy:

Imagine a room that is PACKED full of people. These people are the "Higgs field". Now you (representing a particle) walk into a door on one side of the room. As you attempt to move to the other side of the room, you feel resistance to your movement (you have to push people out of the way). This is "mass" (or, more precisely, momentum: a force which acts against acceleration). If you are a very large person you will have a lot more trouble moving through the room (ie: you interact more strongly with the field).

It would certainly be a LARGE step forward in particle physics if the Higgs boson is detected!


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OfflineScarfmeister
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Re: The GOD particle [Re: deafpanda]
    #3034305 - 08/21/04 10:41 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

I can already see the Christian elite doing their best to sabotage the funding for this project


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The GOD particle [Re: deafpanda]
    #3034306 - 08/21/04 10:42 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

It ain't gonna explain nuttin.

Sure it would. If such a particle is detected, it would prove a lot of physicists wrong and require a re-write of some of our basic premises in particle physics.


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: The GOD particle [Re: trendal]
    #3034308 - 08/21/04 10:43 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

I can never understand how a photon has no mass. How does it exist if it has no mass and is not a function of something else that has mass?


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OfflineStrumpling
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Re: The GOD particle [Re: Strumpling]
    #3034312 - 08/21/04 10:45 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

I just realized I forgot to say that this is interesting stuff, I just don't like the word "god" attached to the idea


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: The GOD particle [Re: trendal]
    #3034317 - 08/21/04 10:47 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

Yerr true.

My comment was directed at:

"would explain how everything is the way it is"


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The GOD particle [Re: deafpanda]
    #3034322 - 08/21/04 10:49 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

Photons are not "matter" like particles which have mass, they are "intermediate" particles which are used in communication of forces.

Photons are how particles that DO have mass communicate with eachother, through the electromagnetic force.

Gravitons are how particles communicate using the gravitational force.

Gluons are used by particles to communicate with the strong nuclear force.

The W and Z bosons are used to communicate with the weak nuclear force.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The GOD particle [Re: deafpanda]
    #3034324 - 08/21/04 10:50 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

deafpanda said:
Yerr true.

My comment was directed at:

"would explain how everything is the way it is"




Heh, yeah. The media does tend to go a little overboard when they report on some of these obscure physics theories. Probably because they have no clue what they are talking about in the first place :smirk:


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Offlineguri
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Re: The GOD particle [Re: Scarfmeister]
    #3034325 - 08/21/04 10:50 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

so lets say they get this bad boy working, and it does what they hope it does.

is there any benifit to society of something really cool that would be invented relativly soon (20 years or so) that needed to know if the god particle thoery is true?


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: The GOD particle [Re: guri]
    #3034334 - 08/21/04 10:54 PM (12 years, 10 months ago)

It's the nature of science and invention that, generally, we have absolutely NO IDEA exactly "how" a discovery will be turned into a practical use for mankind. Most of the time people set out trying to do one thing...and end up inventing something completely different which turns out to be a big advancement. The guy who does it will never admit this, of course, because he doesn't want to look like some fumbling basement inventor (which he usually is!) :smirk:


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