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Higgs Boson Discovery Questioned

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't follow up media/journal hype but I can assure you that no particle physicist takes this with more than a grain of salt. Sure the Higgs field is extremely important if it exists but what good does "alice in wonderland" physics do us? None. Anyway, a new collider is being built in Switzerland with one of it's soul purposes being to find the Higg's boson. Once more controled experiements are done and duplicated on several cases, the Higgs boson will become a part of mainstream particle physics. Until then, it's just as much in the air as string theory.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Most high energy phycisists seem to agree that *if* the Higgs exists it's probably going to have a mass well above 80GeV. The CDF and D0 expermients at tevatron (Fermilab) could only discover the Higgs if it's mass is less than 100GeV, thus making it most likely that the LHC expermients will discover it if it is to be discovered. Besides, there are plenty of alternative theories to describe mass...supersymmetry for example.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sigh. Usenet crank strikes again.

    There is something called a "gravitoelectric field", but it has nothing to do with photons or electric charge. Rather, it describes how the gravitational field in linearized gravity decomposes into electric-like and magnetic-like components, analogously to the decomposition in electromagnetism. But it has nothing to do with electromagnetic fields or photons, it's just a qualitative similarity to that theory. "Superimposed electric fields" do not comprise a gravitational field.

    As to intermediate boson exchange, no one believes that such things can account for gravity, not even the "quantum physicists". String theorists believe in strings (which, by the way, propagate in curved spacetimes), which can behave like gravitons (intermediate bosons), but aren't. And other theories of quantum gravity deal with quantized spacetime geometry.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes. Notice also that IIRC the three sigma result was data from one detector. If you combine the data from the other (three?) detector groups, in which the four jet signal is absent, the result is much less significant.

    I am not a statistician, but you don't have to be one to see that when you look at each groups' results separately, you effectively perform the experiment four different times, and therefore should expect more opportunity to see statistical fluctuation.

    Surely LHC will not be much cleaner than the experiment at Fermilab... doesn't H stand for Hadron? Anyway, computers get faster all the time which allows for much more sophisticated cuts and analysis to deal with the horrendous background.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    When I read the /. article my first reaction was they got it all mixed up. The CERN scientists never claimed they discovered the Higgs boson and the /. article is completely wrong in pretending they did. They just had spoted hints that they might be close to that discovery. I think it must have been very frustrating for them to shut down the LEP while being so close of that major discovery. And now people are making it worse by pretending they claimed to have made it. :(
  • This is nothing new. Windows 93 barely made it out in 95. Bob still doesn't work. After more than 15 years,the bug that leaves more than half a blank page for a small footnote is still around.


    we weren't going to buy your car this year, anyway. First we'll wait for your new OS based on a *bsd. Then, once apple ships a flying car, we'll try to figure out when version 3 of your knock-off will ship . . .


    :)


    hawk

  • Only when this happens can the experimental stop running the show, and the theoretical truly open our eyes to the universe's secrets

    Feh© Experiment ¥as a proxy for empiricism always runs the show© It's what distinguishes the visionaries from the crackpots© Any good theorist will agree that it's not real until someone sees it©


  • that initially read that as the "Higgs Bogon"? I read the rest of the summary before I reread the actualy name of the particle, so the comic effect was quite good.

    TheNewWazoo
    (Bored on a Saturday)
  • I mean that's what the crazy professor dude that Kai runs into says hopefully we'll be able to get off planet next week. :)

    --To the moderator who would mark this down as OFF topic, you missed this weeks Lexx--

    Vermifax

  • Your entire argument is flawed. There is no such thing as moving backward (or forward) in time or "rate of change of time with respect to time". Why? because changing time is self-referential. It's that simple. That's the reason why there is no motion in spacetime. I thought you agreed with me above because you understood. You apparently don't.

    Why does movement through time have to be self referential?

    Isn't dt/dx equally valid for a two dimensional space-time? What mathematical reason is there that I cannot move at -3 s/m? Imagine a two-dimensional space represented by a y-axis called time and an x-axis called space. There is no mathematical reason I can't move from (3,3) to (4,0) or (3,3) to (2,6).

    If you really want to twist your brain around something try this... There is no time. Everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen, can be thought of as fixed in four dimensional space. But, because of the way physical processes work, and our perception is based on physical processes, we perceive one of these space axes as time. Basically, our 3 space dimensional universe could be thought of as instantaneous snapshots occurring along a 4th dimension that we perceive as time. Note this doesn't take into account additional dimensions postulated by other theories.

    So, basically what I am saying is your math does not say anything about the impossibility of moving through time. And, therefore says nothing about whether 4 dimensional space-time exists or not. Because you leave out movement in time wrt to the other 3 dimensions.

    Dastardly
  • Good joke, but people should know that you're kidding.
    Boson was coined by Dirac in reference to Einstein-Bose statistics. Bose's full name was Satyendra Nath Bose.
  • He only said to pick it up. Didn't say a thing about opening it up and reading. Maybe the truth is hiding underneath it.
  • So are we all bozos on this bus or all bosuns on this boat?
  • Current fortune at the bottom of the page:

    The bogosity meter just pegged.

    Coincidence or conspiracy?

  • Notice also that IIRC the three sigma result was data from one detector.

    I think it was almost 4 sigma from the Aleph detector that was driving the result. The NYT article is referring to data from the other detectors that has now been added in, driving the total significance down a bit to around 3 sigma.

    Surely LHC will not be much cleaner than the experiment at Fermilab... doesn't H stand for Hadron? Anyway, computers get faster all the time which allows for much more sophisticated cuts and analysis to deal with the horrendous background.

    Yes, H=Hadron (meaning proton). Fermilab is also a proton machine. The LHC will be the messiest machine ever built, worse than Fermilab due to the higher energy. Oh, actually, I think RHIC is probably the messiest machine ever built. Take a look at these event displays [psc.edu]. One of them has almost 9000 tracks in one event! Looking at these makes me glad to be in theory!

    --Bob

  • No, counting experiments are poisson, and that's exactly what this is. We've been producing wacky particles in accelerators for years, and trust me, someone would have noticed if the wrong distribution was being used for a particular thing. To do a naieve analysis, say the standard model predicts 0.5 events, and you see 3 events. You can read off the poisson distribution to see what the probability of this is.

    But let's say you check the poisson probability of each event. Let's further assume you only look at the events that have a high probability of being signal (i.e. the ones at high reconstructed mass^2 of the higgs). Further, the number of events you see is less than 5. This is in the realm of small statistics, and contaminated by mismeasurement of lower-energy events, of which there are many.

    I also know that the Aleph team used a lot of fancy statistics to get the maximum sigma they could out of a handful of events (there are only ~3 events that are driving the estimation of sigma up). Nevertheless, there are only 3 events. Personally, I don't care what sigma they claim to have. I won't believe it until the number of events is >~ 100. Flip a coin twice. Did you get heads twice (or tails twice)? maybe. Is this meaningful? no. It's small statistics.

    --Bob

  • by mcelrath (8027) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @10:24AM (#70390) Homepage
    ...but we saw hints that it might be there. The community never claimed to have discovered it either, so the "discovery" is not in question. See, in physics we require "five sigma" to claim a discovery. What does that mean? If you have a bell curve (gaussian), the data you see has to be five standard deviatiations away from what you would expect in the absence of the higgs. We didn't get there, the latest review of the CERN data puts it around three sigma. It's worth noting that three-sigma statistical fluctuations aren't uncommon in physics. In fact, the search for the Higgs boson has seen three sigma excesses before that turned out to be nothing.

    Compare that to your sociologists and political pollsters who claim that 55% agreement is profoundly important. Five sigma corresponds to a probability of 0.02% that what you saw could have been background (non-higgs) rather than signal (higgs).

    It's just painful to wait because the LEP2 accelerator at CERN was very clean (electron-positron collisions), and extracting the higgs signal was relatively straightforward. At Fermilab, they will be able to see it if the mass is where CERN says it is, but it will be much more difficult (proton-antiproton collisions -- very messy). In any case, it will be several more years before we know for sure. If LEP2 had run just a little bit longer, we would have known.

    At any rate, even if Fermilab doesn't see it, the new accelerator at CERN, the LHC, will see it. But it might be 8 years before we know. And if we don't see it...we theorists have some serious work to do.

    --Bob

  • There is a large community of quantum physicists who expanded von Newmann's ideas to argue that we may actually be creating subatomic particles by looking for them.

    There is also a large community of the general public who believe (the much more provable theory) that we may actually be creating stories about subatomic particles (and other aspects of science) by looking for them in the popular press.
  • by bperkins (12056) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @10:25AM (#70392) Homepage Journal
    Why, why why must all slashdot headlines be exaggerations? The Higgs Boson was never "discovered" in any sense of the word. There were some indications that it might have been seen, but it wasn't considered beyond statistical doubt. It is therefore incorrect to say the discovery has been questioned. "Higgs Boson evidence questioned" would be a better headline.

  • The best solution is to just add this to your /etc/hosts file. Then you can click on nytimes stories like stories from less annoying sites.

    208.48.26.212 www.nytimes.com

  • by Scohop (17014) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @10:25AM (#70394) Homepage
    Just now questioning the discovery? Hardly! The entire physics community practically considered the "discovery" a joke at the time. I remember a high energy person in our department remarking something to the effect of "people always discover the Higgs Boson when their funding is about out." This experiment being viewed critically is _hardly_ a development.
  • Not really true, but almost. Gravity affects things without mass, such as photons, as has been proven by the solar eclipse "star moving" experiment. Gravitons (if they really do exist, which I am a little skeptical of but will make a case for anyway) are attracted to the energy content of matter - which is why there really is no "anti-gravity" - anti-matter still has a positive energy density. Photons certainly have a positive energy density, so they are affected by gravity. I am not trying to say, as you seem to think, that gravity and inertia are not related to mass, but that the Bosons governing their nature are different.
  • by LionMan (18384) <leo...stein@@@gmail...com> on Saturday July 21, 2001 @09:53AM (#70396) Homepage Journal
    This is one of those elementary school mix ups. The Higgs Boson is supposedly the particle which gives matter mass. But weight, on the other hand, is purely a gravitational matter (pardon the pun). In an environment free of all other matter, you would not have a weight since there would be nothing exerting a force of gravity on you. The Boson which cretaes the force of gravity is called the graviton.
    Sorry to burst your bubble.
  • They must keep changing this location. I had a different IP address in my hosts file:

    # Fri 01-19-2001
    208.48.26.217 www.nytimes.com

    They also keep changing the "archives" prefix, as that used to be "partners" ...
  • The entire physics community practically considered the "discovery" a joke at the time.

    You're wrong on two counts. First of all, CERN never claimed "discovery", only a probability of discovery if LEP continued to operate. Second, the entire physics community did not consider it a joke. My physics department (UBC--one of the two largest in Canada) was rooting for CERN. I imagine your department, or at least that particular high energy person, was part of the Fermilab coalition, and you just witnessed the usual scientific rivallry.
  • So do these particles generate mass and "weight" continuously or just once in awhile? Are causes and effects always linked by invisble forces or is there some kind of collaboration going on? Somebody explain this counter-intuitive particle obsession to me. All I see everywhere I look is is-ness!



    --------
    Windows? Oh yeah, that's this cute little thing I run on my Mac.... It's almost like its own OS!
  • The point is that the hypotheses you were referring to were those that attempt to explain mass and gravitation in terms of self-radiation effects. You were calling these 'gravitoelectric' theories, but they are not.

    First of all, I did not call the theory "gravitoelectric". You did. I only spoke of gravito-electric fields. Second, I can call it anything I want. Aren't we the little dictator? "Gravito-electric" is a fitting apellation for a theory that postulates that gravity is due to superimposed electric fields. Likewise, gravito-magnetic is a perfect name for gravitational effects due to magnetic fields, if any.

    With reference to a single axis, the concept of velocity does not apply

    Time is an evolution parameter that is derived from change or motion. It is neither observed nor measured. Only change is observed. Time is a static interval derived from motion. Moving on a time axis is self-referential. If you can't see that, you are a moron. And you have the nerve to call me an idiot? You sure got all bent out of shape over a nut.

    As to your dt/dt expression, it is perfectly meaningful: its value is, of course, dt/dt = 1. It is the defining identify for an infinite, smooth number line.

    1 is a line? Since when? And how would that prove motion in time, pray tell?

    Those of you who are interested in learning (as opposed to being pompous) should check out the work of Dr. Lawrence P. Horwitz [tau.ac.il], a relativity professor at Tel Aviv University, especially his invariant evolution parameter formalism. Better yet, just write to him [mailto] and ask him if anything can move in spacetime. Also check out the other references on my site to other physicists and professors who know that can move in spacetime.

    Don't be mindless drones. Resist the Borg!
  • The Boson which cretaes the force of gravity is called the graviton.

    There are other theories of gravity that postulate "virtual" photons from electrically charged particles as the source of ordinary gravity, the so-called gravito-electric field. The idea is that positive and negative electric fields are superimposed and since they emanate radially from matter, their density follow an inverse square distribution. Superimposed magnetic fields too are postulated to generate a very weak amount of gravito-magnetic field.

    Having said this, the fact that intemediate bosons are postulated by quantum physicists as the possible causal mechanism of gravity puts into question the notion that gravity is caused by the curvature of spacetime as so many have maintained for so long. Sadly, many still do.
  • There is something called a "gravitoelectric field", but it has nothing to do with photons or electric charge. Rather, it describes how the gravitational field in linearized gravity decomposes into electric-like and magnetic-like components, analogously to the decomposition in electromagnetism.

    That's the prediction and explanation of General Relativity. What's your point?

    But it has nothing to do with electromagnetic fields or photons, it's just a qualitative similarity to that theory. "Superimposed electric fields" do not comprise a gravitational field.

    There is a theory that says they do. Just because you don't think so does not falsify it. What are you, God?

    As to intermediate boson exchange, no one believes that such things can account for gravity, not even the "quantum physicists".

    Wow! and all along I thought that's what gravitons were for.

    String theorists believe in strings (which, by the way, propagate in curved spacetimes),

    Nothing propagates in spacetime. By definition. The very fact that string theory postulates that time is one of the dimensions of nature falsifies it. Why? because the moment you include a time dimension in the picture, motion becomes impossible. Not that I expect you to grasp this.

    which can behave like gravitons (intermediate bosons), but aren't.

    If spacetime is already curved magically, what's the point of having a graviton in the first place?
  • Oh kay... ya know, I sat through and read your page, and the problem I have with you is that you spend as much of your argument calling the other person names than to actually argue. It makes you noticable, but it also makes you an ashhole.

    That's purely subjective. Certainly I am an asshole but only to those who take offence. Isn't it about time that the crackpots get a taste of their own medicine? OTOH, I get plenty of emails from people who thank me for not being a drone.

    Of COURSE, by definition it is impossible to move in spacetime.

    Well, I am glad we agree. The strange thing is that about half the emails I get from physicists insist that things do move in spacetime while 20%agrees that it's impossible but still cling to time travel, wormholes and all that nonsense. Go figure!

    Eventually he turns around and starts moving forward again, having moved backwards in time, so to speak. The thing is, his differential rate of chage of time with respect to time, for the whole period, including when he is turning around and moving backwards with respect to everyone else is 1.

    Your entire argument is flawed. There is no such thing as moving backward (or forward) in time or "rate of change of time with respect to time". Why? because changing time is self-referential. It's that simple. That's the reason why there is no motion in spacetime. I thought you agreed with me above because you understood. You apparently don't.

    Mod me down some more!
  • Those damn non-USians have that annoying gravity-independent measurement system that causes all this confusion. ; )

    --

  • Looking for the Truth? PICK UP A BIBLE!
    Absolutely! Remember: The Adam and Eve's fateful apple was plucked from the Tree of Knowledge, therefore,All Knowledge Is Bad!

    Oh, and I accidentally dropped the bible, and now I'm curious as to why my foot hurts. Damn science!


    --

  • It will take the detectors on the Tevatron beam, CDF [fnal.gov] and D0 [fnal.gov], years with full luminosity to collect the statistics for a five-sigma discovery, and only in a very limited range of the Higgs mass (details [fnal.gov]). (The Higgs mass is unknown, but the latest limits from the LEP Higgs working group [web.cern.ch] suggest that it's heavier that 110 GeV.)

    Chances for LHC [web.cern.ch] aren't really that bad. Their luminosity will be way higher than Tevatron's.

    That is of course, if the Higgs exists. If not... well, particle physics will have a very interesting time then :)

  • Well, if anyone has been watching Lexx (on the Sci-Fi channel), the whole storyline so far this season is that Earth is a type 13 planet who is about to be shrunk to the size of a pea when we discover the Higgs boson. All I can say is, His Shadow lives!!!
  • There is something called a "gravitoelectric field", but it has nothing to do with photons or electric charge. Rather, it describes how the gravitational field in linearized gravity decomposes into electric-like and magnetic-like components, analogously to the decomposition in electromagnetism.
    That's the prediction and explanation of General Relativity. What's your point?
    The point is that the hypotheses you were referring to were those that attempt to explain mass and gravitation in terms of self-radiation effects. You were calling these 'gravitoelectric' theories, but they are not. The term 'xyz-electric' refers to the static (non-moving) component of the 'xyz' force.
    There is a theory that says they do. Just because you don't think so does not falsify it.
    There certainly is such a theory, but its is not called gravitoelectrostatics nor gravitomagnetism. If you're gonna try discussing physics, at least make some feeble attempt at using the long-established terminology.
    Nothing propagates in spacetime. By definition. The very fact that string theory postulates that time is one of the dimensions of nature falsifies it.
    You are a crackpot. Whether troll or nut, you are cracked. Your idiotic web page goes on with this blather:
    Why is motion in spacetime impossible? It has to do with the definitions of space and time and the equation of velocity v = dx/dt. What the equation is saying is that, if an object moves over any distance x, there is an elapsed time t. Since time is defined in physics as a parameter for denoting change (evolution), changing position from one point on a time axis to another is self-referential. Why? Because the equation for velocity along the time axis would have to be v = dt/dt which is, of course, meaningless as far as motion is concerned.
    Velocity is the slope of a spacetime path, where the ordinate of the path is spatial and the abscissa is temporal. Velocity is inherently a two-axis metric. With reference to a single axis, the concept of velocity does not apply; you might as well try to count to infinity.

    As to your dt/dt expression, it is perfectly meaningful: its value is, of course, dt/dt = 1. It is the defining identify for an infinite, smooth number line.

    If spacetime is already curved magically, what's the point of having a graviton in the first place?
    You are either a total idiot, or you are deliberately misdirecting the discussion by ignoring the fact that general relativity could very well be a highly-accurate approximation of a graviton theory.
  • Most sensible physicists are holding out for non-philosophical explanations of "Quantum Mystery." That would be theories like the Girardi-Rimini-Weber theory or a non-linear Schrodiner Equation.

    "Quantum Philosophies" have regularly been overturned. A theory which was in vogue awhile back among the quantum philosophy crowd was that antiparticles were particles travelling backwards in time. This lead to the suggestion (by Feynman?) that all matter could just be one particle bouncing backwards and forwards through time. Of course, this theory was disproven by CP violating processes in K and B mesons (c.f. recent slashdot article) so that philosophical theory goes down the shitter.

    Notions that QM proves that there are many worlds, or that physicists create the particles that they observer are fundamentally *not* *physics*. They aren't science either.

  • Actually the most popular (with physicists) explantation of the "Quantum Mystery", is the Everett Wheeler aka Many Worlds Interpretation.

    Thanks to the sciences of Decoherence and Quantum Computation, Many Worlds is pretty much the only solution. Without the other universes, whats doing the computation in a quantum computer.

  • Perhaps these "no reg required" links could be placed in the stories themselves? It can't be too hard to replace "www" with "archive", and it's hard to imagine how this would be illegal either.
  • User: slash2001
    Pass: slash2001
  • Don't be sad about the SCSC being killed. They upgraded the equipment at Fermilab, making it rather more powerful then the SCSC was going to be. And the upgrade cost a tiny, tiny fraction of the what the SCSC would have cost. It was a boondogle.

    And to make you feel better still, they are upgrading the CERN facility right now to be more powerfull that the SCSC ever could have been.

    So don't feel bad - the science is getting done. They just killed a pretty-looking project that needed to be killed for the sake of better science. Too bad they didn't have that kind of maturity about the International Space Station.

    Government folks just don't seem to understand that MegaUltraHumungous projects are bad for science, no matter how pretty they look. If you have a raft of little projects, you will have a few that are junk, a few that are average, and a handfull that are brilliant. If you have one, big giant project, it will be average at best. It's the same principle with companies - one big company in a market will be crummy at best, and evil at worst. With a bunch of companies, at least a few can really shine.

    --

  • by rneches (160120) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @10:13AM (#70415) Homepage
    If anyone is still interested in this stuff and wants to learn more about quantum physics and the Higgs Boson, but don't want to go back to school to do it, there is an excellent book called The God Particle [amazon.com] by Leon Lederman (the former head of Fermilab).

    Lederman is a very, very good writer, and manages to pack in a great deal of real, "hard" science without making it a labor to read. He includes the math if you're interested, but organizes the book so that you don't have to follow the math too closely to know what's going on.

    --

  • I have quite a similar theory, and I'm beginning to have a tad of math behind it.

    I'd appreciate contact, if you're serious.
  • someone please mod this AC down - it's just nonsense.
  • I think that current science is barking up the wrong tree so to speak. Throughout history, many scientists have explained experimental results with ever changing taxonification of their types in an effort to expidite comprehension of their effects on our universe. It may be Einsteinian of me, but I still like to uphold the presumption that there will be a beautiful and simple explanation which will bring about the unification of our beliefs in science. Only when this happens can the experimental stop running the show, and the theoretical truly open our eyes to the universe's secrets

    (wow that sounded almost like a religious rant, my apologies...)
  • It's worth noting that three-sigma statistical fluctuations aren't uncommon in physics.

    Nope, they happen in 0.135 % of the experiments to be exact...

  • Hehe, it's because we physicists have no more reason to be bragging about our statistics than sociologists have. It's because physicists tend to think that "everything is normal" or "everything is Poisson", without making any effort at all to validate it. Not to speak of lacking efforts to show that the test and test statistic you use has anything to do with reality, and therefore you get confidence levels that doesn't have anything to do with reality either...
  • Oh, for mod points when needed...
    Who the hell modded this flamebait? Can't we have the name of the people that moderate posts?
    Moderate these tedious people's replies "-1, Humourless Bastards".
  • Offtopic:

    "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

    is known as Hanlon's Razor. If you want a bit more information, go here [everything2.com].

    God bless everything2 [everything2.com]

  • Most people don't realise that a real newspaper costs more than 50 cents because they don't pay more than 50 cents. Who pays? Advertisers. Real advertisers. How do they know they're getting thier money's worth? Demographics.

    There's a reason advertisers will fork over extra bucks to advertise in the national NY Times or Wall Street Journal instead of saving a few bucks and advertising in the USA Today.

    Shame on the NY Times for using thier 100 year old business model on the Net instead of embracing the 'new economy'

    Trolls throughout history:

  • What are you doing here on a saturday?
  • "A large number" != most. Honest.

    There are at least six main interpretations of quantum physics. The most common is the Copenhagen interpretation (Heisenberg's "Physics and Philosophy" has a good description of this). But Einstein did not hold with this interpretation: "God does not play dice..." instead backing DeBroglie's theories of Pilot Waves (note that Einstein recieved his Nobel Prize for work in quantum physics, not Relativity).

    Feinman and others have argued that multiple parallel universes explain the experiments best.

    \But I think Heisenberg was right when he stated that data does not imply theory. Instead data plus philosophy leads to theort (See "Physics and Philosophy.")

    Sig: Warning The following may be illegal under the DMCA (rot-13 decoder):
    ABCDEFGH I J KLM

  • This uncertainty is killing me.

    Does it exist? Depends? Is Schrodinger's cat still alive?

    Sig: Warning The following may be illegal under the DMCA (rot-13 decoder):
    ABCDEFGH I J KLM

  • Most sensible physicists are holding out for non-philosophical explanations of "Quantum Mystery." That would be theories like the Girardi-Rimini-Weber theory or a non-linear Schrodiner Equation.

    You still have one big hurdle though. There is no wat to get an explenation from your data which is non-philosophical because you have to do some interpretation. Interpretation, according to both Heisenberg and Einstein are innately philosophical and cannot be otherwise.

    The closest you can get is Bell's Theorum, but that is simply a list of some explenations for the results of experiments and when one asks what Bell's Theorum means you end up right back at philosophy again (as you also do with Relativity, atomic theory, et. al.).

    This leads me to question your use of the term reasonable in this context. Perhaps your "reasonable" physicists are not so reasonable, if they expect theory to be entirely devoid of philosophy. How can this be so?

    Sig: Warning The following may be illegal under the DMCA (rot-13 decoder):
    ABCDEFGH I J KLM

  • There is a large community of quantum physicists who expanded von Newmann's ideas to argue that we may actually be creating subatomic particles by looking for them. See Nick Herbert's "Quantum Reality."

    Sig: Warning The following may be illegal under the DMCA (rot-13 decoder):
    ABCDEFGH I J KLM
  • Yeah, that was a damn good book. It was kinda sad, though, because it was written before Congress killed the super-conducting super-collider project (I'm pretty sure that was its name) and so much of his book talked about all the cool stuff they could do with that.

    Goes to show you what happens when you let politicians run real science.
  • Don't you mean: We Worship His Divine Shadow!! ;-)
  • I regged a few days ago... but they seemed a little eager to get my registration so after a bit of editing in /etc/aliases I made myself an adress to take the hit. Sure enough, immediately I started getting spam in my mailbox. Hoping some kinds script kiddie would DDoS the NYT site in his infinite boredom, I wiped the alias. Remember that - FOR GODS SAKE DONT REGISTER THERE WITH YOUR REAL EMAIL!
  • by BarefootClown (267581) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @11:51AM (#70432) Homepage

    The "Boson" is the longest-running joke in the history of physics. "Boson" is the term physicists use to refer to the commonfolk. Think about it in the context of the history of physics. First, remember that many of the great physicists have been German. In German, the suffix -n (-en for words ending in consonants) is usually used to denote a plural. The English equivalent of "Boson," then, would be "Bosos," or "Boso's," as seen on Slashdot. Now consider that, in German, the letter 's' is frequently as the English 'z.' Substitute a 'z' for the 's,' and you have "Bozos." So all this time, when the physicists talk about "Boson" particles, they're talking about you! And you thought those physicists were nice guys...

    'Course, they could also be thinking about sailing (boatswain...never mind)

  • Come on ... these guys who run Slashdot are not journalists, nor are they experts in particle physics for that matter. Their job is to look through a gazillion submissions and pick out the ones that seem the most informative, provocative, and interesting, and let the community sort it out. They are not even claiming to provide the same kinds of research and editorial control that a newspaper does.

    The headline is not an intentional exaggeration; it's just a non-expert summarizing as best they can something that may interest you. If you want to gripe about headlines, talk to your local newspaper.
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @10:59AM (#70434)
    See, in physics we require "five sigma" to claim a discovery.

    That's unacceptable. You physicists need to institute a six-sigma program if you wan't to acheive true quality, customer satisfaction and cost-effectiveness.

    You should select your black-belt candidates and start training them as soon as possible.

  • Lexx sucks, as does all Canadian-produced television. All the talented Canadians move to the States where they are slowly taking over.
  • There're also some of the well known net-regs to nyt in-place as well...
  • How long can this take? I've been waiting for my vacuum energy fuel cell/antigravity device for years now. I've been holding up production of my "Year 2000 Flying Automobile" for almost two years now waiting for reality to be sufficiently redefined for it to function. Pretty soon those vulture capitalists are goint to come sniffing after my monopolar ceramic disks spinning in .1 degree kelvin mercury baths...
  • Oh kay... ya know, I sat through and read your page, and the problem I have with you is that you spend as much of your argument calling the other person names than to actually argue. It makes you noticable, but it also makes you an ashhole.

    Of COURSE, by definition it is impossible to move in spacetime. spacetime is essentially a static construct. You can move around in three dimensions, but as soon as you start graphing that fourth you are a single static shape consisting of those movements. Your arguments, however, do NOT seem to preclude time travel. There is a key difference between time travel and motion in spacetime.

    Your argument is that, since dt/dt would be 1, you can't have time travel. OK, here goes...

    Imagine a guy moving forward. He encounters some black box (wierd curvature of space or something, it doesn't matter what) that allows him to turn around and start moving backwards. Eventually he turns around and starts moving forward again, having moved backwards in time, so to speak. The thing is, his differential rate of chage of time with respect to time, for the whole period, including when he is turning around and moving backwards with respect to everyone else is 1.

    Also, what motion in spacetime really would be would be my taking this guy and grabbing on to him fourth dimensionally and moving him forward, for his entire life, fifteen meters. You can't do that.

    -1 offtopic, I know, I know, moderators, but...
  • The strange thing is that about half the emails I get from physicists insist that things do move in spacetime while 20%agrees that it's impossible but still cling to time travel, wormholes and all that nonsense. Go figure!
    My guess is that the half that insist that things move in spacetime don't really understand what they're saying. I simply do not see how time travel or wormholes or whatnot inherently require motion in spacetime.
    Basically, what I'm suggesting is that the whole 'dt/dt=1' is not proof that one can not do time travel, because I have just given a scenario which, while it might be absurd, does not seem to me to be inherently impossible. If you take spacetime to be a fixed graph (which it is, so long as you aren't trying to merge it with quantum mechanics or something, in which case its just plain screwy ^_^) then I don't see how what I've just described is inherently impossible. If time doesn't get any special significance for being time, then you could have a circle on an xt plane and it would not inherently be an impossibility, as far as I can see, but the little point on the circle could be said to be moving backwards in time for a portion of its circling.
    Don't ask me how that circle got there, but I don't see how that circle could NOT have gotten there, is my point.

    BTW, one thing I can say about what you've put up is that it has actually gotten me to think, which is inherently a good thing ^_^ I'd suggest people read it, just don't take it as being necessarily correct. (this stuff is still relatively new, nothing is gospel yet, except to people who could not rightfully be called scientists.)
  • by 6EQUJ5 (446008) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @09:48AM (#70441) Homepage
    ... the particle believed to be the source of mass and weight.

    That's beer for guys, and chocolate for women.
  • by JBowz15 (451573) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @10:52AM (#70442)
    I have heard sources that Oprah Winfrey may be the source of all mass and weight in the universive.

    I didn't say that they were GOOD sources!
  • Why must everyone who posts complaining about something be guilty of their own complaint! Of course I NEVER make such mistakes.
  • Actually, you might be a little disappointed in a certain republican, specifically our fine president.

    Here is how he really feels [aip.org] about basic research.
  • Actually, that's what disappoints me about the United States. One of the major blunders, at least IMHO, is how they cancelled the supercollider project in 1993.

    The physics community in America is becoming a joke. After the years of importance, obviously caused by the cold war, physics has fallen by the wayside of American politics, similar to the decline of NASA. Without the prospects of making a new superbomb, the American public could care less about physics. It's the bane of every kid in highschool; it's the news articles that grownups fail to comprehend, or simply shrug off to the intellectual ivory tower.

    I personally wish that we in the US would get a reputable collider. Why is it that everything has to be built in Geneva? Does anyone have any idea how many people have "exported" themselves to other countries to where physics is more respected? I would certainly like to know, because it seems that at least in America, physicists are ranked maybe slightly above McDonald's employees, both in respect and pay.

    Glad that I'm a CS major...

  • ...you get a very small energy release. You get big effects by convincing a godawful [technical term] lot of them to split or fuse.
  • The bison were there as of 1987 (or maybe it was '86)---I was bitten by a radioactive spider and gained its proportionate memory.

    There was also a mess o' seed corn there.

    Nothing like manning data collection during a prairie thunderstorm---huge bolts of lightning flying around, and suddenly remembering that the bubble chamber, beside eveything else it is, is a lot of liquid hydrogen to have in one place.
  • "Plain Old Text" mode ate the <[/]joke> tags I put around the "radioactive spider" lamexcuse.
  • ...but most physicists don't hold with this. Honest.
  • There are a bunch of huge bison living in the ring. I once spent an hour trying to get as close as possible whilst not getting killed; a physicist was once gored or trampled to death by an angry bull, or so we were told to keep us away. No, none of them ever mutated into a huge glowing green buffalo shooting laser beams from its eyes, trampling most of nearby Naperville and Aurora into atomic splinters...much as that would be an improvement there.

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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