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The LHC, the Higgs Boson, and the Chicago Cubs 194

Following up our earlier discussion of the theory that the Higgs boson might time-travel to avoid being found, reader gpronger notes an interview with MIT (and LHC) physicist Steven Nahn, in which he comments on Nielsen and Ninomiya's unlikely-sounding theory. "The premise is fairly crazy, but many things in physics are constructed that way... The difference here is that... previous 'crazy' ideas gave consequences that were clearly testable and attestable to the new nature of the theory, in an objective manner, and involved the behavior of inanimate objects (i.e., not humans). However, in this case, the consequences seem quite contrived... Exactly in line with their argument, I could say that Nature abhors the Chicago Cubs, such that the theory which describes the evolution of our universe prescribed Steve Bartman to interfere on October 14, 2003, extending the 'bad luck' of the Cubbies."
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The LHC, the Higgs Boson, and the Chicago Cubs

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  • Well, duh! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @12:12AM (#29819279)

    Nature *does* abhor the Chicago Cubs. What's your point?

  • by lieutenant24 ( 1655997 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @12:23AM (#29819355)
    This might simply be a matter of physicist humor not translating into reporter humor: Physicist says, "Maybe we're violating the laws of the universe and it's out to get us (chuckle, chuckle)." Reporter thinks, "That sounds like front-page news!"
  • Re:Well, duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @12:29AM (#29819389) Homepage Journal

    Nature having it out for the Cubbies is at least plausible. The rest of pseudo-science is not.

  • by Odinlake ( 1057938 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @12:36AM (#29819451)
    I could believe that there was some strange time-travel-effects going on to prevent this poor Boson, but I can't imagine that it would establish itself as suspicious high-level events such as meteorite impacts or whatever "chance" events people are going on about. If it is happening I bet it is in the form of some new repulsive force that doesn't follow from other theories, or something basic like that. Something we will be able to measure and something we will probably be able to take advantage of.
  • by dakameleon ( 1126377 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @01:16AM (#29819699)

    Apart from the part where the physicist actually published a paper with their arguments for peer review [arxiv.org].

  • by fractoid ( 1076465 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @01:34AM (#29819791) Homepage
    Erm, it is. He's joking that saying that some spooky future force is preventing us seeing Higgs bosons 'for our own good' is about as scientific as saying that God hates the Chicago Cubs... and that there's as much proof for the latter as for the former.

    He also says:

    Admittedly, I haven't read the whole series of papers, which means my comments should be taken with a grain of salt, but I did skim, and the authors do make an argument for why a new unknown particle (they use Higgs as their poster boy for unknown theoretical particle) can do this and not the ones we know about, based on the experimental evidence we have on the known particles and the existence of yet another theoretically possible but experimentally undetected (not without trying) phenomenon, a magnetic monopole.

    Aside from its hideous verbosity, this made me curious because there was an article a day or two about magnetic monopoles...

  • by justleavealonemmmkay ( 1207142 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @01:56AM (#29819883)

    I don't buy it. By your interpretation of the conjecture, the people working at CERN couldn't possibly be born.

    You make the fallacious reasoning that if A may lead to and precedes B, B to C, C to D and D to violation of causality, that A cannot possibly happen. This is faulty. Just because you can't have Y without having X and Y is impossible doesn't mean X is impossible.

  • by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @01:58AM (#29819895) Homepage

    A universe which permits time travel which can change the past is inherently unstable. Sooner or later (on some meta time axis) that universe's timeline will be changed to one where such time travel never occurs, and will then stay that way. It's the most stable state.

  • by Arthur Grumbine ( 1086397 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @02:46AM (#29820125) Journal

    Not strange at all. If they spin it the right way, they can charm the governments and come out on top.

    I [wikipedia.org] see what [wikipedia.org] you did [wikipedia.org] there. Nice! [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Whoa (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @09:16AM (#29822345) Homepage Journal

    Higgs bosun, my hairy white aging ass. The Cubs could win a world series -- but there's only one group of people who could make it happen. That's the Cubs fans.

    My daughter tells me that if I want to see a Cardinals game not only affordably but cheap, wait until the Cardinals play the Reds in Cincinnati and drive there. Seems ticket and beer prices are dirt cheap there. Why? Because people in Cincinnati won't support a bunch of incompetent losers, unlike people in Chicago.

    Major league baseball is not a game and not a sport. It's a billion dollar business. If it was a sport, they would not have cancelled the World Series over a strike/lockout when the millionaires fought the billionaires.

    The Cubs fans fill those losers' stadiums, drink the overpriced beer, buy the overpriced hats and shirts, and spend spend spend -- on a bunch of LOSERS, the only team in major league baseball ever to go over a century without winning the World Series. Why should the owners shell out dough to field a good team, good coaching staff, and good management when they can rake in billions on a perpetually losing team?

    If you Cubs fans want to see your team win the series, you're simply going to have to stop supporting those losers. When the stands are empty like they are in Cincinnati, management will have to lower prices and field a good team, good coaches and good management. When that happens, then you can go back to supporting the former losers.

    Just stay away, and they'll eventually win the series.

    BTW, GO CARDS! Damn, they didn't even make the playoffs this year =(

  • by Interoperable ( 1651953 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @10:54AM (#29823515)

    I mean theoretical results fundamental physics

    You continue to confuse high-energy physics as being the only domain of fundamental physics. It isn't.

    Compare this to the history of theoretical physics since Newton.

    That's 330 years of history. How many "major" advances (by your definition) have occurred since then in total? You don't seem to understand the manner in which science progresses and you seem to want to hold it (or at least particle physics) to a different standard than the rest of intellectual progress.

    There can be good work in a field that doesn't change the paradigm; it doesn't imply a "drought". No one has done anything since the 70s. My computer still uses transistors, there is no moon colony, cancer still sucks, my car has an internal combustion engine and seriously, where the hell is my jet pack? It's pointless to use changes in paradigm as a benchmark for advance.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.