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CERN Announcing New LHC Results July 4th 226

An anonymous reader writes "The Higgs boson is regarded as the key to understanding the universe. Physicists say its job is to give the particles that make up atoms their mass. Without this mass, these particles would zip though the cosmos at the speed of light, unable to bind together to form the atoms that make up everything in the universe, from planets to people. From the article: 'Five leading theoretical physicists have been invited to the event on Wednesday - sparking speculation that the particle has been discovered. Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider are expected to say they are 99.99 per cent certain it has been found - which is known as 'four sigma' level. Peter Higgs, the Edinburgh University emeritus professor of physics that the particle is named after, is among those who have been called to the press conference in Switzerland."
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CERN Announcing New LHC Results July 4th

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  • by schroedingers_hat ( 2449186 ) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:34AM (#40517033)
    The thing about smart people is that they're never 100% sure of anything. They think too much for that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:40AM (#40517069)

    For 100% certainty you need religion. This is science, no guarantees other than "Best available knowledge."

  • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:41AM (#40517071) Journal

    when they can say with 100% call me

    You can never be 100% certain in science only so certain that no reasonable person would doubt it.

    i want to lose a few pounds...you can have the higgs in those particles back....

    Firstly pounds measure weight, not mass, so it is the Earth's gravitational field that causes your weight. Go visit inter-galactic space any you'll have no appreciable weight (low Earth orbit will have very little effect on your weight though - it's apparent, not true, weightlessness).

    Secondly the Higgs causes the fundamental particles to have mass e..g electron, quarks, W/Z bosons etc. The vast majority of your mass comes from the protons and neutrons in the atomic nuclei which make up your body. This mass is almost entirely to do with the binding energy between the quarks and almost nothing to do with the Higgs. In fact, while the quark masses are hard to measure, the best estimate is that less than 0.1% of a proton or neutron mass comes from the quark masses i.e. from the Higgs.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday July 02, 2012 @10:44AM (#40517097) Journal
    Lots of physicists talk like that, it's not a religious statement it's a common was to express ideas. Similar thing in IT, people talk about programs wanting/thinking this or that but nobody actually believes the code "wants" or "thinks" anything.
  • by meekg ( 30651 ) on Monday July 02, 2012 @11:14AM (#40517387) Homepage

    Heh, that's because the Math type have never ever proved (or even claimed) anything that is related to the real world.... In this respect, they are like fiction writers, 100% sure about what's happening in their world :)

  • So wrong. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by microbox ( 704317 ) on Monday July 02, 2012 @01:15PM (#40518497)

    You and the quarter might be nuked before it hits the ground. Ridiculously small probabilites still subtract from the probability you stated of 1

    If nukes aren't part of your model, then they are not part of your model.

    Probability is founded in set theory. Probabilities are assigned to events, which are sets of outcomes in you *defined* probability space.

    It is a *model* that is *applied* to the world. In the model, 0 and 1 are real probabilities. That has nothing direct to do with the real world.

  • Re:Heavy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by canajin56 ( 660655 ) on Monday July 02, 2012 @01:30PM (#40518697)
    It's a funny line, but when Doc Brown was born people were probably already using "gravitas" to describe something serious, and "weighty" to describe a topic of conversation has probably been around for centuries ;)
  • by schroedingers_hat ( 2449186 ) on Monday July 02, 2012 @02:32PM (#40519419)
    I'm 100% sure of it. That's how I know there are plenty of people smarter than me.
  • by Afecks ( 899057 ) on Monday July 02, 2012 @04:16PM (#40520761)

    You're just adding yet another possibility. It's trivial to reword it. What is the probability that a coin will land heads, tails or on its edge? The probability is 1. It has to do one of those if those are all the possibilities. What is the probability that it will do none of those things? The probability is 0. Whatever other possibilities you want to add, exploding into marshmallows, being nuked while inside a fridge, getting a top 10 single on the UK pop charts, etc, doesn't matter. If you list all the possibilities, the probability that it will be one of those is 1 and the probability that it will be none of those is 0. Basic. Fucking. Logic.

    Also, a perfect coin is a definition. It's not some value judgement.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein