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Tracking The Higgs Boson And Understanding Mass

By James Donahue

Among the reasons world scientists have spent some 15 years and $9 billion building the massive 17-mile-long underground racetrack known as the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland is a quest to find an obscure particle identified as the Higgs Boson.

The Higgs Boson is named after Peter Higgs, a physicist at the University of Edinburgh and one of the scientists who theorized its existence.

To understand just what a Higgs Boson is and why world physicists are spending so much time and money tracking it requires a look into the relatively new world of quantum physics. And for most folks, that is a strange world indeed. Just to grasp how quantum physicians think we must be willing to consider cats that both exist and do not exist within boxes, or believe in parallel universes where things are similar but yet different than the one in which we exist.

Another way of looking at what is going on at Geneva is to talk about “particle physics.” Since the days when scientists learned how to smash atoms to make very deadly bombs, there has been a quest to explore the heart of matter which we understand is comprised of atoms. From basic high school physics we know that an atom is a very small and basic unit of matter. It consists of a central nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons. The whole configuration reminds us of planets circling a sun within a solar system.

A group of atoms can bind themselves together forming a molecule. And molecules appear to be the building blocks of the objects that comprise our world, including ourselves. This is known as matter.

There is, however, a problem with this picture. When you study things at the atomic level, there is a strange awareness that a lot of empty space exists not only within the atoms, but around them. Thus contemporary physicists have been scratching their heads over a question that has boggled their minds for a long time. While we understand matter, we do not know why matter has mass. In other words, why is it that we can sit comfortably in a chair without falling through it to a floor that should not support either us or the chair. That is because all matter contains more space than it does solid material.

Enter the new concept of particle physics. Here we dig deep within the atom to find that scientists have erected an entirely new concept of how things are put together at an extreme molecular level. They have identified something called the quark which is an elementary particle and thus a fundamental element in matter.

The quarks combine to form composite particles that are called hadrons. Protons and neutrons are classified as hadrons. But the physicists have found that other hadrons called mesons (one quark and one antiquark) and baryons (three quarks. Protons and neutrons are identified as baryons. The mesons include kaons and pions.

In quantum physics there is something called the Standard Model. Within this model there are six types of quarks, six types of things called leptons and four things called bosons. Bosons are described as composite particles within the Standard Model. For this article, attempting to describe them any farther, or explain what leptons are, would serve little purpose.

The people swimming around in the strange world of quantum physics dreamed up the concept of the Higgs Boson as a way to try to explain how matter has mass. Higgs and his fellow scientists reason that something yet unseen makes up the glue that holds these particles together and turns matter into mass. And whatever that thing is, it exists throughout the Universe. Thus they reason there has to be a particle or boson that carries some kind of magnetic field, known as the Higgs Field. As other particles pass through the Higgs field, they are drawn together until the particle gains mass.

By now you may have noticed a link between the composite of particles known as hadrons and the machine scientists are working so hard to get running near the Swiss/French border. They appropriately call it the Hadron Collider because they want to use it to smash these tiny particles together after sending them at nearly the speed of light in opposite directions through their elaborate race track.

Why do they want to do this? There is a very scary reason that has a number of world scientists worried that the physicists working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research project, also known as CERN, may be about to unleash an energy capable of destroying the world.

For one thing, they want to recreate the Big Bang and test this long debated theory of how the universe was formed.

According to this theory, before the Big Bank the universe was extremely small and matter existed only as free quarks. Once the explosion occurred, there was rapid inflation, quarks combined into hadrons, the forces separated, atoms formed as matter, and matter condensed into stars and galaxies were formed.

The CERN scientists want to simulate conditions that existed within a minute fraction of a second after the Big Bang. They plan to smash hadrons and then study what happens.

The massive machine crashed last fall when the team attempted to get it operating. It has taken a year to make repairs and add new safeguards to prevent the same problem from developing this time. Sometime in October or November, CERN engineers say they hope to begin crashing protons at an injection energy of 450 billion electron volts and then ramp up the energy until the protons are driven by 3.5 trillion electron volts of energy apiece. Then after the Christmas holidays, all hell will be let loose . . . whatever that means.

In earlier articles we have addressed the frightening possibility that the collider might create tiny black holes that could eventually consume the Earth. The scientists say that while this is possible, they believe it is highly improbable. So they are willing to conduct the experiment anyway, taking even a tiny risk just to gain knowledge? Are they nuts?

Here is the new kicker.

The physicists also want to go on a quest to find a Higgs Boson. But there is something strange about this event, even for people caught up in the world of quantum physics.

New York Times writer Dennis Overbye called this test “one of the most bizarre and revolutionary theories in science.”

Overbye wrote: “I’m talking about the notion that the troubled collider is being sabotaged by its own future. A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop and collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.”

This strange warning has been issued by Holger Bech Nielsen of the Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen, and Masao Ninomiya, Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics, Kyoto, Japan, in a series of papers.

“It must be our prediction that all Higgs-producing machines shall have bad luck,” the two warned.

We find this to be a strange prophetic statement that runs parallel to a similar prediction recently given to us by the entity The Abba Father. This entity assured us that the collider would fail last year and that it was going to fail again this time. We were told that spiritual forces were involved in preventing the machine from ever operating.