Friday, July 6, 2012

There Is No Higgs Boson

The scientific community is astir this week as CERN may have found the Higgs Boson.  This is a theoretical particle thought to be what gives matter mass.  It is has been predicted by the Standard Model of Quantum Mechanics, but has yet to be observed.

CERN has been cautiously optimistic, but is clear that much more testing needs to be done to confirm.

So many have been asking this week: exactly how does the Higgs give mass to other particles?  You can check out a simple answer here:

The even simpler answer is that this particle interacts with the so-called Higgs Field.  The Higgs Field exists everywhere in the universe.  The field somehow converts some of the potential energy of the particle to what we perceive as mass.

So: there is an invisible field throughout the universe that allows mass to happen.

Does this sound familiar?  It should.

About a hundred years ago, a surprisingly similar idea existed: ether.

This theory stated that light was able to travel across the universe because (surprise!) there is an invisible field throughout the universe that allows it to happen.  The now-famous Michelson-Morley experiment basically disproved it.

But here we are again.  Again, we can't understand how something works and so are attributing it to some pervasive, universal, invisible field.  Really, guys?

I'll be honest: I never liked the Standard Model with its Higgs Field.  I think it is inelegant, non-deterministic, and overly complicated.  But can I really say that the Higgs Boson doesn't exist and that the Standard Model is wrong?  No, I guess I can't.  I just wanted an attention-grabbing title to this post.

But I can say that it just feels wrong.  Of course, that is unscientific, but it's all I have at this point.  I suspect that, eventually, these physicists will realize that they didn't find the Higgs.  And then that the Standard Model is the wrong model.  That would be a good thing, because it would open the floor to strange, new models... one of which may be correct.