The Wild World of Particle Physics
Written by Bwog Staff
If you give a mouse a Tevatron, and that mouse is an experimental physicist, it will ask for more money to build an enormous super collider beneath Switzerland and France, telling you that it needs more energy to confirm its theory on what makes the Universe do its thing. At least, that’s roughly how it works. On Monday, physicists, grad students, and particle lovers of all shapes and rest masses gathered in Pupin to discuss the Large Hadron Collider’s findings up to this point. Lepton lover Zach Kagan was in attendance.
Bwog didn’t quite know what it had gotten itself into—all these professors and graduate students gathered to hear the exciting new results from the LHC! This must be what a cocktail party at Brian Greene’s house feels like.
As the talk got underway, Bwog found it a lot more technical than we expected. Still, some it was recognizable: quarks, photons, antimatter, nuclear forces, atomic collisions… But this was just the beginning, and we were still waiting for the secrets of the universe to be unlocked before our eyes!
As the data began to emerge on slides for the audience to view, all that we could really distinguish was a jumble of lines. A LOT of lines. But our wonderful physics faculty came to the rescue and translated. So the Higgs Boson doesn’t exist…or maybe it does. But it probably doesn’t. But, if we try at higher energies we may find it. But most experts don’t think so. Except for the ones that do. So that clears that up.
Then the talk moved back to quarks. Wait, no, squarks. Bwog started wondering where the speaker’s sudden accent had come from. But then we definitely heard the words “stop squark.” At that point, we were pretty convinced we were being punk’d. What the hell is a squark? Who names these particles anyway?
Then we spotted a sleeping grad student. Oh dear; if he doesn’t get this stuff what hope do the rest of us have? But towards the end of the meeting, a sense of relief flooded over us. It all made sense. The standard model of particle physics is fundamentally flawed without the Higgs Boson to provide mass. Through the analysis of thousands of PP hadron collision events at 7 TeV through myriad detectors, an intimate picture of nature is created. Gluons, leptons, Z bosons, muons, pions, interweave through supersymmetry, reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, quantum entangling you and me and everything in the universe. THIS IS HOW WE SEE INTO THE MIND OF GOD.
…At least, it made sense until the graphs came back. And the acronyms. Oh, the acronyms. We pined for a fully-spelled-out word. Was the text even supposed to be read left to right anymore? We wouldn’t know. So, in summary: If the Higgs Boson doesn’t exist, does that mean I don’t exist? Does anyone exist even? Oh, it’s over… well that was… insightful, yes, fascinating. It’s time to go lie down now.