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back to article Higgs boson hunters have god particle in their sights

The Higgs boson has been glimpsed by boffins at CERN who are now much closer to pinning down the particle after crunching through hundreds of gigabytes of raw data. Previous work at CERN over the summer had whittled down the mass range in which the Higgs was most likely to be found, with the results presented by Fabiola Gianotta …

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They cannot be serious

If I am not mistaken that slide uses Comic Sans....

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Anonymous Coward

.....and to compound the crime they used the unholy trinity of lime, fuchsia and aqua as background colours.

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HMB

Comic Sans

I would have thought this to be quite obvious.

There's a fine line between genius and insanity. The use of Comic Sans just shows how fine that line can be.

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If I am not mistaken that slide uses Comic Sans....

Yeah - but the colours are nice...!

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Windows

"I don't understand the physics so I'll comment on the font"

TBH I've been doing the same myself.

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Sweet...

Comic Sans on the most important physics discovery this year. As an occasional graphic designer with a real love of type, I can't say how happy this makes me feel. And I'm not being in any way sarcastic.

This slide could have been scrawled in dry-wipe marker on a sheet of acetate, and people would still pay attention.

There's a lesson in there.

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And these people have a particle accelerator? Maybe we *should* be worried...

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Anonymous Coward

I reckon they're probably better particle physicists than most graphic designers so I'm not too bothered.

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Yin and yang

It's to preserve the balance of the universe - God Particle, Devil typeface.

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Angel

"Too early to draw definite conclusions"

Translation from Science to English: "We need a bigger grant".

Interesting news, though.

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Anonymous Coward

not necessarily bigger -

maybe just "we need another grant - my postdoc who does half of the work is running out of funding, and the graduate students are too busy writing up to do their other half. I'd like to do it but I'm far too busy writing the grant (along with the soon-to-be financially stricken postdoc, that is)".

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Anonymous Coward

Value for money

Oooh, three for one, annoying the fundamentalist religious nutters by probing the secrets of the universe, annoying the 'serious' scientists by calling it the God particle and annoying the design zealots by using Comic Sans. LHC I salute you, worth every penny on so many levels.

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Boffin

Seriously, I wish they stopped using "god particle". It doesn't convey any useful information, it's nonsense and it gives religious people scary ideas about CERN. I propose we use the original provisional designation instead - "the goddamn particle".

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Anonymous Coward

Me too but....

It seems we're having a science revival with pop science and the really really lovely Prof Brian Cox riding the crest of a really really big wave and if the price of inspiring a new generation of scientists is having to use a silly name for an elementary particle then I'm all for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Last sentence

Would flow so easily from the mouth of Collaterlie Sisters. (Look her up!)

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titular nonsense

"Let's take a look at the currency cat. Chris."

Actually, I wonder what Peter O'Hanrahahanrahan would make of it?

"Peter, you've lost the news!"

The Day Today - News from telly to belly.

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Because Fact Into Doubt Won't Go.

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Boffin

That's a lot of collisions

From our friend Wikipedia...

One inverse femtobarn is equal to around 70 million million (70 x 10^12) collisions

Whew!

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The 70x10^12 figure applies only, I think, to the LHC. It depends on the beam size.

It's like measuring precipitation by looking at the window and counting the number of rain-drops that land on it. The longer you watch, the more you will see. The bigger the window, the more you will see. The faster the rain, the more you will see. So you can measure the amount of rain that has fallen by recording rain-drops per square centimetre. Our window might be a square metre, but if we are recording raindrops per square centimetre, then ten thousand drops of rain will have to hit the window before we count one raindrop per square centimetre. -- one inverse square centimetre,

One femtobarn is an area of 10^-43 square metres. To channel Carl Sagan for a moment, that's one, ten million billion, billion, billion, billionth of a square metre. It's quite small. The 70 million million figure tells us that the beam cross-section is 70 million million femtobarns, or 70 millibarn. 7x10^-30 square metres.

So the LHC's window is 7x10^-30 square metres, and there are 11 million rain-drops hitting it every second. It still takes over two months to get one rain-drop per femtobarn.

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So how big a banjo to you need to hit one of its doors?

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Gives mass to other particles?

So how can a 126GeV boson impart mass to an electron with a rest mass of 0.51MeV?

Do you need to get lots of electrons together into some sort of timeshare - where they each get 2 weeks of the boson every year (actually, with that provisional energy, it would be more like 2 minutes per year, than 2 weeks).

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Boffin

The Standard Model theorises that spontaneous electro weak symmetry breaking is produced by the Higgs Field, the field it's self cannot be observed or detected but if the theory is corect ten the Higgs boson (or boson's) must exist so observing / detecting the Higgs boson would prove the existence of the Higgs field.

El' Reg, along with much of the rest of the press, continue incorrectly attributing the Higgs boson with the property of 'lending mass' to other particles when this is simply not the case.

Neither is it true that the Higgs boson is referred to as the 'God particle' because of this misunderstood property as this article suggests, but rather Nobel Prize winning Physicist Leon Lederman wanted to call it the 'Goddamn particle' in a book but was forced by his publisher to change this to 'God particle', a term which he himself now abhors.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re:

Thanks for the feedback - I'll keep it in mind.

C.

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it's official

Smart people can use Comic Sans!

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Facepalm

Wow... ugliest slide evar???

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FAIL

Comic Sans == Credibility Fail

They really ought to include PowerPoint training in science degree courses nowadays...

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"They really ought to include PowerPoint training"

They really ought to discourage PowerPoint usage in science degree courses.

Fixed it for you !

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How so?

Instead of presenting the data, we need more animations, use of clipart, and all that?

Granted, this is not up (down?) to the level of readability suitable for Daily Mail, Fox and other 'news outlets' -- but to have to follow 'powerpoint training' ?

I'm glad they're not spending their grant money on things such as coming up with a Style guide, with colors that 'soothe, while still inspire' and other whalesong-like statements?

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Re: Comic Sans == Credibility Fail

I rather suspect that the author is perfectly aware of the effect that her colour scheme and font choices will have on the "artistically inclined". Consider it a well-deserved slap in the face for telephone sanitation engineers in all dimensions.

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I think it is reassuring that we have people that don't care a hoot how good the slide looks when there's enough interesting data in there.

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Pint

You are mistaken. It's actually Cosmic Sans.

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Happy

@chemist

"They really ought to discourage PowerPoint usage"

That's much better.

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Happy

@Destroy All Monsters Or maybe..........

..............Cosmic Sense.

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*Cynical*

Call me cynical, but if they do find it they'll just use it to develop more deadly weapons. Micro-nukes or something that can explode the planet into dust.

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Boffin

Cynical

Your making the same mistake as Thatcher, who praised the good and important work they did at CERN, thinking they made atom bombs. Stupid cow. They didn't, don't and never will. Nuclear physics and bomb-making split in about 1950. The H-bomb uses the most energy-dense stable material in the universe, Hydrogen, in its various isotopic forms. You just need an A-bomb to get it going.

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Nit-pick...

Iron is more stable. (So is helium, which is why you can make a bomb out of hydrogen, but iron is the point at which neither fusion nor fission will yield any more energy.)

As for the OP, presumably they also believe that all chemical and biological research should be banned. There's not much you can say to such people except "Happy trolling".

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Happy

Nit-unpick

Your point is correct, but, erm, misguided, Iron and Helium are stable by virtue of their binding energy per nucleon, but this reduces their energy density, in bomb-makers terms, as this binding energy is what is released when Hydrogen fuses into Helium, , or any other nucleide. Therefore Hydrogen is the most energy dense material that is also stable, I am not looking for the most stable material.

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Anonymous Coward

Radio 4's approach to this news.

"If you were dragged to a betting shop and forced to bet on whether you've discovered the Higgs Boson or not, which way would you bet"

It's so refreshing to see the beeb so finely in tune with the way potential scientific discoveries are evaluated.

Thank 'Gaia' they use such discrimination with regard to all science iespecially their climate change propaganda.

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Coat

<inert title>

So, basically, we put everything we had into these giant detectors and the particle accelerator and it turns out there it was! in this little cupboard, right at the back, all the time - which had a message scrawled on the door "Do not open until X-mass"

We've just got to check the sell-by-date against the speed of light next.

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FAIL

Comic Sans

The Font of Champions

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Trollface

The Font of Chumps.

FTFY

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Boffin

This article is full of misleading interpretations, statements and inaccuracies; was the author even watching the same webcast?

Although optimistic, the teams at CERN certainly cannot be said to have 'spotted the Higgs', indeed, their presentations and conclusions were (rightly) far more cautious, accepting the real possibility that the Standard Model Higgs doesn't even exist.

And for goodness sake, please STOP stating that the Higgs Boson gives mass to other particles, this is NOT the case, the existence of the Higgs Boson is merely a product and proof of the Standard Model concept of the HIGGS FIELD as the mechanism for spontaneous electro weak symmetry breaking, if this is proven to be the case then it's the Higgs Field which gives mass to all matter, (including Higgs Bosons).

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Wow...

May I politely suggest that if you don't like a news source generalising, and trying to bring science just that little bit closer to the average human being by taking a few small approximations on the linguistic semantics of cutting edge particle physics, then the Register probably isn't the place for you?

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Would it really put science *that* much further away from the average human being if the boson had been described as 'linked to the process which gives particles/things/matter/stuff mass'?

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115 to 131 MeV

That's a pretty big hole to keep searching in!

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You mean...

GeV.

Directly from: http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/

"For the last decade we have known that the Higgs mass is above 114 GeV (from LEP) and unlikely to be very much higher than that (from precision electroweak results). This summer’s LHC results disfavored masses above about 130 GeV, so for the last few months we’ve known that if the Standard Model Higgs is there, it should be between 114 and about 130 GeV. For a couple weeks news has been circulating widely from ATLAS and CMS that they are both seeing something around 125 GeV."

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Joke

@You mean: Obligatory reference

"One million electron-volts is not cool. You know what's cool? One billion electron-volts."

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Meh

Took me a minute or two ...

... to work out what the news was. Seems like the news is that they have now bothered to have a news conference. The story has been as good as public for a little while now

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'As good as public'

How public does it need to be? - it was in last week's New Scientist, for example.

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