Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Partice Physics proves tantalizing once again.
There may be multiple versions of the elusive "God particle" - or Higgs boson - according to a new study.

Finding the Higgs is the primary aim of the £6bn ($10bn) Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment near Geneva.

But recent results from the LHC's US rival suggest physicists could be hunting five particles, not one.

The data may point to new laws of physics beyond the current accepted theory - known as the Standard Model.

The Higgs boson's nickname comes from its importance to the Standard Model; it is the sub-atomic particle which explains why all other particles have mass.

However, despite decades trying, no-one, so far, has detected it.

The idea of multiple Higgs bosons is supported by results gathered by the DZero experiment at the Tevatron particle accelerator, operated by Fermilab in Illinois, US.
So far these experiments consume ever growing amounts of money, time and hardware, but only result in new particles that pose new mysteries.

I'm not complaining, really. I think that this the legacy of intelligence, but it suggests that we may be wandering down a blind alley. Science is a construct that rules out some explanations simply by definition. For example, defining consciousness as nothing more than the accumulation of synaptic firings, hardly gives a satisfying answer to the question of what it is. What is will? What is imagination, or emotion? Psychology doesn't have answers, because no answers could pass muster as a true science.

I guess I'm just annoyed by phrases like "the God particle," which make light of belief in God or reveal a serious misunderstanding of him. At any rate, there doesn't seem to be much progress at this point toward reconciliation of the Standard Model with Einstein's theory of gravity.

I'm listening to Into The Universe the story of everything written by Stephen Hawking, discussing dark energy and his view that the Universe will end in a Big Chill. He asks if before then we will have been able to travel to another universe, which depends on understanding why the universe exists at all. The problem with that kind of statement is that the concept of Why is answered only partly by a description of the mechanics of something, it also encompasses the concept of purpose, which is one of those ideas science doesn't allow us to ask.


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