A few weeks ago, I posted this humorous piece on the Higgs Boson on my blog site at Multiply.Com. I will repeat the text here because, on December 1 of this year, Multiply will delete all my postings and retreat to Southeast Asia. Not being a Filipino, I just decided not to Tagalog:
It’s not every day that physicists around the world can celebrate the discovery of a particle such as the Pigg’s Boatswain, the so-called Dog Particle. Emerging accidentally from the Somewhat Large Hadron Collider (SLHC) at BERN in Switzerland, the Pigg’s Boatswain lurched into existence for several Gilliganseconds when a technician accidentally tossed a soft drink cup into the Collider. At once several subatomic particles generally referred to as ø-cokes and µ-pepsis attained a measurable mass (and vastly increased calorie content).
Swedish physicist Bjorn Oswald Pigg had actually speculated on the existence of the PB in 1961, when he backed his Saab over a dumpster. The so-called resulting Piggs Field was identified as a promising area for future research, but it was not until three weeks ago when the SLHC made it all possible.
When asked about the implications of the discovery, B. O. Pigg, now 92 years old, admitted, “Well, probably nothing, but for dang sure it’ll get me a Nobel—if I should live so long!”
As to whether there were any practical applications, Pigg shrugged. “At present, the immediate result of the PB transformation is a microscopic, but still pungent pile of dog puckie, which requires a sophisticated cleanup that my colleagues claim that there are not sufficient euros minted to accomplish. Maybe in a few more years….”
In the meantime, Ixtaccihuatl joins the scientific community in hailing another great discovery. All the greater because of the humor involved watching journalists trying to wrap their minds around the story.
It was my mistake to call the particle the Pigg’s Boatswain, but then I’m not much of a physicist. I guess it’s just a character quark on my part.
This afternoon, I just finished reading Lisa Randall’s Kindle book entitled Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space. Now I can claim to know even less than I did when I wrote the above. You see, in addition to Higgs Bosons, there are Higgs Fields, the Higgs Mechanism, and Higgs “I’m With Stupid→” T-Shirts (Sizes S, M, L, XL, and LHC).
The Higgs Field is not much like a field at all. Perhaps the best comparison would be a overfilled cat litter box. Imagine what happens when a Spin-0 particle hits it at the speed of light, causing a quality that advanced physicists refer to as Pungency. You might say it really hits the fan, and the resulting Higgs Boson particles shoot in every direction and make a big mess.
Many of the latest discoveries are the result of the RLHC (Ridiculously Large Hadron Collider) in what used to be Greece before Angela Merkel decided to use the real estate for a more useful purpose that cost fewer Euros than housing a bunch of defaulting Greeks. At a power level approaching 3.1416³ TeraGilligans, the number of collisions in the Higgs Field grows to the point that subatomic physicists refer to it officially as a Sh*tload.
The whole point of the RLHC collisions is twofold:
- They do not appear to be insured, and
- They add mass to particles which previously had none.
There is some question as to what the purpose of this added mass is, but some scientists speculate that’s how all mass in the universe was created, including all the plants and animals to which you are allergic and which sneak up and bite you while you are sleeping. Nice going, guys!