Monday, August 06, 2012

Lost and found

I quote The Economist, July 7ty 2012, page 14:"On July 4th, physicists working in Geneva at CERN....announced that they had found the Higgs Boson." At school, I was no more than average at Physics. I think I understood refraction, the moment of a couple, the effect of a magnet on iron filings and a few other things, and I can remember being thrilled to realise that, because light travels faster than sound, it was possible to work out how far away a thunderstorm was by counting the gap between the lightning flash and the clap of thunder. After that, it all got rather hazy. A lot has happened since then. In physics, I mean. So, when I read that they'd found the Higgs Boson, a number of questions formed in my mind. If any of you have the answers, please write them down on a piece of paper before you forget them, or lose interest, whichever is sooner.
1 Who lost the Higgs Boson in the first place?
2 Did YOU know it was missing?
3 Who is/was Higgs?
4 What's his first name? (this question is optional, but credit will be given for a plausible answer).
5 Does anyone else have a Boson, or is it only Higgs who has/had one?
And the clincher for first prize:
6 What is it?

It is said that in the first post-war Parliament, among the many new MPs making their maiden speech was a young Labour MP called "Bossom". Churchill is reported to have muttered: "Bossom? Funny name: neither one thing nor the other." That's a little bit how I feel about old Higgsy's "boson".

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