Game on! and a whiff of the Higgs

Mexico rocked my socks. That country rocked my socks right off. I have no more socks.

And I’m back like a flippin SMACK! Well, I’ve been back for a few days now, but maaaan amigo, I needed to take care of some things. But now the blogging is back ON and I’m hitting the ground arunnin’. I’ve got so much to share with y’all.

First, there have been rumors afloat in the physics sector about some Higgs** findings at the Tevatron (the most powerful collider after the LHC, located at Fermilab). And of course everyone was like “now you’re just fucking with me.” It all began with the post by a physicist at the University of Padua, Tommaso Dorigo (A Quantum Diaries Survivor), “Rumors of a light Higgs.” Because the Tevatron isn’t as powerful as the LHC, the Higgs must be lighter than expected, if these rumors are true that is. (Lighter = less energy needed to produce one in an interaction.) People have been giving this guy a lot of crap because apparently these rumors ain’t true, even though he clearly said they were rumors in his original post. Chill people.

They have, however, been picked up by a lot of major news sites, including an article in the Telegraph (thanks for emailing that to me while I was in Mexico, Amanda T. — and I’m glad you made it to NYC alright). Dorigo has recently put out a follow-up post, “The Rumored Rumor Has Been Rumored Before.” Don’t be a hater people.

Thirsting for more information? There’s another blog post on the interwebs that provides more details and more backup for the rumors. Here ya go. A couple of notes, because it’s a bit higher level:

  1. “gluon + b → b + Higgs” is mentioned. This is how particle physics interactions are sometimes shown. They’re also shown often in Feynman diagrams, which just look wicked cool (here’s the most sensical and brief explanation I could find, but really they’re just visual, mathematical representations of particle interactions). Here a gluon particle and a b-meson particle interact to produce another b-meson and a Higgs boson. A gluon is an elementary particle that is a quantization of the strong force. This is the particle that is keeping all those quarks together within yer protons and neutrons. (Cool anecdote — the antiparticle of a gluon is a gluon.) Sneaky little bastards. Mesons are not elementary. But they’re cool anyways. They’re made up of a quark and an antiquark. Cool’eh?
  2. MSSM is the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model. So we have all heard of the Standard Model, but what’s this shit? Rather than dive into a huge explanation here, we’ll just say that it would be great to add a theoretical set of particles, called supersymmetric particles, to the hodgepodge that is the Standard Model. This would fix some anomolous things. And man wouldn’t it be cool if there were even MORE particles out there for us to find? (Note: there will always be more.) So this MSSM is the Standard Model with the minimal amount of additions to it to make it incorporate supersymmetry.
  3. by “bottom” he means bottom-quark. It’s just another flavor of our favorite leeettle elementary particle.

And I’m going to stop there. After quark-gluon interaction is mentioned things go crazy (or, by that, I mean that they just get pretty technical). Read it, but maybe just drift over it like a Faulkner novel.

    **To learn more about the Higgs, you can start by takin a gander at an earlier post of mine, LHC part deux.


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