Let’s start tonight’s blog with the full disclaimer: this subject is way over my head. I do not really understand what the Higgs Boson is, nor how they can calculate a weight for dark matter, nor most of what this article was about, but I’ve got an opinion on it anyway.
It’s a blogger’s prerogative, which is a self-granted prerogative, which is the very best kind of prerogative. I give my opinions on films without being an expert on film making or even the history thereof, I give my opinion on art despite the fact that the best I can draw are stick figures, I give my opinion on pending court cases without always hearing both sides because that is, in fact, a blogger’s role. I give my opinions. It’s up to other people to give theirs.
If someone reading this does, in fact, understand the physics, feel free to leave a comment telling me how full of shit I am. It would be educational.
The main premise of the article is that maybe we’ve reached the limit of what we can possibly learn about physics. Right there I started thinking ‘bullshit.’ We had about a thousand years of that thinking between Aristotle and Galileo and then Kapow! All hell broke loose. We don’t know what the next huge breakthrough will be but little breakthroughs happen all the time. The stream has most definitely not dried up.
Then, one of the reasons they gave is this (and I’m copying it verbatim because, again, I don’t really understand it.): “In reality, the Higgs field is just slightly on,” says Cliff. (Harry Cliff, a particle physicist at Cern. “It’s not zero, but it’s ten-thousand-trillion times weaker than it’s fully on value — a bit like a light switch that got stuck just before the ‘off’ position. And this value is crucial. If it were a tiny bit different, then there would be no physical structure in the universe.”
O.K. So we don’t know how we got so lucky as to be in a universe that exists. But, look at it this way. Let’s say there are ten thousand trillion possible settings for the Higgs Boson, and the one we’re at is the only one where a universe could actually exist. That means there are ten thousand trillion alternative universes which don’t, in fact, exist. I suspect the number is actually much higher because, you know, by not existing, they leave plenty of room around them for other universes to not exist in. But, we’re in the only one of those universes which does exist. Lucky, right? Yes, but inevitable. Only the universe in wich we exist could be the one where we actually exist to debate this question.
That’s about it. I’m out for tonight.