News and brain candy for the philosophy community
Over two years ago I wrote a blog entry entitled “Brave New World.” In that entry I mused about the possibilities of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, about its search for the Higgs boson and the idea that everything we know about the world can change in the blink of an eye. When the LHC was started for the first time, there was a lot of excitement going around in the physics community. Particle physicists were waiting anxiously for results to surface. However, for over two years the LHC was riddled with problems. The magnets were broken, or too strong to hold the current and other such things that spelled a serious handicap for the LHC. The friendly competitors at Fermilab, near Chicago, now had the possibility to maybe beat the folks at CERN. The Tevatron at Fermi however was closed in 2011. Results of many of the experiments however were still being analyzed and showed a definite possibility of a Higgs boson. In early July of 2012 the elusive Higgs boson, or a particle that at least had the possibilities of the Higgs, was discovered at CERN. Peter Higgs himself was present and so were many physicists and observers of the wider particle physics community. But did Miranda’s brave new world appear? In “The Tempest” Miranda talks about a “brave new world that has such people in it”. Yet the people that are so strange to her are more like her then she believes them to be. Their appearance only changed her perception of the world she inhabits. When the discovery of the new particle was announced there was for a brief second the possibility that now our entire perception of the world will change. That we will gain a much deeper understanding. But so far, at least to my knowledge, that does not seem to be the case. Our wide-eyed Mirandian curiosity was not satisfied. “CERN head Heuer called today’s announcement a “historic milestone” but cautioned that much work lies ahead as physicists attempt to confirm the new found particle’s identity and further probe its properties.” says a quote from a National Geographic article and such caution is definitely in order. But despite said caution and despite the fact that more research needs to be done, today’s discoveries just simply do not seem to be as earth shattering as predicted. Since the very many articles in early July, not much has been published about the new find. It is still not quite clear if it really is the missing particle, nor what all its properties are. And by now the story has vanished from the news. And if it is not in the news, if we are not aware of it, will it change how we see the world?