Happy Fourth of July, Higgs Boson!

Today, July 4, 2012, scientists at CERN in Switzerland, announced the discovery of the Higgs boson, the long-sought subatomic particle that gives matter the property of mass.

In a wide-ranging press conference, the team explained the historic significance of this finding. "The Higgs boson is the means by which baryonic matter interacts with the Higgs field," said Hoorst Vedeveltignnen, project director of CERN. "That is to say, much as the tau lepton is the mechanism of electric charge, the Higgs boson is the mechanism of gravity. This is very, very exciting. While much work remains to be done, the Standard Model is alive and well."

Professor Peter Higgs, the theoretical physicist for whom the Higgs boson is named, was on hand for the announcement. "I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime. To have such a definitive physical demonstration of theory is what physics is all about."
The Jetsons in a flying car.

Mass is the property that causes matter to be attracted to other matter, what we feel as gravity. Particles like protons, neutrons and electrons, which have the Higgs boson as part of their makeup, have mass and are attracted to each other gravitationally. On the other hand, massless particles like photons, which do not have the Higgs, and are not affected by gravity.

"But what will this discovery mean for the common person on the street?" asked Dr. Vedeveltgnnen. "How will society use the Higgs boson? Simple: flying cars. It's 2012, for God's sake, why don't we have flying cars yet? That's really what this whole thing has been about."

Professor Higgs agreed. "Flying cars? Absolutely. That's why I worked out the equations in the first place. Did you watch The Jetsons? So did I. Now, we're finally going to get stuff like that."

"The Jetsons" was an iconic 1970's television cartoon about a futuristic family that had a robot maid, computerized kitchens and, yes, flying cars.

Although the CERN team noted that significant technical hurdles remain before practical flying cars would be a reality, the discovery of the Higgs boson is the key to making them. But how? Particles can be attracted or repelled by electric charge, another property of matter which is conveyed by a subatomic particle. Having a tau lepton means a negative charge, while having an anti-tau lepton makes a particle positively charged. Particles without tau leptons are electrically neutral.

"To get massless baryonic matter, all we have to do is cook up some anti-Higgs bosons. So, when we expose normal matter with Higgs bosons to the stream of anti-Higgs bosons, we'll get matter that behaves the same way it always has in terms of tensile strength, opacity, electrical conductivity, and so on, but isn't affected by gravity," said Vedeveltignnen. "The theory also says that an overbalance of anti-Higgs will create anti-gravity. Now that we've made the Higgs, making the anti-Higgs will be dead easy. Both Star Trek and The Jetsons are now within our reach."

Professor Peter Higgs.
"Star Trek", the popular 1960's science fiction television show, has been the basis for movies, spinoff sequels and books. More importantly, many scientists and engineers cite "Star Trek" as the inspiration for their scientific achievements.

"Oh, sure, Star Trek was fantastic. Loved that show," affirmed Professor Higgs. "I never thought much of Star Wars, since it was more science fantasy, but Star Trek? That's right up there with The Jetsons."

Iishi Nakamoto, Vice President for R&D director of Toyota Corp., explained it this way: "Toyota broke new ground in the hybrid car market with the Prius, and we're hoping to do the same with the flying car market. We partnered with CERN to do just that. We're thrilled to be a part of this historic day."

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p.s. I know nothing about subatomic physics, but I want a flying car.


  1. It is not sure, it is a great "MAYBE"
    Before, "they" thought than "they" discovered a greater number of particles, by a linear way & shorter distance than this circular 27 km!

  2. It is not sure, it is a great "MAYBE"
    Before, "they" thought than "they" discovered a greater number of particles, by a linear way & shorter distance than this circular 27 km!

  3. Star Wars just has some technology you can't discern from magic yet. Right, Mr. Clarke?


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