Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Here's a tidbit for all us folks who embrace science, AND have a sense of Faith.Interesting concept follows, in the article below...And, although I doubt we will ever "Know the mind of God", it's dreaming of moments like this, that unite us in our search for wonder, our appreciation of the world, our awe. Read on....

'God particle' expected to be found soon
By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS, Associated Press WriterTue Apr 8, 4:46 PM ET
The father of a theoretical subatomic particle dubbed "the God particle" says he's almost sure it will be confirmed in the next year in a race between powerful research equipment in the United States and Europe.
British physicist Peter Higgs, who more than 40 years ago postulated the existence of the particle in the makeup of the atom, said is visit to a new accelerator in Geneva last weekend encouraged him that the Higgs boson will soon be seen.
The $2 billion Large Hadron Collider, under construction since 2003, is expected to start operating by June at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (known as CERN).
It likely will take several months before the hundreds of scientists from around the world are ready to start smashing together protons to study their composition.
Higgs said Monday the particle may already have been created at the rival Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory outside Chicago, where the Tevatron is currently the world's most powerful particle accelerator.
"The Tevatron has plenty of energy to do it," Higgs said. "It's just the difficulty of analyzing the data which prevents you from knowing quickly what's hiding in the data."
The massive new CERN collider, which has been installed in a 17-mile circular tunnel under the Swiss-French border, will be more powerful still and will be better able to show what particles are created in the collisions of beams of protons traveling at the speed of light.
The new Geneva collider will re-create the rapidly changing conditions in the universe a split second after the Big Bang. It will be the closest that scientists have come to the event that they theorize was the beginning of the universe. They hope the new equipment will enable them to study particles and forces yet unobserved.
But Fermilab still has time to be first if it can show that it has discovered the Higgs boson, Higgs said.
Nobel laureate Leon Lederman has dubbed the theoretical boson "the God particle" because its discovery could unify understanding of particle physics and help humans "know the mind of God."
Higgs told reporters he is hoping to receive confirmation of his theory by the time he turns 80 in May 2009.
If not, he added, "I'll just have to ask my GP to keep me alive a bit longer," referring to his general practitioner, not the God particle, a term he does not embrace because he fears it might offend some people.
Higgs predicted the existence of the boson while working at the University of Edinburgh to explain how atoms — and the objects they make up — have weight.
Without the particle, the basic physics theory — the "standard model" — lacks a crucial element, because it fails to explain how other subatomic particles — such as quarks and electrons — have mass.
The Higgs theory is that the bosons create a field through which the other particles pass.
The particles that encounter difficulty going through the field as though they are passing through molasses pick up more inertia, and mass. Those that pass through more easily are lighter.
Higgs said he would be "very, very puzzled" if the particle is never found because he cannot image what else could explain how particles get mass.
Higgs said initial reaction to his ideas in the early 1960s was skeptical.
"My colleagues thought I was a bit of an idiot," he said, noting that his initial paper explaining how his theory worked was rejected by an editor at CERN.
He said a colleague spent the summer at CERN right after he did his work on the theory.
"He came back and said, 'At CERN they didn't see that what you were talking about had much to do with particle physics.'
"I then added on some additional paragraphs and sent it off across the Atlantic to Physical Review Letters, who accepted it. The mention of what became known as the Higgs boson was part of the extra which was added on."
I really enjoy learning more about physics.It certainly helps explain the HOW of life.But certainly, not the WHY--which is ultimately the more urgent question. How 'bout you? Does physics and the "Big Bang" threaten your Faith, strengthen it, or make no difference? For me, The Divine Mystery is served by science--- which is always unfolding--- much like Faith has layers to it....


Selma said...

For me Lisa, sciences enhance my faith. I have a friend who teaches in the physics department at Sydney University and he is such an interesting guy. He has a PhD in Pure Maths and is really super-intelligent. I often ask him what he and all his colleagues are looking for when they do all those complicated equations and formulate all their theories. It's the same answer every time - 'We are looking for God,' he says. Now if the scientists believe that gives me a lot of comfort. I am going to follow your story with interest.

Lisa Allender said...

Hi Selma. You and I are kindred spirits, dear!
I too, believe that that searching in the sciences, only ENHANCES my Faith.
I am certain we'll be able to discover even more phenomena--for example, I'm sure you've heard of Fractals--these amazing little things are a "proof" of a sort of "Divine Reasoning", if you will!

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