CERN - Large Hadron Collider - Particle Physics - A Giant Takes On Physics' Biggest Questions3 - NYT

CERN - Large Hadron Collider - Particle Physics - A Giant Takes On Physics' Biggest Questions3 - NYT

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Advertise on NYTimes.com Search All NYTimes.com Science WORLD U.S. N.Y. / REGION BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY SCIENCE HEALTH SPORTS OPINION ARTS STYLE TRAVEL JOBS REAL ESTATE AUTOS ENVIRONMENT SPACE & COSMOS Multimedia Cameras for Capturing Primordial Fire The Large Hadron Collider Related A Bang, a Cloud, a Delay (May 15, 2007) Plucking at Strings (May 15, 2007) Times Topics: Cern RSS Feed Get Science News From The New York Times » A Giant Takes On Physics’ Biggest Questions Published: May 15, 2007 Correction Appended (Page 3 of 6) “Certainly in Europe the situation of Cern is such that we appreciate competition,” he said. “But we assume we are the leader and we have all intention to remain the leader. And we’ll do everything which is needed to remain the leader.” To match the American machine, however, the Europeans, with a much smaller tunnel — 17 miles instead of 54 —had to adopt a riskier design, in particular by doubling the strength of their magnets. “In this business, society is prepared to support particle physics at a certain level,” Dr. Evans saids. “If you want society to accept this work which is not cheap, you have to be really innovative.” Cocktail Party Physics The payoff for this investment, physicists say, could be a new understanding of one of the most fundamental of aspects of reality, namely the nature of mass. This is where the shadowy particle known as the Higgs boson, a k a the God particle, comes in. In the Standard Model, a suite of equations describing all the forces but gravity, which has held sway as the law of the cosmos for the last 35 years, elementary particles are born in the Big Bang without mass, sort of like Adam and Eve being born without sin. Some of them (the particles, that is) acquire their heft, so the story goes, by wading through a sort of molasses that pervades all of space. The Higgs process, named after Peter Higgs, a Scottish physicist who first showed how this could work in 1964, has been compared to a cocktail party where particles gather their masses by interaction. The more they interact, the more mass they gain. The Higgs idea is crucial to a theory that electromagnetism and the weak force are separate manifestations of a single so-called electroweak force. It shows how the Advertise on NYTimes.com Go to Complete List » More Articles in Science » Today's Headlines Daily E-Mail MOST POPULAR Pursuing iPhone Thief, Officer Knew Right Buttons to Push 1.
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CERN - Large Hadron Collider - Particle Physics - A Giant Takes On Physics' Biggest Questions3 - NYT

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