STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
And You Thought the Particle Was Confirmed?
By Staff News & Analysis - March 14, 2013

The particle found in the Large Hadron Collider last year "strongly indicates" that it is the long-sought Higgs Fri, Mar 8 2013 boson, the CERN physics research center said on Thursday. But a statement on the latest findings from huge volumes of data gathered during three years of collisions in the LHC stopped short of claiming the boson, believed to be the particle that gives matter to mass, had been discovered for sure. Measurement of the behavior of the particle, whose existence was first postulated in the early 1960s, and of its interaction with other particles "strongly indicates that it is the Higgs boson," CERN said. – Reuters

Dominant Social Theme: Ain't modern science wonderful?

Free-Market Analysis: It's all over the news today. There are strong indications that the "God Particle" – the Higgs Boson – has been discovered.

Scientists have been going over the data developed by the Large Hadron Collider last year and now are confident that the particle may be the elusive Higgs. Reuters (above) ran an article about the "strong indications" that this was the God particle. And here's how one report featured as the top headline at Drudge put it:

"The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson, though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is," said Joe Incandela, a physicist who heads one of the two main teams at CERN, each involving several thousand scientists.

Whether or not it is a Higgs boson is demonstrated by how it interacts with other particles and its quantum properties, CERN said in the statement. After checking, scientists said the data "strongly indicates that it is a Higgs boson."

We want to note for the record, that these statements seem almost as hedged as the statements that were made nearly a year ago when the news about the potential confirmation of Higgs was first released.

At the time we wrote of our skepticism. Basically, we have a hard time believing that "big" discoveries are made by lavishly funded scientific boondoggles like the Large Hadron Collider.

If the market will provide, we figure it has a chance of being a legitimate breakthrough.

But when thousands of career scientists in academia who are dependent on government grants for additional research all proclaim a "breakthrough" in unison, we get suspicious.

And so it was last year around July when CERN scientists began to talk to the press enthusiastically about the "breakthrough" at Hadron. In "God Has Risen in a Particle," we wrote:

One wonders if the funding season is upon Cern. This has all the earmarks of a story that is "to be continued" during the next budgetary season. It's a kind of scientific cliffhanger based on sub-atomic particles hurled by a $10 billion atom smasher known as the Large Hadron Collider.

The instrument itself makes us suspicious. The very bigness of this kind of physics seems to us to guarantee that little or nothing of note will be accomplished in the long run. We're more comfortable with the amateurs posting online about electrical phenomena in the sky that explains things far more clearly than gravitational physics ever can.

Officially, CERN is presenting its evidence this week at a physics conference in Australia but plans to accompany the announcement with meetings in Geneva. The two teams, known as ATLAS and CMS, then plan to publicly unveil more data on the Higgs boson at physics meetings in October and December. Each of the teams involves thousands of people working independently to ensure accuracy.

We can see from the above that the language has not changed much. At the time, those involved planned to "make an announcement" and to publicly unveil "more data." And now that the data has been unveiled, we find out there are "strong indications" that the particle is the Higgs.

As we've pointed out, there are alternative theories to the strange mishmash of physics that modern scientists have concocted to explain the world. Just as importantly, the faith that bigness of any kind is more efficient and powerful than genius itself is part of the myopia of the current age. In fact it IS genius that offers us breakthroughs of every kind. What free-market economist called "human action."

Here's another quote from the article we began this analysis with:

Sean M. Carroll, a California Institute of Technology is quoted in the article as saying that if both ATLAS and CMS have independently concluded that evidence shows the Higgs boson exists, then "only the most curmudgeonly will not believe that they have found it."

After Thoughts

Count us curmudgeonly.

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