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 Post subject: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:08 am 
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No surprise, but here it is:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2 ... confirmed/

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Last edited by KelvinS on Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:05 pm 
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I know I'm not anywhere near knowledgeable enough about this topic, but I still think there is a better more elegant explanation for the expansion of the universe than dark matter. Being that it's confirmed, perhaps there could be a better explanation for what it actually is. Once again, I am nowhere knowledgeable enough about this stuff.

Either way, I hope this gets us closer to a grand unified theory.

-d


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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:31 pm 
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Regarding the Higgs discovering being confirmed, that's really bad reporting. The only new thing is that their papers were just published in peer reviewed journals.

The standard model Higgs mechanism makes some predictions regarding spin (0), charge (0), decay products (it's complicated). The data shows a resonance as around 125 GeV and based on the limited data available, it mostly looks like the predicted Higgs boson. There isn't any reason to believe it isn't the Higgs (and it would be incredibly surprising if it wasn't) but that's a far-cry from confirming that it is, indeed the Higgs Boson.

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:34 pm 
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@darryl: Dark matter is litterally just matter that doesn't shine, and could be gas, dust, or whatever. On the other hand, dark energy causes expansion of the universe to accelerate rather than slow down, against the laws of gravity and even general relativity, so it is a complete mystery. Personally I think it is some sort of negative mass which is produced by black holes as they "borrow" positive mass from the surrounding space (vacuum), so that they can each gain the mass of its parent universe and thus allow the universe to reproduce via the black holes formed within it. This negative mass would then accumulate between and repel the galaxies so that the entire universe expands at a faster and faster rate, as we have now seen.

Meanwhile, the Higgs boson is a particle of quantum mechanics that gives mass to other particles. So far nobody has been able to establish a direct link between quantum mechanics and gravity, relativity and dark energy, but this is a big step in the right direction.

@bmenrigh: I agree with you - this is just a step of peer review, which adds more credibility, but has not reached the six sigma threshold required to confirm a discovery.

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Last edited by KelvinS on Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:46 pm 
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darryl wrote:
I know I'm not anywhere near knowledgeable enough about this topic, but I still think there is a better more elegant explanation for the expansion of the universe than dark matter. Being that it's confirmed, perhaps there could be a better explanation for what it actually is. Once again, I am nowhere knowledgeable enough about this stuff.

Either way, I hope this gets us closer to a grand unified theory.

-d

This mixes up several popularly (but very poorly) reported things all into one.

Dark Energy:
The expansion of the universe is based on red and blue shifts in starlight from distant galaxies. Einstein's general relativity equations had a "cosmological constant" that allowed for a contracting, static, or expanding universe. Hubble's observations suggest that the constant is positive rather than zero and the proposed reason for this is dark energy.

Dark Matter:
The spin of galaxies does not match the Newtonian (or general relativity) equations. Outer stars are moving about the galactic center much faster than they should be. The observations of galaxy spin suggest that there is a ton more mass distributed throughout the galaxy so that outer stars feel more gravity than the inner stars and so move faster than they otherwise would. The predicted mass distribution can not be accounted for by just looking at stars that are shining. This "extra mass" is called dark matter. It could be anything including dust, exotic particles, pretty much anything. It has nothing to do with dark energy at all.

Grand Unified Theories (GUTs):
When people refer to a "theory of everything" or a "grand unified theory" they really mean unifying quantum mechanics with gravity (general relativity). The Higgs Boson is a Standard Model prediction and has absolutely nothing to do with any GUT.

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:55 pm 
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If they can find the graviton (very unlikely) or at least real evidence of it (such as a gravity wave) then that will go a long way towards a unifying theory.


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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:02 pm 
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Volitar Prime wrote:
If they can find the graviton (very unlikely) or at least real evidence of it (such as a gravity wave) then that will go a long way towards a unifying theory.
Funny coincidence, they have found evidence of gravitational wave within the past month. I saw it explained here but I'm sure there's a real article out there somewhere that explains it more scientifically. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y37jkqX_LQk#t=235s

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:03 pm 
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Volitar Prime wrote:
If they can find the graviton (very unlikely) or at least real evidence of it (such as a gravity wave) then that will go a long way towards a unifying theory.

Finding the graviton (basically any spin 2 particle) would be a huge discovery. It seems theoretically next to impossible to detect though.

Gravity waves will be cool to confirm (and I think LIGO will do it soon) but that'll confirm general relativity more than anything else. The way we plan on detecting gravity waves though is by looking at their distortion of space (by looking at distance contracting or expanding). That's so far away from any sort of quantum measurement I don't see how it helps unify anything.

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:12 pm 
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GuiltyBystander wrote:
Funny coincidence, they have found evidence of gravitational wave within the past month. I saw it explained here but I'm sure there's a real article out there somewhere that explains it more scientifically. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y37jkqX_LQk#t=235s

This is really cool, I didn't hear about this.

This is the first binary star system where you can see both partners:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J0651

I think the first binary system (neutron stars) to confirm energy loss as predicted was:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulse-Taylor_binary

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:23 pm 
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bmenrigh wrote:
Gravity waves will be cool to confirm...
Except that it means the earth will eventually fall into the sun. :(

BTW, what do you think of my negative mass idea to explain dark energy? I actually developed the idea while I was still at school back in 1988, way before the universe was found to expand at an accelerating rate, and so kind of predicted it! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:04 pm 
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KelvinS wrote:
bmenrigh wrote:
Gravity waves will be cool to confirm...
Except that it means the earth will eventually fall into the sun. :(
All other things being equal, yes it does. With th expansion of space though I'm not sure which is faster. I sorta suspect space is expanding faster than we're losing orbital energy to gravity waves.

More depressing is that on the timescale needed for us to spiral into the sun, the sun will probably be a black-dwarf by then. This of course assumes that somehow the Earth survives the Sun's red-giant phase.

Proton decay is an even more depressing thought.

KelvinS wrote:
BTW, what do you think of my negative mass idea to explain dark energy? I actually developed the idea while I was still at school back in 1988, way before the universe was found to expand at an accelerating rate, and so kind of predicted it! :D
I was wondering why I hadn't heard that theory before :lol:

I'm an armchair physicist so basically I don't know jack. I can't provide a thoughtful critique.

That said, my first blush response is that I don't see how a black hole could "borrow" more mass from the surrounding space than their own mass. In that case their net contribution of mass would be neither positive or negative but zero.

Furthermore, assuming that gravity really does arise from some quantum effect then the graviton is its own anti-particle and I don't think there is any theoretical basis for negative mass or repulsive gravity.

One interesting question your idea brings up though is that for virtual particle pairs (especially at the edge of a black hole), does the pair have any net gravitational effect? If you borrow energy from the vacuum to create a pair do they contribute any gravitational pull? I dunno.

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:12 pm 
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I think that this is probably the greatest scientific discovery of the modern era, yet again confirming the validity of the standard model of particle physics. Yeh, quantum mechanics!
KelvinS wrote:
@bmenrigh: I agree with you - this is just a step of peer review, which adds more credibility, but has not reached the six sigma threshold required to confirm a discovery.
Actually, I think that only a 5 sigma level is required to confirm the existence of a new particle, equivalent to a chance of 0.0000003 that this is a false positive. And yes, I know that normally for a claim like this to be valid, the experiment must be repeatable by other physicists, but as there is only one LHC ...

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:23 pm 
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bmenrigh wrote:
KelvinS wrote:
bmenrigh wrote:
Gravity waves will be cool to confirm...
Except that it means the earth will eventually fall into the sun. :(
All other things being equal, yes it does. With th expansion of space though I'm not sure which is faster. I sorta suspect space is expanding faster than we're losing orbital energy to gravity waves.

My guess is that the acceleration is not uniform, but focused on the regions between galaxies, rather than within them. So I think the earth will fall into the sun faster than any local effects of the acceleration. At least that would explain why each galaxy is already much more dense than the spaces between them - because their expansion is much slower, and now they may even be contracting. The fact that each galaxy contains a massive black hole at its center also supports this.

bmenrigh wrote:
KelvinS wrote:
BTW, what do you think of my negative mass idea to explain dark energy? I actually developed the idea while I was still at school back in 1988, way before the universe was found to expand at an accelerating rate, and so kind of predicted it! :D
I was wondering why I hadn't heard that theory before :lol:

I'm an armchair physicist so basically I don't know jack. I can't provide a thoughtful critique.

That said, my first blush response is that I don't see how a black hole could "borrow" more mass from the surrounding space than their own mass. In that case their net contribution of mass would be neither positive or negative but zero.

Basically, particles and antiparticles are created all the time in a vaccum, due to the uncertainty principle, but they usually anihilate each other. So if the same occurs with particles of positive and negative mass, then a black hole would attract the positive mass, and repel the negative mass (at least as I would define negative mass). A small black hole would have much greater shear forces and be more effective at separating these particles, until it gets big enough that the shear forces are not strong enough, and the mass of the black hole would reach a limit, which (I assume) would be that of the parent universe, thus completing a perfect cycle.

bmenrigh wrote:
Furthermore, assuming that gravity really does arise from some quantum effect then the graviton is its own anti-particle and I don't think there is any theoretical basis for negative mass or repulsive gravity.

One interesting question your idea brings up though is that for virtual particle pairs (especially at the edge of a black hole), does the pair have any net gravitational effect? If you borrow energy from the vacuum to create a pair do they contribute any gravitational pull? I dunno.
Together I would say no, but the gravitational force on each particle depends on its proximity to other bodies, so they can experience different forces. Thus they repel each other like putting an inverted magnet between two other magnets. Make sense?

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Last edited by KelvinS on Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:26 pm 
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Gus wrote:
Actually, I think that only a 5 sigma level is required to confirm the existence of a new particle, equivalent to a chance of 0.0000003 that this is a false positive. And yes, I know that normally for a claim like this to be valid, the experiment must be repeatable by other physicists, but as there is only one LHC ...
Yes, I stand corrected - for some reason I was thinking of six sigma as in lean six sigma quality standards/processes! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:29 pm 
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KelvinS wrote:
@bmenrigh: I agree with you - this is just a step of peer review, which adds more credibility, but has not reached the six sigma threshold required to confirm a discovery.

Then perhaps your title should be ""Higgs boson discovery confirmed"".

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 Post subject: Re: Higgs boson discovery confirmed
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:31 pm 
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Tony Fisher wrote:
KelvinS wrote:
@bmenrigh: I agree with you - this is just a step of peer review, which adds more credibility, but has not reached the six sigma threshold required to confirm a discovery.

Then perhaps your title should be ""Higgs boson discovery confirmed"".

Changed! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:13 pm 
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A revolutionary discovery, indeed, my friends!
KelvinS wrote:
Meanwhile, the Higgs boson is a particle of quantum mechanics that gives mass to other particles.

In that case, this particle basically disproves the existence of God and genesis. Along with that, if physicists can harness the particle's ability to create mass, they could make gold from absolutely nothing! One can barely imagine the possibilities (good and perhaps bad) if an ability like that were harnessed!
My only peeve is that only a relatively small amount of people have even heard of the Higgs Boson and that not many people truly appreciate (or even know) how significant this discovery is.




Also, I have a feeling in my gut that Oskar is going to design another marvelous, crazy puzzle inspired by this topic

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:19 pm 
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cubeguy314 wrote:
A revolutionary discovery, indeed, my friends!
KelvinS wrote:
Meanwhile, the Higgs boson is a particle of quantum mechanics that gives mass to other particles.

In that case, this particle basically disproves the existence of God and genesis.

As an atheist I would like to agree. But as a scientist I have to disagree as one could easily ask the question: then what (or who) created the Higgs Boson (hence the name God particle)? In any case, it's a huge step forward, but let's not bring religion into this - both religion and atheism are subjective and perhaps irrational beliefs, so let's stick to the science (objective and unbiased testing of hypotheses). :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:43 pm 
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cubeguy314 wrote:
A revolutionary discovery, indeed, my friends!
KelvinS wrote:
Meanwhile, the Higgs boson is a particle of quantum mechanics that gives mass to other particles.

In that case, this particle basically disproves the existence of God and genesis.
There are a lot of good arguments against the existence of god. This is not one of them.

There are also lots of good places to argue these things. This forum is not one of them.

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:12 pm 
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There is a lot of talk about how the Higgs creates all mass. This is a really bad over simplification / misunderstanding.

Here is my hand-wavy (but hopefully much better) explanation of mass, energy, and the Higgs mechanism:

As you're probably aware from everywhere, there is a mass <-> energy equivalence (E = M*C^2). Mass can behave as energy and energy can behave as mass (yes I'm simplifying).

You're also aware that mass creates gravity. More mass, more gravity.

What you probably aren't aware of though is energy creates gravity just the same (because mass and energy are the same thing). A car driving faster has more kinetic energy and therefore has more mass. This is why physicists use the terms "rest mass" to mean the intrinsic mass of something, not counting any extra mass it could have due to kinetic energy. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_in_special_relativity

So take the mass of a Proton. A proton is made up of three quarks (two up, one down). 99% of the mass of the proton does not come from the mass of the quarks, it comes from the energy binding the quarks together (the gluon field) as well as the kinetic energy of the quarks moving around. That is, almost all the mass of the Proton comes from the energy keeping the quarks together. Almost all mass is the result of this type of binding energies.

The question physicists had was basically "where does the rest mass come from?". How is it that electrons and quarks and W and Z bosons have mass even though there is no binding energy. Where does that mass / energy come from? To answer this question they made something up they called the "Higgs mechanism". Basically they said "what if there is a field everywhere and all of the particles have some energy from binding to that field?". That is, the electron and quarks and other particles interact with this field and the energy involved in this interaction is what gives them mass.

It is like imagining the surface of a refrigerator and particles are refrigerator magnets. The stronger the magnet, the stronger it is attracted to the surface of the refrigerator and the harder it is to move the magnet around on the surface. This in analogous to particles sticking to the Higgs field. The harder they stick, the more energy involved, and the more mass they will have.

The problem guessing there is a field like the Higgs field is that it predicts that there would be a boson associated with the field (basically a wave in the field). The field was predicted back in the 1960s and it wasn't until recently that we were able to measure the predicted boson and determine that the theory is probably right.

So in short, all mass comes from energy. Almost all mass that we measure and feel comes from the energy of particles sticking together to form protons or atoms or molecules (as well as some mass from the kinetic energy of particles moving around). A very tiny bit of mass comes from the energy of particles interacting with the Higgs field.

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:05 pm 
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cubeguy314 wrote:
Along with that, if physicists can harness the particle's ability to create mass, they could make gold from absolutely nothing!
The Higgs boson doesn't create gold, gold atoms, or even the particles which make up gold atoms. It gives the particles that make up the gold atom's their mass. I can give my cat a name... doesn't mean I can create a cat from nothing.

So how many in this thread have a degree in Physics? I've got one but I've been a process engineer for 15 years now so I too am more of an armchair physicist.

I love thinking about stuff like this and often wish the science channel/discovery channel would go much deeper into the details in their shows. While we are on the topic of mass and rather the Earth will fall into the Sun type topics... here is a question I've often wondered about but have never seen a good answer to.

Of the various methods which the Sun has for gaining or losing mass which is the greatest? Today is the Sun gaining or losing mass? Idealy list these methods with their %impact on the Sun's mass. i.e. if the Sun losses 0.0005% of its mass to the solar winds each year its %impact would be -0.0005% (Yes, I'm sure its even less then that. Just giving an example).

(1) solar fusion - mass is turned into energy and given off as heat/light.
(2) solar wings - mass blown off the suns surface. This would include coronal mass ejections though I'm not sure if they technically are considered part of the solar wind.
(3) weight gain - gas and dust the sun collects as it orbits around the galaxy. Various asteroids and comets fall in under gravity.

I suspect (1) has been calculated and should be known. Not sure (2) has been estimated but I can think of experiments which should be able to produce estimates of this number, but I don't know if the solar wind is uniform in all directions. I know pulsars and quasars tend to shot mass out their poles so as far as I know the solar wind may be much stronger in the direction of the Sun's poles but I'm unaware of anything that has gone through them that might have been able to check. And (3) to me is a big unknown. I suspect that it could vary greatly over time as the sun orbits the galaxy center going through cleaner and dirtier pockets of space (the spiral arms). And it could be much less then (1) and (2) combined or much more or maybe even vary between the two extreems. I just don't know. I have looked in the past to see if others have asked this question (I'm sure some must have) but I've never found much.

You could ask the same question about the Earth today. Obviously in the past the Earth was gaining mass. Is it still? It losses mass though the solar winds blowing off gas from the surface of the atmosphere. Helium tends to find its way to the surface of the atmosphere and is lost in space. Us humans seem to enjoy sending mass off into space that we never expect to return, everything from Gene Roddenberry's ashes to Voyager to the martian rovers. We also have many nuclear reactors across the planet turning mass into energy but I think that can almost be ignored. Does any of that come close to the mass we gain? I very much doubt it but I don't think I've ever seen the numbers.

Maybe a better question and more of topic is this... we've talked about the Earth falling into or moving away from the Sun. Which of these effects is the greatest?

(1) The drag from the Earth moving through the Solar winds should cause us to slow in our orbit and thus fall in.
(2) The solar winds themselves are pushing outward... so are they blowing us away from the sun?
(3) We've already mentioned the expansion of the universe is pulling us outward.
(4) Gravity waves are causing us to fall in.
(5) There are methods by which multiple orbiting bodies can exchange energy. Look at how the shepherding moons impact Saturn's rings. So what extent does the pushing and pulling between planets speed us up or slow us down? Any net effect to push us into or away from the sun here?

I think the drag from the solar wind (more like the Sun itself) during the Sun's red-giant phase will win in the end... but which of these are winning today? How do their strengths compare? I really have NO idea to be honest.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:31 pm 
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Carl, I have no idea about specific current dynamics, but my big picture intuition tells me that everything is falling in towards each other at the galactic scale, but moving apart from each other at the inter-galactic scale, so that each galaxy (and everything within it) will end up as a singularity within a black hole, and all these black holes will end up infinitely far apart. To me everything else is just a blip on the road...

Fortunately, there may be a whole new universe forming on the other "side" of each black hole - if only we could survive the journey. :D

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:46 pm 
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Every time I see a thread like this I say to myself "Okay, well at least I'm not as nerdy as they are." :) Even if I could understand what you all are saying I wouldn't want to read through it.

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:53 pm 
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Interesting questions Carl :-)

BTW my degree is in Computer Science. Don't rely on anything I say without consulting an expert first :lol:

wwwmwww wrote:
[... What contributes to the loss of mass of the Sun ...]
(1) solar fusion - mass is turned into energy and given off as heat/light.
(2) solar wings - mass blown off the suns surface. This would include coronal mass ejections though I'm not sure if they technically are considered part of the solar wind.
(3) weight gain - gas and dust the sun collects as it orbits around the galaxy. Various asteroids and comets fall in under gravity.


Well some folks have thought about this stuff since there are paragraphs about each on Wikipedia:

For mass lost due to fusion. From Wikipedia:
Wikipedia wrote:
The proton–proton chain occurs around 9.2×10^37 times each second in the core of the Sun. Since this reaction uses four free protons (hydrogen nuclei), it converts about 3.7×10^38 protons to alpha particles (helium nuclei) every second (out of a total of ~8.9×10^56 free protons in the Sun), or about 6.2×10^11 kg per second.[49] Since fusing hydrogen into helium releases around 0.7% of the fused mass as energy,[50] the Sun releases energy at the mass-energy conversion rate of 4.26 million metric tons per second, 384.6 yotta watts (3.846×10^26 W),[1] or 9.192×10^10 megatons of TNT per second. This mass is not destroyed to create the energy, rather, the mass is carried away in the radiated energy, as described by the concept of mass-energy equivalence.

4.26 million metric tons per second = 4 * 10^9 kg (per second)
That is a heck of a lot of mass loss each second.

For mass lost due to solar wind:
Wikipedia wrote:
The total number of particles carried away from the Sun by the solar wind is about 1.3×10^36 per second.[19] Thus, the total mass loss each year is about (2–3)×10^-14 solar masses,[20] or about 4–6 billion tonnes per hour. This is equivalent to losing a mass equal to the Earth every 150 million years.[21] However, only about 0.01% of the Sun's total mass has been lost through the solar wind.[22] Other stars have much stronger stellar winds that result in significantly higher mass loss rates.

((2.5*10^-14 solar masses) / year) * 1 second = 1.5 * 10^9 kg (per second)

Assuming these numbers are correct the Sun loses about twice as much mass to fusion as it does solar winds. Fusion energy is carried away via photons and neutrinos.


Apparently the Earth is losing mass due to solar winds tearing away the upper atmosphere at a much faster rate than its gaining mass due to dust and meteors:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16787636

Another question: will the effects of tidal locking (the Earth's spin slowing down to match our orbital period) become a problem sooner than either the red-giant phase of the sun or us spiraling into the sun?


EDIT:

So how much mass is gained by the sun due to dust and such? Supposedly the earth gains 40,000,000 kg a year. If (this is a big if) we assume the amount of dust gained is dependent on the surface are then the sun should gain dust much faster. Here is the calculation:
http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28%28%28surface+area+of+sun+%2F+surface+area+of+earth%29+*+40000000+kg%29%29+%2F+%28seconds+in+year%29
Or 5 * 10^11 kg per second.

So the Sun might actually be gaining mass due to dust and meteors and comets.

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:54 am 
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By the way, since the "discovery" of the HB is based on statistical analysis of the data from the CMS and ATLAS experiments of the LHC, we can only ever say (for the time being) that the Higgs exists with some statistical probability (sigma level). I guess there will always be a chance that they are wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:07 am 
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Gus wrote:
By the way, since the "discovery" of the HB is based on statistical analysis of the data from the CMS and ATLAS experiments of the LHC, we can only ever say (for the time being) that the Higgs exists with some statistical probability (sigma level). I guess there will always be a chance that they are wrong.

I seem to recall that combining the two data sets confirms the result to 4.5 sigma (2 sigma from 1 data set, 2.5 from the other). Now while this does not quite reach the 5 sigma threshold required to claim a discovery, it means that we are already 99.9993% confident in the result, assuming a normal distribution. You can check this yourself in Excel:

Probability within +/- 4.5 SD =NORMSDIST(4.5)-NORMSDIST(-4.5) = 0.999993

Just shows how cautious scientists are before they claim a discovery, as 5 sigma would add another 9 to this number, reducing the margin of error by 10-fold. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:19 am 
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KelvinS wrote:
Just shows how cautious scientists are before they claim a discovery ...
Well, we don't want a repeat of Cold Fusion, Vaccines cause Autism, Power lines cause leukemia etc. etc.

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:56 am 
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Gus wrote:
we can only ever say (for the time being) that the Higgs exists with some statistical probability (sigma level). I guess there will always be a chance that they are wrong.

Like pretty much every other "fact" in the universe.

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Tony Fisher wrote:
Gus wrote:
we can only ever say (for the time being) that the Higgs exists with some statistical probability (sigma level). I guess there will always be a chance that they are wrong.

Like pretty much every other "fact" in the universe.
Except for maths? I think that 1+1=2 is pretty much certain.

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:36 pm 
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Gus wrote:
Tony Fisher wrote:
Gus wrote:
we can only ever say (for the time being) that the Higgs exists with some statistical probability (sigma level). I guess there will always be a chance that they are wrong.
Like pretty much every other "fact" in the universe.
Except for maths? I think that 1+1=2 is pretty much certain.
Depending on your philosophy, math isn't a real thing that exists in the universe. So saying 1+1=2 is like saying that "the" is spelled with a "t", "h", and "e." Not really fact in my opinion if you control the rules of the system.

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:44 pm 
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Gus wrote:
Except for maths? I think that 1+1=2 is pretty much certain.

Not so fast.

Before you start talking about 1 + 1 = 2 you need to define what 1 and 2 are and what addition as well as equality is.

That is, you need to establish a set of axioms that we can start to build a mathematical framework from.

So mathematicians created a set of axioms to formally define arithmetic (Peano axioms).

Then mathematicians asked if what they'd made was actually consistent and provably correct (Hilbert's second problem).

Then a really smart guy came along and proved that the axioms are either incomplete or inconsistent (Gödel's incompleteness theorems). He went beyond just existing axioms though and proved that it's impossible to formulate axioms that are powerful enough to support arithmetic and also free from contradictions.

Quote:
Any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. In particular, for any consistent, effectively generated formal theory that proves certain basic arithmetic truths, there is an arithmetical statement that is true,[1] but not provable in the theory (Kleene 1967, p. 250).

So 1 + 1 = 2 is based on faulty or incomplete axioms and I reject your conclusion :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:26 pm 
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I'm with you on that. Laurie Brokenshire taught us this math thing this summer that just threw all my (very limited) knowledge of numbers out the window. 1+1 is not = 2

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:56 am 
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So in that case, what's the probablity that 1 + 1 =/= 2?

Now calculate that and smoke it. :P

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:35 am 
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The Universe is simply a complex set of mathematical equations just waiting to be solved.

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:22 am 
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Gus wrote:
The Universe is simply a complex set of mathematical equations just waiting to be solved.

I agree with this. In fact sometimes I think it's only the mathematics which is real, while what we perceive to be the universe is just a consistent set of equations that describe how these equations can interact with and recognize each other. I might think I see a real apple, but perhaps it is just some equation teling me this. In fact there is no me to see the apple, as I am just another part of the same equation. Kind of like the Matrix, except that all the software has evolved rather than been programmed: it is the equations that are selfish, evolve and survive by natural selection, not just our genes, which like everything else in the universe are just representations of equations.


:solved:

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:26 am 
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Be careful Kelvin, you might sound like Srinivasa Ramanujan
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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:02 am 
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Gus wrote:
Be careful Kevin, you might sound like Srinivasa Ramanujan
I'm honoured by the comparison - unless of course he's just another equation! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:14 pm 
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KelvinS wrote:
Gus wrote:
Be careful Kevin, you might sound like Srinivasa Ramanujan
I'm honoured by the comparison - unless of course he's just another equation! :lol:

What makes you think he was talking about you?

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:29 pm 
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Tony Fisher wrote:
KelvinS wrote:
Gus wrote:
Be careful Kevin, you might sound like Srinivasa Ramanujan
I'm honoured by the comparison - unless of course he's just another equation! :lol:

What makes you think he was talking about you?

My dodgy eyesight, which can no longer read the tiny letters on my phone. :(

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:41 pm 
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wwwmwww wrote:
cubeguy314 wrote:
Along with that, if physicists can harness the particle's ability to create mass, they could make gold from absolutely nothing!

The Higgs boson doesn't create gold, gold atoms, or even the particles which make up gold atoms. It gives the particles that make up the gold atom's their mass. I can give my cat a name... doesn't mean I can create a cat from nothing.

A title and matter itself are two completely different things and I don't think the analogy you used is the best, for it contradicts what you are saying... Doesn't what you just said about how the Boson particles "gives the particles that make up the gold atom's their mass" mean that the Boson particle "gives" gold particles its matter (anything with mass and takes up space is matter), and the particles make up the gold element's atom, which makes up the gold solid. (Create particle--create atom--create solid/substance) If we were to put your analogy to this situation, it would mean "I can give the gold atom its name/shape/title/outline... doesn't mean I can create it from nothing."

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 Post subject: Re: "Higgs boson discovery [not quite] confirmed"
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:31 am 
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cubeguy314 wrote:
A title and matter itself are two completely different things and I don't think the analogy you used is the best, for it contradicts what you are saying...
Yes a title and matter are two completely different things. On that we agree. But mass and matter are two completely different things as well. Mass is a property that matter can have... just as it can have a title, a spin, a charge, etc. You are getting stuck on the verbs give and create... they don't mean the same thing.
cubeguy314 wrote:
Doesn't what you just said about how the Boson particles "gives the particles that make up the gold atom's their mass" mean that the Boson particle "gives" gold particles its matter.
Again give mass and gives matter are two different things. In fact I believe bmenrigh is correct above in that most of the mass that gold has isn't even due to the Higgs field at all. If comes from the gluon field that holds the quarks together inside the protons and neutrons. The weight of the electrons and the quarks that is due to the Higgs field is probably almost insignificant. Though I'm unaware of any way to calculate the actual mass of a quark or any experiment which may be able to measure it.

Can I come up with a better analogy... yes. How about this one? The gravitational field of the Earth gives you weight. Did the gravitational field of the Earth create you? If you remove yourself from the gravitional field of the Earth you lose the property known as weight and become weightless. But you still exist don't you? If you could remove a gold bar from the Higgs field I'd argue that the electrons and quarks that make up that bar still exist... they've just lost the propery known as their mass. Would the gluon fields still hold it together in a form that appeared to be a gold bar? I have no idea and I don't think that is a test anyone will be doing any time soon.

Carl

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