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How does the discovery of the Higgs boson affect our real life?

Some times people in general have the feeling that the cutting-edge science does not affect the real life. I mean, how does the housewife or the cab driver are affected by researches as Higgs boson or strings theory? What is the real impact on the price of food, the school taxes or this kind of real thing and ordinary?

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    Nov 20 2013: Our "real life" isn't just about food, clothing and housing. We aren't really living if we aren't exploring new ideas, using our curiosity and imagination. The idea that a particle with no mass is responsible for creating the mass of other particles is fascinating. It needs no other reason, just making me happy is enough.
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    Nov 24 2013: Pedro,
    On July 12th 2012 the folks at the Large Hydron Collider (CERN) announced that they almost definitely found hard evidence of the Higgs Boson predicted by the Standard Model. The importance is that the Higgs field gives particles mass, it slows them down enough so they can interact with each other allowing the formation of elements, of chemistry, of life (very practical) Understanding what gives anything this most fundamental of properties is obviously needed to develop a complete understanding of the Universe. All well & good but -Where is my Higgs Jet pack?
    Well check this out: Think of the Maxwell's equations of 1873(Gauss Law, Gauss Law for Magnetism,Faraday's Law, Ampere-Maxwell Law) +99 years later Tada!!-->> TV from the Moon.
    It is way to early to quantify the effects in the everyday world of this and other areas of Theoretical Physics research. Lets ask this question in +99 years or so.(social implications as well)
    How will mankind use the Higgs field? well I imagine that Faraday & Maxwell , would be delightfully surprised, in the 19th century it would have taken a hyperactive imagination like J Verne to even fathom of what we are capable of nowadays. Only time will tell-it always has-

    "The microwave oven is the consolation prize in our struggle to understand physics." ~Jason Love

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      Nov 24 2013: Great and very helpful answer. My two cents is that the practical utility of this knowledge to a housewife will be there in less than 3 decades. Technology advances exponentially.
  • Nov 19 2013: Science is art. It is art that sometimes can be used for engineering stuff, sometimes it's just art. The art of getting to know. We are human beings, we like knowing, at least we do when we are children, always driven by curiosity. Open that drawer, find those tons of stuff, play, investigate, know! That's what we are. That's why it's important to learn about how the universe works, how it started, whether we are apes, or plants, or bacteria. How does the Higgs boson affect our real life? It makes it much richer. It makes it even more worth living. We could not be without a Picasso. We could not be without a Higgs boson.
  • Nov 18 2013: In the short term, no practical effect what so ever. In the long term, who knows?

    Let me put it this way. Some 100 years ago, scientists were messing about with this thing called the theory of relativity. No one knew what it was good for, even the scientists themselves. Even once it was proven, they had to give Einstein his Nobel for his work on photo electrics as opposed to his far more important work on relativity, because there is requirement it have practical application.
    Then someone came along and managed to split the atom, and suddenly the theory of relativity became something very practical indeed. Understanding it meant your scientists and engineers could construct reactors and even bombs of unprecedented power.

    Same thing happened with the electron. For a long time, electricity was this thing scientists played around with that everyone thought was only good for party tricks.
    • Nov 19 2013: Don't forget that GPS have to adjust for relativity effects before they can accurately map where we are in the planet.
      • Nov 19 2013: Yeah, but that came about some thirty, forty years later. First practical use of relativity (unless you consider better astronomical measurements practical) is nuclear technology.
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    Nov 27 2013: Having this knowledge makes us grasp just how fascinating our life is.

    Our life is a journey of wonder. Happiness is in exploration of our universe. Happiness is in the journey towards discovery. And happiness is in arrival at understanding. Happiness is in celebrating all of this with each other. Joy is in our being here together. Joy is knowing that " a particle with no mass is responsible for creating the mass of other particles." Living in this era when the Higg's Boson was discovered is another part of the thrill. When one of us makes a discovery, we all make a discovery. Its like that first step on the moon, Its "for all mankind".The joy of our "real life" is in sharing this life.

    I am happy you asked such a beautiful question :) It makes me want to tip my taxi driver and bring flowers to a house wife.
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    Nov 26 2013: There will be no direct and immediate impact on anybody because the Higg's Boson was found.
    It's a bit like asking what influence had Newton's discovery of gravity. At that time not much, but today it enable us to shoot satellites into space and maintain them in stable orbits.
    Many of the important discoveries in history had no immediate impact but the lay the foundation for our technological progress.
    That's why it is so important to keep searching and researching in order to build the best possible understanding of nature.
    Sometimes people think that sending probes to other planets or into space or building the LHC is a waste of money, but it isn't. It's an investment into our future.
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    Nov 21 2013: Most cab drivers use GPS these days. GPS would not work without Einstein's general relativity theory. People also need a few satellites up in the sky to make GPS work. It does take what they call "rocket science" to do that. At the time when these things were developed, perhaps, it was unclear what practical applications they will have. What practical applications will they find for Higgs bosons? Hard to say now. But, I think, it's quite important to know that our understanding of how the universe fundamentally works is correct.
  • Dec 3 2013: The higher capacity to think and the curiosity to discover universal facts is what differentiate us from other animals. Even higgs boson discovery not having an immediate ''concrete'' effect on most people lifes, it puts us closer to have a better and complete understading of how the universe works.

    Knowledge is an end in itself, if society as a whole valued more curiosity, intellectual power and knowledge; instead of rejecting it and labeling it as ''nerdy'' or ''geeky'', you probably wouldnt ask this question.
  • Nov 27 2013: Wow. I understood that this was a site for logical debate. Is it actually permissible not to share your point of view? Not really worth going into why you think I am these things. I have a point of view, and I am not intimidated by those who seek to quash debate. I use technology and medicine too. Why would anyone think otherwise? I am not sure who Eywa is. I would have to see some proof of the existence of Eywa, but I would be up for believing in it/him/her. As long as the proof didn't consist of asserting that Eywa was infinitely large, but grew in an infinitely short time from something infinitely small. That would just be silly.
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      Nov 27 2013: Peter, there are contributors here who would rather get angry at people who disagree with them, than try to understand their point of view. And as you probably know, anger reveals inflexibility and an inability to be persuaded by alternative sides in a debate.

      I too tire of the "This is how it is - there is no alternative" kind of argument.

      There are very many others who are listening intently to what you and others are saying, and may contribute to the debate at some stage.

      Just to let you know...
      • Nov 27 2013: Thanks for that Allan, I am just feeling my feet here. I am not particularly a devil's advocate kind of person, but I am looking for lively(and open) debate.
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      Nov 27 2013: Peter, please feel free to debate vigorously. Some participants here express their views and ask their questions in strong terms and others more gently.

      The other matter I am sure you have noticed in online exchanges is that it is easy to misunderstand other people's meaning. I interpreted your saying that science has a language of its own to mean only that the layperson is typically ill-equipped to follow discussions when scientists use the language of their discipline. For example, most people cannot follow complicated mathematical expositions, but it would be highly inefficient for particle physicists not to use mathematics in their communications with collaborators.

      I don't hear you suggesting that scientists use their mathematics as any sort of strategy to make their work inaccessible to the lay public.

      Some people may "sound" angry who are not angry at all.
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      Nov 27 2013: please note that i discussed your views in two paragraphs, and you did not even attempt to address those. i added one sentence expressing my negative views on your anti-scientific sentiments, and you play offended since. how does that qualify as a "logical debate"? where are your counterarguments to mine?
      • Nov 27 2013: The first paragraph said something about wizards. Not anything I recognised from my part of the debate. The second rather depended on me having asserted the first. I accept the part about the good intentions of scientists. No need to elaborate on the difference between intentions and results. You would have to know me better to know if I was arrogant, and I accept my ignorance in most matters. The Physicist Arthur Eddington, When told he was only one of three people to understand the law of relativity, asked "who's the other one?" There was a man who understood the preponderance of ignorance.
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    Gord G

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    Nov 25 2013: Their findings strongly indicate it's a Higgs boson, but there are still inconsistencies to resolve such as the Mu problem. But science operates under the assumption all human knowledge is fallible and therefore uncertain (Which I think suggests spirituality and science can co-exist).

    In terms of how the findings will affect our day to day life…I think it'll take a number of years before potential applications have a significant impact.

    Take silicon for example…

    Silica was first thought to be a possible oxide of a fundamental chemical element in 1787. Silicon wasn't given its present name until 1817. And I'm reasonably certain no one at that time could've predicted the impact the element would have on all areas of civilization (the ability to pose your question to a global community is one small example).
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      Nov 27 2013: "Science never proves anything..."
      But it does prove something, But only within that moment the proof is being offered. Because the moment changes into another moment, this proof turns into an explanation for the next thing to come. So yes, I do agree with your statement. I like what you say.

      Science is the ability to produce solutions in some problem domain. There is an energy associated with solving problems in which our thoughts move information through a process to lead our actions to discovery. In other words, science is energy. Relative to our thoughts, this energy constantly changes. In reference to the Higgs Boson, in essence, its scientific principles offer us information in reference to particles and mass. These principles become maps to relative energy movement.

      People are entities of energy that constantly move and change, including our thoughts, feelings, actions, and spirit. We can use the principles of relativity and particle physics to offer a means for people to get their "act" together and apply these principles of science as a highway of movement where people (as human energy) can learn to drive through this change.
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      Nov 27 2013: Dear Jason,
      It is somewhat strange that your views are very similar to mine. So much so that at times, it feels like you are quoting me :) Ones who are following me for long will agree with me.
      I once argued that science never proves anything and it led to a hot debate. However, now I think that science never proves anything as fundamentally true for all time. It simply cannot because then it will contradict its own principle of falsifiability.
  • Nov 25 2013: Ahhh the sweet sound of the hidebound...If you keep calling things you disagree with "twaddle" you are sticking comfortably with the majority. There was a time when virtually every person on Earth thought it was flat. "Twaddle" was what was spoken by the round earthers. If I am certainly wrong, then you must be certain that the Higgs Boson exists...I thought it was a theory? By the way I have no interest in proving the existence of any God
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      Nov 25 2013: "There was a time when virtually every person on Earth thought it was flat. "

      when was that time? and if you would be so kind to give some references too.
      • Nov 25 2013: Please do not contend that the flat Earth comment is a thing I invented. There are countless references to that belief. You can find them yourself quite easily. There was thought to be a 95% certainty that the Higgs Boson had been proven when the discovery was first announced. Room for doubt then? Obviously not in your version of reality.
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          Nov 25 2013: no it is not your invention, it is a common misconception. actually the knowledge that the earth is round is so old, it predates written history. in ancient greece, they took it for granted, it was not news at all. in ancient egypt too. columbus was rejected by the scholars exactly because they knew the circumference of the earth to great precision, and they knew that it was impossible with the technology of the time to cover the distance. and they were correct.

          so far you contributed two false statements to the debate. care to give us some more?
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          Nov 25 2013: are you the kind of guy that believes that wikipedia is not to be trusted? because i'm not going to dig up any other resources. the catholic church believed in the world model of ptolemy, which is a spherical earth, geocentric system. sailing by the shores is easy, you can stop at any time, get fresh water and food. sailing more than 7 months on open sea was not something they could pull off at that time easily. columbus was very lucky to find an unknown land, or else they would all die. any more myths to perpetuate? i recommend advocating that different parts of the tongue sensitive to different tastes. or that there are five tastes. or that there are five (or six) senses. go ahead, you have plenty to choose from.
        • Nov 27 2013: I must concede the point that not virtually everybody in the world thought it was flat. I am new to on line discussion, and realise that generalisations lead to misunderstandings. I read the same references as you did only after I had made the assertion. You are right to correct me. Thank you for not taking the opportunity to belittle me.
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  • Nov 25 2013: Am I the only person in the world who sees that scientists looking hard enough, and spending enough money will invariably find the thing they are looking for. I sometimes thing that the Higgs Boson only came into existence because there was such a lot riding on it. Have we actually conjured this particle out of thin air? I am not saying ( I don't think) that it is not real, only that it sometimes sees like the obverse side of quantum mechanics. We are not just changing the thing we observe, we are causing it to exist.
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      Nov 25 2013: scientists looked hard for the phlogiston, did not find. scientists looked for the essence that separates inorganic materials from organic materials, to find that they can be transformed into each other, there is no boundary. scientists looked for the luminiferous aether, to no avail. they have found the weirdest truth instead, that time and space are intertwined and relative to the observer.

      whether you are alone with your views, i don't know. but you are certainly wrong.
      • Nov 25 2013: He's not alone. His view actually represents the most common view of science held in the USA, that it's all some kind of scam designed to perpetuate and maintain "the scientific establishment" in its war against God. I am not making this up. A large number of Americans actually believe such twaddle.
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      Nov 27 2013: Actually speaking as a physics teacher I was disappointed that the Higg's boson was indicated to exist by both experiments. It was the missing link in the standard model. Had the experiments failed we would have needed to rethink the whole thing, which would have been much more fun for physicists.
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      Nov 27 2013: You are hunting dear in a forest that's expected to be home to dear. You look and look and look and find nothing. You invent new strategies how to search for this elusive animal, Probably you put a stronger scope on your rifle or something like that. After long and sophisticated efforts you finally discover this elusive dear.
      Does that mean the dear came only into existence because you were looking for it ?
      The Higgs Boson wasn't something scientists just invented out of thin air. It was a particle that was predicted based on scientific calculations. Therefore looking for it very hard made sense. It could have been that the Higgs Boson didn't exist at all which would have meant that the calculations were wrong. Although scientists certainly wouldn't be happy with such a situation they would accept it and move back to the drawing board. Science is full of trials and errors. That's part of the game.
  • Nov 25 2013: It will be an excuse to transfer more research dollars to physicists at the expense of other branches of the sciences to the detriment of science.
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    Nov 24 2013: I have to agree that there is sense of accomplishment among theoretical physicists, it proves the standard as it all comes together. Further, I believe that the potential for some new (in my mind... unimaginable) technology the will change society in ways I can not conceive.

    But,.... people.

    When Pacific Islanders saw aircraft for the first time, they thought the planes were Gods. In a few generations, their children grouse about long lines at the airports, just like on the mainland.
    A few years ago as a substitute teacher at a middle school, I started the class by flipping the light switch on and off. Finally one of the students asked what I was doing. I asked the class if they knew where electricity came from, how it could be made and what it means. You can guess the response. They didn't know, didn't care except when they flipped the switch, the lights came on and that was what it was all about.

    My young grandson spoke with the wisdom of all mankind when I asked if he knew what happened before he was born. He thought for a second and said " I don't know, everything was black."
    Some scientists where very excited when the microwave oven was invented. Me, I could have cared less until I found out it could make popcorn
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    Nov 21 2013: Many of the great discoveries took place just because certain minds were purely curious and not merely utilitarian. Most of the mankind thinks only in the terms of "Here & Now". Luckily enough, there are at least some minds who are not bounded within the "Here & Now". Those minds make the major breakthroughs of the human thought, which much later are utilized for the majority's "Here & Now".
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    Nov 21 2013: Housewives would not have been there if human beings would not have learned to make houses.

    Cab drivers would not have been there if a wheel was not invents and we would not have developed the technology to make cabs.

    We can always criticize science and technology but the fact remains same that there is no life if we do not move forward in those areas and every area.
  • Nov 20 2013: It's just a small step towards new cutting edge technology. Gotta think big when it comes to quantum physics. Somewhere on this planet, there's a brilliant scientist on the verge of making a breakthrough in physics and world technology, but he's missing a piece. That piece is knowledge about the possible applications of the Higgs Boson's properties.
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    Nov 19 2013: A similar question is often asked about formula 1 racing. What's the point of spending millions of dollars building cars that can only be driven by a very small minority, and travel at speeds that would be dangerous in the real world. But then you write a list of standard features of normal road cars tha originated in motor racing and it starts to make more sense. Electronic fuel injection, high pressure turbo charging, ABS brakes, traction control, aerodynamics, seat belts, radial tyres, etc.
  • Nov 18 2013: Who can say what will happen in 100 years or more? Maybe it will never affect the average person or have such a dramatic impact, it will be impossible to describe today. Look at Vannevar Bush's article published in 1945. It is still affecting innovation today.
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    Nov 18 2013: In the short run, it probably won't do much to affect our lives, unless you happen to be a theoretical physicist. However, in the long run, there may one day be technology which is designed based on our new found knowledge of the Higgs boson. Given that the Higgs field is what gives mass, manipulation of that field could have some very useful applications. Of course, as one talk pointed out, the Higgs field is also perched precariously between phases, so perhaps messing with it would be ill advised.
  • Dec 3 2013: The reality of the Higgs boson is like finding bigfoot.
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    Nov 30 2013: Inventions from the beginning of the 20th century to this very day have been mass-produced by the excited industrialists. Trains, electricity, automobiles, architecture etc., were quickly and drastically changing European lifestyle and mentality. The very awareness of what we are about to face today, in terms of our own life, psychology, and our environment has been practically equal to nonexistence.

    While the majority of masses is tremendously excited to play with new technological toys, jets, computers, cellphones etc, we are still unaware of what we are doing, and where we are heading in reality!! Yes, mass-production of "things" that we use everyday but do not understand their nature, is a common problem. A great pioneer of our postmodern physics, Werner Heisenberg, has been warning us about this global problem - what one might discover in the lab shall stay in the lab, because we have no clue, especially those brainless mass-producers, about how this might effect us. We eventually can think in this direction but unfortunately, only afterwards. Great question, Pedro.
  • Nov 29 2013: For one thing it gives me hope. Dr. Higgs wrote papers describing the boson and field in 1964 almost 50 years before his time but had to wait until July 4 2012 for the proof of his theory. During that time he was ignored, rediculed and laughed at by even some of his fellow colleagues. He persisted and never give up because he knew he was right and everybody else, no matter how adamant they were, no matter how many there were, no matter how many degrees or awards they had, no matter how long they had studied, they were wrong.
    Einstein went through the same experience with his theory of special relativity which he published in 1905. He was laughed at and rejected until 1915 when his theory was proved with photography during an eclipes of the sun and then had to wait until 1921 to be recoqnized with the nobel prize for Physics.
    My own biggest contribution to humanity came in 1967 not in what I did but in what I did not do. I fiquered out how to sort data without moving it. Since most data is useless until it is sorted, my advancement would have sped up any application by a huge factor and I knew it, I also knew if I sold it or licensed it I would never had to worry about money again, ever. I told noone.
    Why? If you will think back to 1967 the cold war was in full bloom, nuclear bombs and missiles were being put everywhere, industry was destroying everything in site, the Veitnam war was raging, LBJ (who I think had JFK & RFK assasinated was running the country like his own private hell only to be outdone later by Nixon and then George W Craziest of all).
    How could I justify to myself or my kids speeding up any of these processes? No way, I locked it away in my brain and kept it there for over forty years. It's like these people who knowingly develope viruses or weapons that could spread and kill everyone on the planet, how do they sleep at night?
    The point is these advancements have far reaching effects and it is good to think about them!
  • Nov 29 2013: First of all, the human nature is about the curiosity of everything whether it be practical in life or not. For example we sometimes would study or explore human imaginations by writing novels of imaginative beings or events. If we only study for things involved in life practice, then, I ,as one human, would feel bored or flat without any of the "exercise" for imagination or concept.
    Human should always explore the environment around us, whether they are useful for our everyday life or not. We explore the outer-space, as well as the "inner-space" such as sub-atomic particles. And as many comments here, you can never tell whether some new discoveries eventually could lead to some practical, and very important, usage. Since we are limited by our ability to see far enough in the vast universe, we are better equipped to explore inwards into the subatomic levels. The discovery of Higgs Boson, not only showed the missing link of all the space within the atom, but also showed what is filled in the outer-space too. We use high speed sub-atom particles collision to identify the Higgs Boson, and also explore the property of its interaction with other particles/energy. Since high speed collision occurs all the time in the vast universe, so this discovery, with further exploration, may help us to understand the phenomena in the out-space too.
    So, I believe that the cost of building the LHC is well worth it.
  • Nov 29 2013: we don't know yet of course, but there will certainly be many benefits which will come about from now on. people asked the same thing when the first bacteria were observed under a microscope - "ok so you've seen a tiny bug with your fancy machine (microscope), that doesn't affect me" - but since then we've improved medicine tremendously, improved cooking, general health (bacteria involved in digestion), improved farm yields, and hundreds of further follow-on advancements, and that's not even including the advancements made in the process of research, such as building the machines to do it.
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    Nov 29 2013: " There IS a precedent for the idea that you need to believe what you are told, unless you can prove another point of view. It's called faith"
    Faith is when you have to believe what you're told even when you can prove another point of view.
  • Nov 28 2013: Lots of points of view to consider. As far as not taking issue with something unless you can come up with a better idea. Well. Who amongst us is going to propose an alternative theory of everything, just in order that he can make a contrary comment? There IS a precedent for the idea that you need to believe what you are told, unless you can prove another point of view. It's called faith. This is what the church establishment relies on for it's very existence. Of course I don't know how the universe is formed. Of course I don't know how what came before what there is now. Of course I don't know if the universe is infinite. And when we are being told that, according to quantum physics, everything changes as soon as our back is turned, I suspect that nobody else does either. It's just that some of us are better at hard sums. To question the veracity of something is not to seek to belittle that thing's proponents. History is littered with disproven theories, formulated by brilliant men.
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      Nov 29 2013: You don't have to believe everything, as a matter of fact you don't have to believe anything at all.
      However, the moment you disagree with something you should have a reason for it.
      And if you have a reason for it, then you should be able to provide your alternative theory.
      For example:
      You say, you don't believe in the Big Bang.
      Cool, step 1) explain why you don't believe in it
      step 2) provide an alternative and explain this alternative. The more evidence you can provide to support your hypothesis the stronger it is.
      This is how science works. We didn't evolve as a species because somebody sitting on a couch said "no, I don't believe this theory". Our advances come from people who questioned common wisdom AND provided a better alternative.
  • Nov 27 2013: Thats where the great majority of the population are at a disadvantage. we aren't physics teachers. From the B ig Bang theory, to quarks and string, we watch the story unfolding with open mouths. The world that the scientists occupy has a language of it's own. It seems to be the equivalent of the mediaeval church scholars teaching the bible in Latin. I don't think many people outside the scientific community give any credence to any of it. No matter how long the equation "proving" that everything was once concentrated into an infinitely small space, it remains fundamentally unlikely.
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      Nov 27 2013: it is like the 3rd time you try to draw a parallel between an intentional attempt to make something unaccessible to people in order to maintain a caste of "wizards", and science being so difficult that you don't understand.

      the two things can not possibly be any more different. science is open, and a great attempt is made by many individuals to make it as accessible to people as it can be. the problem is the sheer amount of knowledge necessary, namely, busy years of learning the subject to even comprehend its tool set and problem set, so to be able to even discuss the sciences "at the border".

      if you don't see the difference, you are welcome to join a cult that refuses to use technology or medicine, and believes in eywa or something.
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      Nov 27 2013: "No matter how long the equation "proving" that everything was once concentrated into an infinitely small space, it remains fundamentally unlikely."

      What brings you to this conclusion ? Any evidence for your perspective that you could share with us ?
      Btw, I assume you are aware that scientific theories are not based on guesswork or the constellations of stars, right ?
      Scientists tend to explain and support their theories using what is called evidence.
      • Nov 27 2013: Most people tend to believe the evidence of their own eyes first, followed by a sound dose of common sense. The is not a scrap of real evidence for the Big Bang theory. It is a theory, the clue is in the name. I love the term "share with us" that instinctive circling of the wagons. We are all free to draw conclusions from what we see and experience. I have seen sunsets and waterfalls. I believe in them. I have not seen a big bang, and neither has anyone else. Nor will anyone ever see such a thing. The idea is based on reams of calculations, understood by only a few, this is my point of view. You have a different one. Thats what makes life interesting. Btw, associating natural scepticism with astrology is not intelligent debate.
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          Nov 27 2013: Well, there's lot of evidence for the big bang theory, you only have to read it.
          But then, evolution is a theory and relativity is a theory as well. Theory doesn't mean it's hearsay.
          You have not experienced the moon by yourself, does that mean you assume it's made of cheese ? Hopefully not.
          Skepticism is a good thing, however, you have to understand what you are skeptic about and why. Just ignoring evidence for the sake of ignoring it without having a better alternative is a bit silly I think.
          Example: you say the evidence supporting the big bang is bogus or doesn't exist. Ok, you are counter to the view the scientific community holds, which in itself isn't a sin. However, if you run against common wisdom be prepared to present, explain and support your views and not only discredit or belittle great scientific accomplishments.
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        Nov 27 2013: Some of the weirdest stuff in quantum mechanics makes "guesswork or the constellations of stars" look almost logical.

        QM tells us that consciousness plays a big part in the existence of particles - even whole objects.

        - Waveforms collapse down to particles when observed.

        - A waveform therefore exists only as a probability when NOT observed.

        - Particle/wave duality is a testable state.

        - A particle can exist in several places at once.

        - One particle can be related to another particle light years away, in superposition, and whose speed of communication is instantaneous, and therefore faster than that of light.

        Is Quantum Mechanics making a mockery of deterministic science?

        Given that consciousness now plays a huge part mainstream science, is the universe more thought than matter?

        And (tell it not in Gath), are we therefore nearly talking about God?
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          Nov 27 2013: Yes, all that and much more happens in the quantum world.

          Are we nearly talking god ? No we don't.
        • Nov 27 2013: Lovely, mind opening stuff. The idea that our search and subsequent observation of the Higgs Boson actually had an effect on it's existence was how I got into this debate. You lead me to want to learn more.
        • Nov 28 2013: Are we nearly talking about God? maybe we are.The "nearly" is a good touch. One can drown within reach of the river bank. You can think you are within touching distance of God without actually believing in the received version of God. I happen to think it not impossible that we are one of a series of infinite possible worlds. I find it quite easy, in a possible infinite universe to imagine the term 'distance' to be meaningless. It seems to me that there is only comparative distance, and of course no distance exists compared to infinity(aren't we coming closer to this idea with the evidence of particles, light years apart, mimicking each other's behaviour). Speed and motion are self evidently comparative. I am sure these thoughts are enshrined in existing theories. I don't seek to prove I am right about any of this. I'm always aware that, in all things I could be mistaken. I suppose if there was a God, then it might as well be the universe itself.
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      Nov 28 2013: Sometimes in science you have to ignore the fact that something seems fundament unlikely as the mounting evidence dictates. There are afterall monkeys in south America and tortoises on the Galapagos islands.
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        Nov 28 2013: case in point quantum mechanics which is counter to all we experience on a daily basis.
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    Nov 27 2013: Hover boards.;-)
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    Nov 26 2013: Simply put, everyone has their own interests. Most of the "real world" implications of the breakthroughs in science and technology are not mainstream. In other words, try talking about particle physics at a bar, in a taxicab, or at the checkout line at a grocery store, and see how quickly the conversation ends.

    This is not to say that there aren't individuals (outside of academia) who are interested in cutting-edge science and technology, nor am I intending to downplay these amazing breakthroughs. It's just that not everyone is going to be interested in such fields. However, sometimes one can be quite surprised by the interests of others. For example, I work in the management sector in the shipping industry, yet I love researching these breakthroughs in science and technology. I have even found that some of my co-workers love following similar topics (and these are individuals who typically load and/or drive trucks for a living).

    As for the "real world" impact that science and technology have on the mainstream, Louis CK did a great job of how we generally view these breakthroughs:
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      Nov 27 2013: It seems that Archimedes was the inventor of the screw. Back then, not many people cared about this discovery I suppose.
      However, today, imagine a world without screws ;-)
  • Nov 25 2013: I'd love to go and have a nose around:-)
  • Nov 25 2013: In my opinion, Boson Higgs is a smokescreen to brainwash the public to justify the money they spent building what they have underground for other more serious stuff that they are working. I'm sorry but i just find it hard to swallow that they spent all those millions to find 1 so called 'god' particle. I really don't accept it, the rest of the world might but I don't. It does not make sense:-)
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      Nov 25 2013: Hi, Carole. You are right that no one ever claimed that the singular purpose of the LHC was to determine if there was a Higgs boson. The hopes for the LHC in terms of understanding the universe and building a new physics "beyond the standard model" are much broader than that.

      Remember that the term "God particle" is only an editor's invention that stuck because it captures the popular imagination. Scientists by and large hate that popular culture label, because it is misleading.

      The author of the book where that phrase was coined wanted to call it something else.
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      Nov 27 2013: Carole, people might have thought like you when Newton was working on his understanding of gravity. What a waste of time and money !
      However, today understanding of gravity allows you to watch TV, use cell phones, etc because it allows us to shoot and keep satellites into a stable orbit.
      Humanity's curiosity is what made us progress from hunters and foragers to what we are today.
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      Nov 27 2013: actually this raises is an interesting point. the "god" particle of course is media hype, name included. what happened is: they burned many many millions of euros in that project, and they felt they need to make it more accessible to people, so as a misguided attempt, they chose the higgs boson the embassador of the facility.

      apparently backfired. now some people believe physicists play with a stupid particle that has a stupid name, instead of feeding children in africa.

      moral of the story: present your science as a cute little funny project, and people will think you have a cute little funny project they don't want to finance.
  • Nov 25 2013: maybe the real impact would be that we could invent some sort of everyday application/object or whatever that could be used by joe public to manipulate every day things and situations to suit our needs and therefore each and every one of us could really become some sort of god like creator that could take care of our every need.....just a suggestion other than that, I really don't see how it could be used in real life, all I know is that they better do something productive with it cos it cost more money to mention to create the tools to find it in the first place.l
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    Nov 24 2013: The effect will depend on the characteristics of the particle. If humans can invent ways to control or use it, then we will gain the Universe. At present, we are limited to the speed of light in our theories of space travel. Why? Because as speed increases to near the speed of light, mass increases exponentially. So at light speed it would take an infinite amount of thrust to increase speed further. If the Higgs boson allows us to control mass, then we can travel as fast as we wish. But just knowing about something is no guarantee that we can control it. We know that black holes exist. Has that knowledge changed our "real life?"
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    Nov 23 2013: In general, most people don't care and it won't really effect them.
    What I found disturbing or at least curious is that people who should care such as theoretical physicists who were
    disappointed by the confirmation of the Higgs Bosom. One prominent physicist stated that the fun was gone.
    I guess there truth in the axiom... it's the journey, not the destination.
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      Nov 27 2013: I believe the Higgs Bosom was eventually found very close to Peter Higgs' wife

  • Nov 21 2013: In 1907, how did the flight at Kitty Hawk affect "real life"? Next to no effect at all. What effect does aviation have now on "real life"? That being said, there are many other events that never ended up having a major effect on "real life". It is too soon to make a ruling either way.
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    Nov 18 2013: If I remember correctly the Steve Jobs talk we have on TED, he made a case that sometimes you learn something without recognizing how that will one day feed into a path-breaking body of work. In his case his fascination with and study of calligraphy proved instrumental in his invention of the Apple Computer, which in turn has made possible achievements (including some with impact on the real and ordinary) that one could not have predicted originally from his study of calligraphy. You might have asked him when he originally studied calligraphy what impact learning about calligraphy would ever have on real and ordinary things.

    One of the things about discoveries in basic science is that one cannot always know where they will lead. The technology and analytical tools developed for the Higgs search and for further investigation beyond the standard model have likely already had practical applications incidental to the purposes for which they were designed. The internet was originally created for science, I believe, and look now at its multitude of uses that have impact on the real and ordinary!