Thursday, July 5, 2012

The first second

Yesterday was a giant day for human knowledge. Scientists working at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) in Geneva announced that the Higgs boson appears to be a reality. We are surely on the right path towards grasping (albeit fuzzily) what took place during the crucial early instants of the first second after the Big Bang. During those infinitesimal fractions of the primeval second, there must have been a tiny disturbance in ubiquitous symmetry that enabled Existence (with a capital E) to come into existence. And that moment of creation was associated with the advent of the Higgs boson.

The spirit of the hunt for this particle is well presented in the following 60-minute BBC program, produced about six months ago:

We can expect that great results will emerge soon from the LHC in the fundamental domain of supersymmetry.

Truly, I have had the privilege of living during an exciting period of human history. In 1953, when I was a 12-year-old kid starting science studies at Grafton High School, the structure of DNA was discovered by Francis Crick and James Watson. That was a fabulous moment in biology. Yesterday's announcement concerning the existence of the Higgs boson was an equally great moment in cosmology.

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