July 4th, 2012 at 12:10 PM ^

Exploratory science is typically not done because it is high risk and very difficult to get funded.  With the massive lack of funding that keeps getting worse why would someone give you money to do something if you don't know what you expect to see?  How can they be convinced that you are doing anything worthwhile?

You run an experiment because other observations have been made either through experimentation or theory (as is the case here) that allow you to predict what may happen, which is your hypothesis.  Hypothesizing on something that doesn't exist is possible, but then they can't know what parameters they need to control.  Without this control, they would have no way to analyze their trillions and trillions of data points.  It is difficult, if not impossible for someone to look at that amount of data and come to any new conclusions.  However, if you have a preconceived notion of what you expect, then you can see if that's true or not by developing ways to test that idea.  

While most great scientific breakthroughs were accidental discoveries while they were testing for somethign else, this doesn't mean we can just not run experiments willy nilly.  It is necessary to have a preconceived idea of what will happen so that we can control the environment sufficiently to test for something.  


July 4th, 2012 at 4:14 PM ^

If you're a researcher you can't just go out and observe things and have people give you money for it though, you have to be working toward some goal, or have something in mind that you wish to accomplish.

No one is handing out checks and saying, "Here scientist! Go do science!"


July 4th, 2012 at 12:23 PM ^

"I'll enjoy reading about how shocked they are to find out that things don't work how they thought and be frustrated that they didn't figure it out more quickly because they were so intent on proving things they didn't know."

This seems like a cynical view of how science works in general to me.

You know, some of the most brilliant discoveries have occurred because we find out that things don't work as people thought they did, but that's why you engage in research like this, yes? To test a hypothesis, and if what you find is that something else is the case, then that's fine too.

 Indeed, there is even a "Brilliant Mistakes" award that is given by the Wharton Business School, I believe, who have made innovative discoveries that were the complete opposite of the expected results of their experiments. It is knowledge all the same.

As for the second half of this statement, I imagine that they are frustrated that a Large Hadron Collider was not available to Peter Higgs back in the 1960s when he first spelled out his theory. Come to think of it, the slouch at Bell Labs that didn't come up with the first rudimentary transistor before 1947 should be posthumously canned perhaps. I personally blame Galileo for not utilizing the Hubble Space Telescope better actually. The whole point is that discovery builds on discovery, and advancements in technology are part of that, so I am pretty sure they are excited about this, not frustrated at all.


July 4th, 2012 at 4:09 PM ^

This doesn't make any sense.  "Science" cannot be "infallible" because it isn't a succeed-or-fail concept.  It's like asking "Are toenails taken on faith to be infallible?"  Its a nonsense noise, which history dos not "bare" well.

The scientific method is just that - a method.  It has proven over time to be succcessful at directing research so that it is more accurate and efficient.  I'm not sure what alternative you are proposing, because all you have been doing is casting stones at strawmen. 

Care to enlighten us as to the alternative you propose?  Make sure you do some homework on the scientific method (which I don't feel very confident that you even understand) before responding.


July 4th, 2012 at 4:11 PM ^

Nothing in science is infallible. It is just assumed to be the best explaination until something better comes along. 

If someone were able to come up with a better scientific method, people would adapt and begin using it.

This is of course, aside from the fact that scientific discovery rarely ever follows a linear progression. It's often a very messy process.

WM Wolverine

July 4th, 2012 at 1:59 PM ^

Science has seen that our physical universe began at a specific point in time.

Science has proven that all matter is composed of energy.     (e=mc2)

Their explanation....................................a big explosion?????

If we piled the materials making up the stadium together and exploded it, what would the scientific method tell us?


His Dudeness

July 4th, 2012 at 10:13 AM ^

It is really the "God Damned" particle as it has NOTHING TO DO WITH "GOD." I hope this doesn't turn into something like "One nation under God" someday as the writers truly had another meaning in mind. Ugh...


July 4th, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

I Judy hope they find something worth while.. Like the cure for AIDS or Cancer..i'm not sure what a "god particle" is.. Just the name alone irks me as a religious person


July 4th, 2012 at 2:10 PM ^

Hawking had a bet against Professor Kane from Michigan and he lost $100

In an interview today, Hawking referred to Michigan as Michigan University :(

"For this reason I had a bet with Gordon Kane of Michigan University that the Higgs particle wouldn't be found. It seems I have just lost $100."

French West Indian

July 4th, 2012 at 2:51 PM ^

Why would the discovery of a God particle be exciting for science?  Wouldn't proof of the existence of God mean the science is invalid and that the universe really is 7 days old and that all of religious Bible thumpers are correct?  That would hardly seem like a good thing for science.

Frito Bandito

July 4th, 2012 at 5:44 PM ^

This is blasphemous.  My monotheistic ways have proven  " scientists " wrong time and time again. You're all lucky my God is merciful.  Dinosaurs, Atoms, hybrid cars.... That's just the devil trying to trick you.


Now go out and buy an American made SUV or Truck and take your family acrossed America. Be sure to stop and enjoy the things that make America and Jesus great.


July 5th, 2012 at 11:35 AM ^

I just wanted to add a couple things. I didn't really read everything throughly, but I thought I'd chime in from CERN.  I'm a grad student over here.

The Higgs mechanism and particle have been predicted in one way or another for ~40 years, so this is huge.  It's not often you have these timescales, several experiments, and the (not 100% yet) correct answer.  We're not quite ready to say it's the Higgs boson as predicted because, although we know something similar is there, we have to measure the properties to see how they line up with a couple different models (e.g. Standard Model or Super Symmetry).

The mechanism gives us a way to give fundamental particles mass, e.g. quarks, electrons, W bosons, but not the photon!  It's a common misconception that it gives mass to everything.  This is wrong and easily seen in the case of a proton, where the quarks make up 1% of its mass.  The rest comes from binding energy

Michigan played a role!  There are factulty and students working in Ann Arbor and at CERN on the Higgs search.  Even more, some of the tubes for the muon detector in ATLAS were built at Michigan.  

Go Blue