Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We're in the money

Stephen Hawking's $100 bet against it, that is, as he (and Werner Heisenberg and other famous physicists) turns out to have been wrong about the fundamental building block of the universe.  All thanks to several billions spent in Switzerland;

Yesterday, 48 years on, his [Peter Higgs of Edinburgh University] radical concept was finally proved correct by an international team of physicists at the Cern laboratory using a £6 billion piece of equipment designed to uncover the secrets of the Universe.
Announcing the latest results from the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, scientists from confirmed they had discovered a new particle bearing all the hallmarks of a Higgs Boson.
The Higgs Boson helps to explain how fundamental particles gain their mass - a property which allows them to bind together and form stars and planets rather than whizzing around the universe at the speed of light.
Not that Higgs was the only one to predict correctly;
Prof Gerry Guralnik, an American researcher who published a paper on the same subject with colleagues Tom Kibble and Dick Hagen within months of Higgs, recalled a galling encounter with Werner Heisenberg, the esteemed German physicist who gave his name to the famous “uncertainty principle” of quantum mechanics.
He said: “A lot of famous people told us that we were wrong. Heisenberg told me I did not understand the rules of physics, which is pretty scary if you are 26 and are worried about getting a job.” 

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