November 13, 2013
Hawking: Higgs Boson Discovery Made Physics Less Interesting
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
While many scientists hail the discovery of the Higgs boson as one of the preeminent finds of our time, one of the top thinkers of our era said that he was disappointed by the Nobel Prize-winning research – and admitted that he lost a $100 bet as a result of it.
The man behind those comments is none other than theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and best-selling author Stephen Hawking, who according to Guardian Science Correspondent Alok Jha said that physics would have been “far more interesting” had researchers been unable to find the so-called God particle.
The Higgs boson was discovered by European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientists using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the highest-energy particle collider ever built. The theory behind the particle is that it gives mass to other particles, and its existence was proven last year by CERN researchers working at an underground laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland.
“Physics would be far more interesting if it had not been found,” Hawking said during an event celebrating the launch of a new LHC exhibit at the London Science Museum. Had it not been discovered, he said, it would have forced scientists to continue searching for a different, perhaps more “exotic” solution to the mass problem, the University of Cambridge explained in a statement.
The Higgs boson, explains Victoria Woollaston of the Daily Mail, is believed to be the “missing piece” of the Standard Model, which explains how parts of the known universe interact with each other. Without it, particles would be unable to bind together to form atoms, and thus the building blocks of living creatures, planets, stars and just about everything else would never have been formed.
Hawking went on to share how CERN’s discovery cost him on a more personal level.
“A few weeks ago, Peter Higgs and François Englert shared the Nobel Prize for their work on the boson and they richly deserved it. Congratulations to them both,” he explained. “But the discovery of the new particle came at a personal cost. I had a bet with Gordon Kane of Michigan University that the Higgs particle wouldn't be found. The Nobel Prize cost me $100.”
Hawking also said that he hoped that the Collider would eventually prove M-theory, which suggests that multiple different universes exist, and that each one was created out of nothingness.
“These multiple universes can arise naturally from physical law,” he said, according to Woollaston. “Each universe has many possible histories and many possible states. Most of these states will be quite unlike the universe we observe, and quite unsuitable for the existence of any form of life.”
“Only a very few would allow creatures like us to exist. Our presence selects out from the vast array only those universes that are compatible with our existence. This makes us, in a sense, lords of creation,” he added.