Nature Abhors the Higgs

October 15, 2009
  • Particle Physics
  • Physics

So, we've all read this delightfully wacky article on the LHC, courtesy of the NYT:

Higgs Article

If you haven't read it, take a peek. The times article discusses a few papers written by a somewhat well known physicist that describe our chances of creating a Higgs Boson at the LHC. Also, it has a reference to the Kurt Vonnegut novel "The Sirens of Titan," which is one of my favorite books.

Their argument is, more or less, that the universe may be very much against Higgs Boson production and will conspire to prevent them from being created. This hatred of the Higgs may lead to the LHC breaking down and being unable to function properly. So, the incident last year that set the LHC back a year is just an example of nature abhorring the Higgs.

You can read more in some of these papers:

Wacky Paper 1 Wacky Paper 2 Wacky Paper 3 Wacky Paper 4

Of those articles, the third one contains the most "physics." The rest are mostly silly assertions. Somehow, the author imagines that the physical action has an imaginary part, and that imaginary part only comes into play with the Higgs, and it is this imaginary part which suppresses Higgs production.

Okay, "out there" physics, but not necessarily wrong. Where the author loses me is his argument about pulling cards from a deck. Here's what he proposes to test if nature if fundamentally against the production of a Higgs:

We create a huge deck of cards and select one of the cards to represent "don't run the LHC." We then agree beforehand that, if we draw this card, we won't run the LHC. There is, of course, a very low chance of drawing this card. So, if we somehow do draw this card, it must only be because nature is against the Higgs and has conspired to make us draw the "no LHC" card to prevent future Higgs.

That part is pretty nutty. How is nature to believe us? Are we supposed to really, really promise that we won't run the LHC if we draw the card? What if we cross our fingers? Does nature count that?