1437: Higgs Boson

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Higgs Boson
'Can't you just use the LHC you already built to find it again?' 'We MAY have disassembled it to build a death ray.' 'Just one, though.' 'Nothing you should worry about.' 'The death isn't even very serious.'
Title text: 'Can't you just use the LHC you already built to find it again?' 'We MAY have disassembled it to build a death ray.' 'Just one, though.' 'Nothing you should worry about.' 'The death isn't even very serious.'
Candidate Higgs boson events from collisions between protons in the LHC. (from Wikimedia Commons)

[edit] Explanation

Cueball and Ponytail are applying for a large amount of grant money to find the Higgs boson. Under scrutiny, they have been forced to admit that they have "lost" the particle which had been previously "found". This is a humorous play on the term "finding" when applied to fundamental particles. The common usage means to discover or observe the existence of a class of particles, rather than to know the current location of an individual particle.

The Higgs boson is an elementary particle that is predicted by a physical model of the universe (the 'Standard Model'). Observing evidence that Higgs bosons really exist is a key test of this model: if a search for the Higgs boson had failed to find evidence confirming its existence then the Standard Model would have been shown to be an incorrect description of reality. Finding the Higgs boson was one of the main reasons why the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was built: to create energies high enough for the Higgs boson to become manifest. The point is, once evidence for its existence has been observed it is not possible to 'lose' the Higgs boson in a way implied by Cueball and Ponytail.

In the title text, the off-screen questioner wonders why Cueball and Ponytail can't use the LHC to find the particle again. The implication is that this would avoid spending another $3 billion. Their responses imply that the pair have already dismantled the LHC and converted its components into a death ray (a particle-beam weapon to be exact). The ostensibly reassuring platitudes offered mimic those used to placate those who were worried about possible apocalyptic consequences of commissioning the LHC, for instance the creation of black holes, strange matter, a vacuum bubble or proton-eating magnetic monopoles.

The comment that "The death isn't even very serious" in the title text may be a reference to a Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot." Robopsychologist Dr. Susan Calvin tells supercomputer The Brain not to worry about death, that it wasn't a "big deal," when the robot is working on an equation relating to hyper drive. The Brain was unable to deliver the solution, since anyone using the hyperdrive would be briefly "dead" (no longer exist), before arriving safe and sound.

[edit] Transcript

Voice Offscreen: Tell us about your proposal.
Ponytail: We're requesting $3 billion in funding to find the Higgs boson.

Voice Offscreen: ...wait. Didn't you already find it a year or two ago?
Cueball: Yes, well, um.

Ponytail: ...OK, this is embarrassing.
Cueball: See, the thing is —

Voice Offscreen: Don't tell us you lost it already.
Ponytail: Look.
Ponytail: In our defense, it's really small.

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Discussion

They can lose the DATA about Higgs Boson. To help prevent such possibility, I would like to mention that the found Higgs Boson energy is between 125 and 126 GeV/c^2 Hkmaly (talk) 12:18, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

It may be nitpicking because of the 'equivalancy of mass and energy', but isn't the term GeV/c2 usually used to describe a particle's mass while GeV is used to describe its energy?--Dangerkeith3000 (talk) 15:29, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, felt it better to change "play 'hide and seek' with" to "know the current location of", because it read too as too anthropomorphic for the tone of the explanation. Like I don't play hide-and-seek with my house-keys, when they're temporarily unlocated. (Unless the world is weirder than I'm aware of, and the voices in my head are right after all!) Apologies if the hyperbole was the intent, and feel free to revert. 141.101.98.247 14:53, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

The 4th paragraph begins with "Meagan's mention that "The death isn't even very serious"...". Shouldn't it be Ponytail, not Meagan? --108.162.216.111 16:28, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Or Cueball. Changing to "The comment..." 173.245.54.195 17:36, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
Though of course this is a comic and not an actual transcript of a news conference or proceedings determining actual grant money, is there something significant missing or unanswered about the Higgs Boson that would require significantly more money (for e.g. a BIGGER COLLIDER!!!!!!!!)? Or is this rather a play at the "Find/Found" difference, and Randall just used the Higgs to make the point? I believe last I heard they found something that must be it, but I suppose further study was required to confirm it (or something)... Brettpeirce (talk) 20:37, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
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