"....The truth is out there."
-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."
-- Arthur Schopenhauer
Monday, December 12, 2011
-- Can the Ivory-bill Be Far Behind? ;-) --
As one website says, "By all indications, Tuesday is going to be a big day." ...For physics that is, not ornithology. Tomorrow, according to well-circulated rumors, CERN will claim evidence that the elusive Higgs boson has been found.
In honor of that likely pronouncement, I repeat below (only slightly modified) a post I did earlier this year:
The analogy to 'Schrodinger's cat' has been made repeatedly in the case of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Another, more-current analogy one might make though is to the Higgs boson. I'm not competent to describe the technicalities of the Higgs, but simply put, years and years of tangential evidence has indicated its likely existence, yet no proof of it has been forthcoming -- one of the major goals of the much-publicized Large Hadron Collider is to establish the presence of this elementary particle (known popularly as "the God particle"... hmmm, echoes of "the Lord God Bird"). Both the LHC and its rival, the Tevatron collider in the US, have recently found rumored evidence (still being analyzed) for the Higgs, after decades of theorizing and failed searches. Hints, glimpses, findings, calculations, debates... but still awaiting proof (sound familiar?).
I'll confess my bias: Schrodinger's cat is mostly an abstract thought exercise... I suppose I prefer an analogy to the Higgs, because so many of those in the know feel sure it is really there, and just a matter of time before that is patiently demonstrated... may it still be so for the Ivory-bill... not Schrodinger's Woodpecker, but Higgs.
Of course, any announcement from CERN will have no real bearing on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Still… one may hope.
Apologies to any who are bored with all the Higgs hoopla, but a quick update:
Higgs rumors had been circulating for weeks on popular science sites with the hype feeding on itself in increasing anticipation of today's announcement. And while some do find today's news release quite persuasive, the bottom-line is more cautious, continuing to take a wait-and-see approach (for something more definitive)… in a sense, physicists have heard some double-knocks and kent sounds and had a brief glance of a putative Higgs, but nothing that can be called "proof." They're now predicting 2012 as the year that final confirmation may come --- uhhh, how 'bout we make that a twofer!