Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Trenches of Discovery: On its own, a Higgs discovery would be grim (II)

[...continued from yesterday]

This is like, instead of mapping the entire globe, the ocean explorers found that they had simply reached the edge of all navigable land, and, as far as any vessel could see, beyond that, there was just apparently endless ocean. The explorers would know, from measuring the curvature of the Earth, that Earth was a globe and had a finite extent, but the radius of the Earth would be so enormous that they would never be able to come close to traversing it by boat. It would also be as if, on the last few islands this civilisation discovered, there were all sorts of indications that there must be new land out there somewhere. Only there was no way of knowing where, or how far away, it was. The Higgs, for these explorers, would be one, last, island, discovered far into the wilderness of this ocean, farther from the mainland than anything else except the top quark (another island, alone in the wilderness). To reach either island would require the finest ship imaginable and would require a journey of decades.

Read the rest at The Trenches of Discovery