Wednesday, 1 April 2009

April Fools'09: No Higgs particle after all?

While the LHC, after initial difficulties, is on the straight path for first collisions the particle physics community has been given yet another bitter pill to swallow. Yesterday at CERN Peter Higgs gave a seminar whose message was really shocking. No more no less, Higgs demonstrated that the famous particle that carries his name cannot exist! He pointed out a mistake in his original '64 paper which did not take into account the topological anomalies of the symmetry group of the Standard Model. He also presented a concise and elegant proof that the existence of the Higgs particle would lead to an instability of the vacuum.

In reply to angry voices from the audience, Higgs said:
Yes i got it wrong back then. I mean, i got it right at first, but then the referee confused me and I added the particle to get the paper published quickly.
Why did Higgs wait more than 40 years to correct his mistake? He explained:
You know, I was flattered - not everybody has his own particle. I thought that sooner or later someone else would point out the mistake anyway. But now there's so much talking of that particle at the LHC that I had to come out to prevent greater disappointment.
Cern theorist John Ellis commented:
This seems unbelievable, but the math is there on the blackboard... I'm afraid Higgs is right this time. The whole story demonstrates how important is to independently verify scientific results rather than to follow fashion. We have learned our lesson.
But is it not too late? If the Higgs particle is not out there, does this make the 5 billion worth LHC accelarator a useless toy? CERN director general Rolf Heuer carefully chooses his words:
One can never predict the course of scientific developments . Important discoveries may arise as side effects of the LHC program, as it happened before with the World Wide Web.
But even in these grim circumstances there are some who see the glass half-full. As someone from the audience pointed out:
At least the Tevatron won't have it either...
Happy April Fools everyone :-)

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy April first!

Anonymous said...

good one ;)

crackpot#12.487 said...

I told you all along and you wouldn't believe!!!!

coraifeartaigh said...

Not a believable spoof because it relies on the assumption that only Higgs would spot the mistake - the sort of assumption the wider public makes about scientists

Obviously said...

cor...

The point is to make it funny, which it is.

Gordon Stangler said...

Nice. It had me going for a second.

bas said...

Great. Better than Onion.

Ervin Goldfain said...

Funny one for April Fool's Day

Anonymous said...

The Higgs probably don't exist the other days of the year either :-)

VanceH- said...

I bought it hook, line, and sinker. Guess as a layman I have a secret longing for a shake-up in the status quo. Thanks for the laugh.

Anonymous said...

Nicely done . . .

Anonymous said...

Bastard!!!