• Question: Do you think that the god parrticle exists and string theory? by ali. What are your hobbies? josh and ali. Do you play video games if so what games? josh. What do you study in science? ali. What is your science lab like? josh. (Can you take a picture).

    Asked by goddardadams to Ben, Clare, Ezzy, Mario, Sam on 12 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Mario Campanelli

      Mario Campanelli answered on 9 Mar 2012:

      there is no such a thing as god particle. Some years ago, Leon Ledermann, a nobel prize winner for the discovery of the muon neutrino, wrote a book with that title, just to sell more copies, and journalists now call the Higgs boson with that name. But please do not call it like that. Also, there is no such a thing as string theory. There are a huge number of theories that give up on the idea of an infinitely continuous spacetime, to solve some mathematical problems arising from unifying gravity and quantum mechanics. But none of these theories manages to explain our world, let alone make new predictions.
      Looks like string theories need sypersymmetry to be stable, a theory for new physics that predicts not one but five Higgs bosons. Unfortunately, so far no signs of supersymmetry have been seen at the LHC.

    • Photo: Ben Smart

      Ben Smart answered on 10 Mar 2012:

      Lot of questions there! Let me take them one by one…

      The god particle: please don’t call it that. It’s a silly name 😛 You mean the Higgs Boson. If I had to place a bet I’d say it does exist, but what I think really doesn’t matter. What matters is the evidence. So far we haven’t been able to prove whether it exists or not, so we keep searching.

      String theory: I think string theory is an interesting idea (I’ve studied a lot of the maths behind it, and it’s pretty cool), but again, what I think doesn’t matter. Evidence is the important thing. We have no evidence that string theory is how the universe works, and we’re unlikely to find any evidence because we just don’t have the technology we would need to find out if string theory is real or not.

      Hobbies: I love cycling. I ride my bike as much as I can and as fast as I can. I enter races too. Doing physics is a hobby for me too though, and I spend loads of time doing that too as a result 🙂

      Video games: I don’t play any video games any more, but I used to play a lot when I was younger. I played the first Halo game on the PC far too much, but I also liked puzzle games and things that really made you think. ‘Age Of Empires 2’ was a favourite of mine, as was ‘Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis’. The graphics were terrible by today’s standards, but the plot and story were the best of any game I’ve ever played.

      What do I study: I study how the smallest things in the universe work. At the moment I’m trying to find out if something called a Higgs Boson exists. If we find that it does exist then this will tell us a lot of new things about how the universe works. We also learn a lot of other stuff about the universe along the way while we’re searching!

      My lab: I don’t have a lab with test tubes or anything like that, and I don’t wear a white labcoat. I sit in a office and work on my computer. The ‘laboratory’ I use is the ATLAS Detector, which is a big machine deep underground. The ATLAS Detector make lots and lots of measurements, and I have to use lots of computers to look at all these measurements and try to learn something from them.
      Here’s a terrible picture I took of the office I work in, with some of my friends:

      This week I’ve also been working in the control room for the ATLAS Detector. I always think of it as like the bridge of the starship Enterprise (if you’ve watched Star Trek) 😛 There are loads of people all controlling different things, and one guy in charge of it all. I’m like the pilot, I do all the main controls, and make the ATLAS Detector do whatever the guy in charge asks me to make it do. Here are a few pictures I took when everything was quiet late one evening:
      My control desk:

      and some pictures of the desks next to me (there are about 17 desks in total):

    • Photo: Elizabeth Pearson

      Elizabeth Pearson answered on 12 Mar 2012:

      List time!

      God particle, of the Higgs boson as it should be called. It has nothing to do with God at all. In fact I’m not sure why they ever decided to call it that. But I digress. Will they find it? Most likely. All the evidence seems to be pointing that way at the moment and it’ll just be a few more months until they have enough evidence to say yeah, that’s it right there.

      String theory – I don’t actually know that much about string theory, but its basically just a whole load of maths that no one can ever really prove. So… no. There are a lot of other theories though, some equally as crazy others a bit more sensible. It’ll take us a while to work it all out.

      Hobbies – I write. I say in my whatzit that I want to be an author, and so I work towards that. I also do drama. I’m a musical called ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ and in fact if I get through to the last few days of week two will be running around like a crazy person because that’s when our performance are (AHHH!!!). I do aikido, its a martial art but its all about harmony with your partner and defence rather than kicking someone in the face repeatedly. I’m trying to learn to play guitar (badly) aaaaaand…

      Play video games! – Lots. I’m currently lost in the world of Mass Effect 3, but I’m also a big Final Fantasy fan and play loads of RPGs. I also love puzzle games like Professor Layton or Monkey Island (possibly showing my age there…)

      What do I study – Fuzzy blobs, otherwise known as very distant, dust, galaxies.

      My lab – I don’t really have a lab. My experiments are telescope observations and telescopes tend to be in the middle of nowhere are several thousand feet… or in space. I have a desk though in an office with 7 other people. My desk is messy, my office is fun. Sometimes it is quite hard to get any work done thought in between the office golf courses and the office jousting tounaments and the office skate board cricket matches. I’ll take some photos and put them up!