I am not a scientific person. I don’t understand how computers work, and I’m pretty sure that electricity is, actually magic.

So all this news about the discovery of the elusive Higgs boson (that would be a great name for a soap opera character … Higgs Boson) has left me scratching my head. This could just be the result of my chronic scalp itch, but it’s more likely my primitive way of expressing my complete and utter befuddlement about this discovery.

But I’ve tried to get a grip on this. So many news stories and newspapers have told me that this is important, the most important scientific discovery since the last scientific discovery I couldn’t figure out, that I assume it must be important. One scientist compared it to the moon landing, but since we all know the moon landing was faked on a Hollywood backlot, that doesn’t really impress me. So, I’ve read a fair amount about Higgs, and I have arrived at the conclusion that it means absolutely nothing to me, so I don’t really care. But still, if it’s really this important, it behooves me to at least get a rudimentary understanding of it.

So here goes.

Higgs boson is crucial to understanding the origin of mass. Do I care about the origin of mass? No, unless it leads to, say, cheaper gasoline. Then I’m on board.

So now that the Higgs boson has been discovered, what next? A spokesman for the organization that found the Higgs boson says,  “this is just the beginning.” Uh, the beginning of what? Apparently, the answer is … more particles!

This discovery was accomplished by using something called the Large Hadron collider, which (again, with my limited scientific knowledge) smashed atoms to pieces until they gave up the secret of the Higgs boson. The collider costs something like $10 billion to build and another $1 billion a year to run. The scientific community is crowing that it was worth every penny, after all, because they found a Higgs boson. This is beginning to sound like an episode of The Big Bang Theory, isn’t it?

Anyway, I’m very glad the scientists of the world have discovered something so important. I supposed if they had discovered a way to, say, blast cancer cells to smithereens, and then I’d be impressed. But I’m sorry, scientist of the world … I just don’t get it. The bottom line is simply this: how does it impact me? Will it make my life better, or worse? Will I be able to buy something based on this discovery? Will it, in any way, make me happier, more productive, or give me shinier hair? Will it help me lose 10 unsightly pounds fast — and keep them off?

Anyway, congratulations to the scientific community for it dramatic discovery of the Higgs boson. If nothing else, I hope they all got souvenir t-shirts.



3 thoughts on “Higgs boson explained … not really.

  1. Never have I been in so complete agreement with someone else’s opinion. I couldn’t have written it better, so I’m glad that you did!

  2. It sounds like you have become a conservative Maurice. When did everything have to have an immediate economic impact? Let us be happy that the world did not implode like many predicted.

  3. As the story goes, the physicist Michel Faraday was explaining something about the theory of electromagnetism to Queen Victoria when she asked, “What good is it?” Faraday, completely unfazed, responded, “What good is a new born baby?”

    I suspect he would have a similar response in this case.

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