New Project - The Dawn of a New Era: Hunting the Higgs

>> Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Dawn of a New Era

These are the first things I looked at when I awoke this morning.

First release images of 7TeV collisions in the CMS detector, March 30,2010

Apologies folks, but I can't resist the tendency to the poetic. It's an irresistible force. Yes, they look like hieroglyphs, or something truly alien, or perhaps just colorful scribbles, and it is certain the naysayers and luddites will proffer a plethora of snarky remarks. And in all honesty, I could tell you very little about what the traces show - but for one thing.

These are a record of something utterly new, heretofore unknown, and never before seen in the entire history of what we collectively call ourselves - the human race.

We are truly at the dawn of a new era. Not just for physics, but perhaps for everything we understand.

How can one make such a bold, perhaps foolhardy statement?

Keep in mind a passel of physicists with tons of graphite in a field house at the University of Chicago some 60-odd years ago. Or even earlier in the 1850's, when an English tinkerer moved a magnet over some coiled wire. Those are just a couple of things that changed the world forever - and made our world what it is.

Now we - humanity - are looking deep into the pieces of the bits of shards of atoms and beyond into who-knows-where. Just like Fermi at Pile 1 and Faraday in his study, and all the rest who knew not what they were looking at, except that what they were looking at was new.

So the statement is not so bold, or foolhardy. It is in fact, certainty.

UCSD-TV will be chronicling the advent of this journey as we provide a unique perspective through the exploits of UCSD Professor of Physics Vivek Sharma and his graduate student, Matt LeBourgeois. Here is a preview of material we recorded just days before the start of the journey.

More will be coming as the collisions continue and the journey proceeds.

You can follow along with near real-time views of LHC and CMS status, as well as see collision images here. You can even put it on your, as my daughter is apt to remind me, the "inner" (or some might say not-so-inner) nerd in me did...

Another interesting blog to glimpse a different perspective of the journey is here, provided by CMS e-commentators Darin Acosta, Dave Barney and Lindsey Gray. A lot of it may as well be runes or Sanskrit to most of us - we'll work on translating as much of it as we can as this project evolves, but I'm fascinated by it because it is a unique chronicle of what is a wholly new, and certain to be, fantastic journey.


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