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Hawking Bets $100 the LHC Will Not Find The Higgs

  1. Sep 9, 2008 #1

    ZapperZ

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    Hawking certainly will put his money where is mouth is. He has bet $100 that the LHC will not find the Higgs (or at least, one of the Higgs being predicted to be within the LHC energy range). So who is taking his bet? He does think that the LHC will find a supersymmetric partner though...

    So who is going to the Fermilab's Pajama Party tonight (or tomorrow morning at 1:30 am, to be precise)? :)

    Zz.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2008 #2

    mgb_phys

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    He lost the bet with Kip thorne about Hawking radiation leaking information so his record isn't good - of course he could be bluffing!
     
  4. Sep 9, 2008 #3

    George Jones

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    Actually, Hawking and Thorne are/were on the same side of this bet.

    Hawking bet Thorne that there is a law of physics that says "Thou shalt not behold a naked singualarity."
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  5. Sep 9, 2008 #4
  6. Sep 9, 2008 #5
    This is something where I don't think I could make myself place a bet.

    If we don't find it... awesome!

    If we do... awesome!
     
  7. Sep 9, 2008 #6

    ZapperZ

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  8. Sep 9, 2008 #7

    russ_watters

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    Hawking doesn't actually say in the article if he thinks they will or won't and he has a habit of betting against what he thinks will happen in order to guarantee that he'll win either way. So does he make it clear anywhere if he actually thinks it will or own't be found?
     
  9. Sep 9, 2008 #8
    I heard Hawking's interview about that bet (among other stuff) on BBC this morning. For me, its enough of a struggle to become even marginally familiar a Feynman diagram, let alone whether the LHC could make a tiny black hole. They journalists seem obsessed with asking about that, even though it has been pointed out many times that the Earth is regulary hit by particles more energetic than the LHC can make.
     
  10. Sep 9, 2008 #9
    how long after the LHC is turned on before we know? Assuming the very first collision produces a higgs when will I know about it?
     
  11. Sep 9, 2008 #10
    Assuming the first collision produces a Higg's, how will anyone recognize it anyway?
     
  12. Sep 9, 2008 #11

    cristo

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    :rofl: I'm afraid it doesn't happen like that: the experimentalists don't turn on their machine and then literally see particles. What they see is energy distributions where particles have decayed in specific parts of the detector. These then become more particles, which again decay etc etc.. so they have to build up a picture of what the known products were, before they can tell which particles were collided (since protons are made up of fundamental particles) and thus which interaction channel they went down. So, unfortunately, it's nothing like as easy as turning the thing on and just seeing a Higgs, then going to the CERN pub to celebrate: they need to take a lot of measurements, and compile statistics until they have enough evidence to claim a discovery of the Higgs (or any other particle).

    I wouldn't like to put a time on it, but I'd say at least several months (especially since the collider is closing down over Christmas before increasing it's power) but probably not for at least a year.

    (Zz et al, feel free to correct anything I've said here!)
     
  13. Sep 9, 2008 #12
    As I understand it, the days of bubble chamber photographs showing collision tracks are over, now replaced with layers of sophisticated detectors and electronics that produce computer data and imagery.
     
  14. Sep 9, 2008 #13

    ZapperZ

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    First counter-clockwise circulating proton beam will be tomorrow. This is actually crucial because this is when they adjust their superconducting magnets to get the beam to where they want it through ALL the sectors of the ring. Then they will get the proton beam to go clockwise. The neat thing here is that the protons going the clockwise share the SAME magnet as the one going counterlockwise. This amazing feat is possible due to the interesting geometry of the magnet that allows for a different polarity in a slightly different location. They adjust the SAME magnet to get the proper alignment.

    What is the MOST crucial aspect of this actually will occur the next day when they get the beam to go back into the ccw direction. If this beam is way off alignment, then they will have big problems. If it is only slight off then they are fine, because they can fine tune it. Note that the beam will not be at full charge/luminosity/energy. This will be gradually increased up to the optimal condition during the month.

    The first collision is expected in Oct., probably mid to late Oct. This is when all the detectors will be doing a lot of calibrating and whatnot. No one expects any kind of clean result for at least a year. I would be surprised if any significant result will come out before 2010.

    Zz.
     
  15. Sep 9, 2008 #14
    and the earth consuming black hole? 2011? 2012?
     
  16. Sep 9, 2008 #15

    Moonbear

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    Seems like a strange bet. If they discover a Higgs, he loses and pays someone $100 (I guess to the discoverer?), but without a time frame specified, he'll never win the bet even if they don't discover a Higgs. With this sort of betting skills, I think I'd enjoy playing poker with him. :biggrin:
     
  17. Sep 9, 2008 #16

    Art

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    I thought the production of strangelets was the major worry??

    SkyNews in the UK led with the CERN story tonight, saying tomorrow scientists will try to understand the origin of the universe or possibly destroy the planet :smile:

    Nothing like a bit of sensationalism :uhh:
     
  18. Sep 9, 2008 #17

    Art

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    Hawking likes to cover every angle that way he is never actually wrong.
     
  19. Sep 9, 2008 #18
    They will definitely publish, and conclude whether the Higgs (or whatever they find) exists or not.

    They can exclude a range of possible values for the Higgs' mass, and there are unphysical (impossible) values otherwise. Therefore, they both understand what the bet means precisely.

    Worst case, if they really don't publish anything, he still wins since they certainly did not find it :biggrin:
     
  20. Sep 10, 2008 #19
    Hawking must be prepared to accept refunds, as the present euphoria and expectation may well result in false positives:

    Higgs predicted not one but several bosons in the final optimistic sentence that had to be added to get his original paper published. The Higgs approach postulates a scalar field permeating all of space, where mass is transferred to a particle from the field, which contained it in the form of energy. The amount is supposed to depend on the strength of the coupling between the particle and the field. But virtual particles, which may exist for arbitrarily short times and corresponding arbitrary large energies, can also interact with such Higgs bosons, giving arbitrary energies... This implies that there may soon be many possible candidates for the title of Higgs boson, all 'identified' by experiments that try to infer coupling strengths, at best only finding parameters for certain formulas but advancing our understanding of the nature of mass not one bit.

    It makes sense that Hawking would take a contrary view.
     
  21. Sep 10, 2008 #20
    I'm a huge fan of the LHC. behind it 100% and have no concern whatsoever that it is going to do anything other than what it is supposed to do. So don't think I'm trying to come up with any doomsday theories. this is just out of curiosity. I know super high energy collisions happen in the upper atmosphere regularly I was wondering how frequent they are. Is it more or less than the number that will be happening at the LHC. Something like 500000 a second wasn't it?
    Also, my favorite doomsday scenario I've heard is that somehow when this thing is turned on it will make the Earth go SUPERNOVA! Which, in my book, makes the LHC worth every penny. It would be worth dieing to see that miracle.
     
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