The Higgs Boson, Chris Throwing a Baseball, And You (For Star Wars Night, Guys!)
by Perry Michael Simon on July 2, 2012
They’re going to announce that they found the Higgs boson — don’t call it the “God particle” — on Wednesday, according to numerous reports. “They” means the scientists at CERN. “Announce” means a press conference, which most of your run-of-the-mill everyday particles do not have. Most particles don’t even have publicity people. “Higgs Boson” means… well, okay, let me see if I can get this close, it’s what gives other elementary particles their mass, so that they don’t just aimlessly careen around and not form, well, everything, which would mean that without it we’d be, um, we’d basically not be. So, yeah, it’s a big deal, made bigger by the news from the U.S. that the Tevatron has also uncovered evidence that “strongly points” towards the Higgs boson’s existence. If they don’t have it nailed down, it appears that they’re very, very close.
But some of us, even though we qualify as nerds, didn’t do so well in physics class. (I, for one, am no Neil deGrasse Tyson) To me, “Higgs Boson” sounds like an old-time crafty left-handed relief pitcher, a journeyman, maybe someone who overcame some disability like the amputation of all four of his limbs so he had to pitch with only his mouth and a great deal of will, and they made a movie about him, “Pride Of Several American League Teams: The Higgs Boson Story,” in 1942, starring Gary Cooper, Loretta Young as his loyal girlfriend, William Frawley as the crusty pitching coach, and the Vienna Boys Choir as the St. Louis Browns. Wait, what were we… ah, yes, Higgs boson. Right. Well, the Large Hadron Collider has done its thing, and it appears that they have something, because Higgs himself — Professor Emeritus Peter Higgs of Edinburgh University — is going to be there. And they say that they’re “99.99 per cent certain” they’ve found it. (So you’re saying there’s a chance….)
Now, they’ve been doing this work with the collider, and that’s a long tube in a tunnel underground in which they send particle beams speeding towards their destinies, which are collisions with other particle beams. In much the same way (SEGUE!), Chris Hardwick will tonight, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, before the Dodgers take on the Reds for Star Wars Night, propel a particle… okay, a baseball, at speeds heretofore unknown to… right, well, we’ll just be happy with anything approaching home plate. It’s the first pitch, Chris will throw it, and if you come on out to the park (and get there early so you can see that spectacle unfold), you’ll have a great time. We may have to wait until Wednesday to know for sure whether they glimpsed the Higgs boson, but Chris’ pitch should be visible even from the top deck.