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Higgs Boson a Fringe Physics Success? A Holiday Serial.

When I was little, the local newspaper always ran  a serial story over the Christmas break.  While all the kids were home from school, the paper would run one part of the story, (usually a Christmas mystery), per day.  The story was always a little hokey, but it was a lot of fun to get the next installment each day.

So, in the tradition of the holiday serial, (and to provide me with a constructive way to blow off steam as I study for finals), I present to you the story of how fringe physics led to the the Higgs boson.  The story will span almost 100 years  and includes romance, good will towards man, industrial magnates, burlesque strippers, tortured artists, anti-gravity zealots, military scientists, and a few honest-to-goodness physicists and engineers.

To keep everything honest, the story has a few rules.  All fringe science and real science will be labeled as such so there’s no confusion and no claims of ‘bad science’ being purported here at the Canonical Hamiltonian.  I won’t make any leaps of logic between the various facts of the story.  I will try to arrange the facts in a contiguous fashion so that you can make said leaps for your own entertainment if you so desire.  I’ll try to include references where possible, but I won’t hold myself to high standards since this is a holiday serial and not a scholarly tome.  If I heard something from someone who heard it from someone else, or who might not want to be referenced, I’ll throw the info in without a reference just for the fun of the story.

The clue that led to this story is pictured below.  It’s a small footnote, indicating the air force grant funding number, from Higgs’ paper, (seen above), where the boson that would bear his name was fully proposed.

Today’s references:

Higgs’ first note on the subject

The Higgs’ article discussed today

2 Responses to “Higgs Boson a Fringe Physics Success? A Holiday Serial.”

  1. Roger Babson: Part III of the Holiday Serial | The Canonical Hamiltonian Says:

    [...] Back to part I. Today’s episode moves slightly up in time and centers on Roger Babson.  Babson was an investment entrepreneur who graduated from MIT in 1898.  He made his millions by publishing an investment report that analyzed the stock market in terms of Newton’s Laws of Mechanics.  His method wasn’t quite as loopy as it sounds.  He used Newton’s laws as analogies or metaphors to describe sound investment techniques. [...]

  2. The Death of Antigravity, Holiday Serial 2013, Part I | The Canonical Hamiltonian Says:

    [...] Last Year’s Holiday Serial Better late than never.  I had a nice little holiday serial planned for this year that was going to detail the actual science done by the physicists peripherally mentioned in Nick Cook’s, “The Hunt for Zero Point“.  For those not familiar with it, Cook’s book is a rollicking good read in the fringe physics field that contains equal parts historical research, investigative reporting, and (very) speculative history.  I’d intended the serial to focus on the valuable and interesting physics that had been done as a result of the drive to ‘discover anti-gravity’ that Nick Cook describes as having taken place in the mid-1950s under the auspices of companies like the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft company and Bell Aircraft.  As any serious physicist will tell you, no serious physicist has ever worked on anti-gravity.  For that matter, no serious physicist feels really comfortable even saying the A word.  Consequently, the papers I intended to report on had nothing to do with anti-gravity except that the anti-gravity zeal of a few corporate and military leaders had funded them.  I didn’t figure I had much to add to Cook’s reported history either, still though, I thought the actual physics would be a nice point of interest. [...]

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