Theoretical physicist at Cal Tech, Sean Carroll, discussed why he believes the discovery of the Higgs boson is perhaps the greatest breakthrough in our understanding of the universe since the splitting of the atom, and how it is launching particle physics on a new era of discovery. "What really matters to us is not the Higgs boson, but something called the Higgs field that fills space...the bosons that we detect as particles are just little vibrations in that field," he explained. By detecting a Higgs-like boson through experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, we were able to demonstrate the existence of the Higgs field, he reported. The search for such a particle has been going on for decades, Carroll noted, and its discovery was a cause for celebration in the physics community.
While the Higgs discovery doesn't particularly lead to new technological applications, its significance has to do with understanding how the particles that form our existence work together, he pointed out. "If it weren't for the Higgs, electrons would be massless; they'd be like photons moving at the speed of light-- they wouldn't stick together in atoms...there wouldn't be planets or stars, there would not be you and me," he continued. For more on the Higgs discovery, check out this video clip Sean sent us.
Carroll cited dark matter as the next big target after the Higgs boson. We've detected its gravitational field, and can see its effect on light traveling through the universe, and various stars. Dark matter is clearly exerting a force, but we don't know what it is yet, he said. Carroll also shared his theory that our universe may have been born out of larger universe, and touched on such topics as black holes, string theory, and hidden additional dimensions that might affect particle physics.
First hour guest, WND columnist Drew Zahn talked about his report that citizens in some US states have been signing petitions to secede from the union. The online petitions, via the White House's We the People website, have spread across 30 states, and so far have received some 60,000 signatures in Texas, and 27,000 in Louisiana. While the petitions may not rock Washington, they represent a growing number of citizens who are dissatisfied with the federal government, and could become more active in their protestations, Zahn commented.
News segment guest: Lauren Weinstein
Bumper music from Tuesday November 13, 2012