The discovery of the Higgs boson, a sub-atomic particle that is responsible for mass, is being trumpeted as a breakthrough. It certainly seems to be a monumental accomplishment by the scientists at CERN labratory in Geneva.
British physicist Peter Higgs must feel vindicated. Thirty-four years ago he posed his theory of an invisible field, "strewn across space," that was a binding agent for particles that resulted in form. According to The Daily Telegraph, Higgs' "eureka" moment was inspired while walking in the mountains in Scotland.
He was ridiculed by the scientific community at the time.
The Telegraph also recounts German physicist Werner Herzenberg's assessment of the Higgs boson. Heisenberg, one of the most famous scientists of the modern era, cliamed that Higgs and his colleagues, "did not understand the rules of physics." Higgs and his colleagues were advised by others "to abandon their research or risk professional suicide."
Thankfully, they didn't. Now, a missing piece of the puzzle of the Standard Model of physics has been found .
The Telegraph, quoting Joe Incandala who announced the discovery, wrote:
"The discovery is so fundamental to the laws of nature, it could spawn new era of technology and development just as Newton's laws of gravity led to basic equations of mechanics that made the industrial revolution possible."
The lesson here is obvious. Even the experts can be wrong.
© Patrick O’Neill 2012. All rights reserved.