Wednesday 20 September 2017

The little things

A real CMS
proton-proton
collision with
four highenergy
electrons.
A real CMS proton-proton collision with four highenergy electrons.

You do not have to be a seafarer to understand the meaning of the word 'bosun' (alternative spelling: boatswain or bo's'n). The rank is that of a warrant or petty officer in charge of a ship's deck crew, rigging, anchors and cables. But many of us will admit to being 'all at sea' when we read about the goings-on at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva.

This place was in the news because of the discovery of 'a Higgs boson'.We have seen the benign countenance of a Professor Peter Higgs from Edinburgh, who is credited with the proposition of the boson's existence in the 1960s.

Apparently a 'boson' in physics refers to a very small particle that plays a key role in conferring 'mass' on other sub-atomic particles. It is indeed a minute particle and weighs about eight trillion-trillionths of one ounce.

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