Chris requested this earlier in the time-travel post, then he found some more embarrassing pictures of Cole Hamels, so I figured I’d take a stab at it.
From the Wikipedia: the Higgs boson
Yeah, I’m sorry. I have no idea what the Higgs boson really is. Supposedly finding it will help explain why matter has mass, and it’s the last missing piece, apparently, of something called the Standard Model of particle physics. That’s all I know. Don’t ask me how or why or what exactly that means.
I really did try to figure this one out. I actually stumble my way onto Wikipedia posts related to theoretical physics with some frequency, and every single time I think, “OK, I’m going to try to see if l I can wrap my mind around this one.”
Doesn’t happen. In fact, it’s pretty rare I ever get past one sentence without encountering something I don’t know or can’t comprehend. Then, to make matters worse, I click on that thing, since it’s the Wikipedia, and then that thing’s article is also incomprehensible.
It’s frustrating on a number of levels. For one, theoretical physics apparently represent a giant hurdle in my quest for omniscience.
Second, it bothers me that there’s so much information about theoretical physics available on the Wikipedia. I mean, I get that the people who edit the Wikipedia are nerds and so are most theoretical physicists. But how many people must there be who understand this stuff for it to have such comprehensive coverage on the Wikipedia? Does every single person who gets what the Higgs boson is also edit the Wikipedia in his or her spare time?
I doubt it, and that makes it even worse. Because then that means there is a whole slew of people who can process this stuff, and only a small cross-section of them bother entering it into the Wikipedia.
There are probably thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of people out there who know all about the search for the Higgs boson and why it’s important. But I am not one of them, and I think that’s depressing.