Thursday, April 23, 2015

Matter Facts

One of today’s science buzzwords is straight from the realm of the arcane. Around the coffee table, the buzz may be introduced with, “Have you heard about…” without the slightest suspicion that any coffee drinkers really know much about the Higgs boson. In the future, however, thanks to the Higgs, our knowledge may include more about the deep ultimate reality in which we exist. Readers should not be concerned if they do not understand the Higgs subject matter.

We begin with simpler ideas. Our life on Earth is framed in physical matter. There is a soulish and spiritual dimension to our lives, but the drama of our existence is set within material matter. Until recent centuries very little was known about the physical structure of matter except in speculation by philosophers and those interested in natural theology. Modern discoveries about matter have proliferated and now continue at an ever-increasing pace. In the past few months the Higgs boson has regained attention. Our blog posts reported on the Higgs particle in 2008 and 2012. 

Now, as the LHC (large hadron collider) in Bern, Switzerland is starting up again after a maintenance break, we return to the discussion. In this information-hungry culture, there may be more questions than answers in the coming months and years. The 2013 confirmation of the Higgs boson, 118 times the mass of the proton, generates questions regarding extra dimensions and enigmatic dark matter which comprises at least 27% of the matter in the universe. 

One question is how dark matter may possess supersymmetrical particles—partners for each particle known to exist in the Standard Model of Physics, six quarks and six leptons. Quarks and leptons are fundamental particles which comprise protons and neutrons in the nucleus of every atom. The invisible Higgs field, present everywhere in the universe, may generate the supersymmetrical particles. Higher energy levels produced by the LHC in coming months may permit expanded research on the mysterious Higgs boson and the Higgs field.

Questions concerning theoretical “extra” dimensions may be answered. The theory proposes that the mysterious gravity is a weak universal force because it is spread throughout extra dimensions. Our life experience occurs only in ordinary dimensions. The increased power under which the LHC will operate may reveal answers to questions asked for years to come.

The last three of 17 particles of the Standard Model of particle physics were confirmed in 1995 (top quark), 2000 (tau neutrino), and 2013 (Higgs boson). There is less controversy concerning the first 16 particles. The Higgs boson, perhaps the most fascinating particle, is generating far more discussion. The possibility of discoveries about dark matter, dark energy, extra time dimensions and a few other topics are not only mysterious, but also might signal more interest in scriptural truths concerning physical events during end times spoken of in the book of Revelation. The first 16 discoveries Standard Model entities provided a quantum leap in 20th century knowledge of matter. Particle physicists are still discussing the magnitude of future leaps of knowledge provided by the fascinating Higgs particle.

Linked below are three previous posts on the Higgs boson. They provide background information for the current flurry of excitement:

Our 4/15/15 post on “Original Creation Care” mentioned God’s provision of “the existence of an array of elements and their atoms by which life processes could be sustained.” In recent times the secrets of fundamental particles of matter in the atom have been unlocked in terms of their existence, precision masses, and function. With each discovery we explore more of the creative genius of God. Each past, present, and future discovery inspires greater appreciation of God’s divine care for his creation.