Particles Become Sparticles
A new particle accelerator, known as the Large
Collider (LHC), opened at CERN, near Geneva,
on Sept. 10th, 2008. A massive underground tunnel, 27 km (17m) long,
and estimated to have cost
more than eight billion US dollars. In conditions as hot as the sun, and
of protons travelling at near the speed of light, scientists hope to
new subatomic particles, many with sparkling new names. For more
information on the new collider, see Scientific
American, 298, 2 (February 2008).
With the development of the new particle accelerator, we note that a new scientific vocabulary is also coming to
birth. The name sparticle
is a merging of two words supersymmetric
and particle. In these new
experimental conditions, scientists hope to detect supercharged
particles that are believed to have existed at less than a billionth of second
after the Big Bang. (Don’t try to make rational sense of that
drive yourself crazy). At this infinitesimal moment, electrons were selectrons,
quarks were squarks.
These ‘sister particles’ are
hugely unstable, and since they decay almost instantly, it will be a
detecting their existence through indirect effect, rather than through
What comes after the discovery of the Higgs Particle?
On 14 March 2013, the scientific community was in exuberant mood, as news media all over the world carried headlines of the nailing of the Higgs Boson at CERN. It was also deemed to be huge justification for the investment that had been made in the Large Hadron Collidor (LHC) itself. Originally postulated by Scottish scientist, Peter Higgs, the particle helps to explain why some fundamental particles have mass when the symmetries controlling their interactions should require them to be massless, and—linked to this—why the weak force has a much shorter range than the electromagnetic force.
Thus physicists can now
validate the last untested area of the Standard Model's approach to
fundamental particles and forces, and feel more confident in their attempts to resolve other tantalizing questions such as the existence of dark matter.
be achieved through the new collider is precisely the fruit of the interface of classical and quantum
We have very accurate measurements and finely-tuned monitors to exert
control, but the possible outcomes defy all rationality and point us to
incomprehensible marvels of the universe to which we belong and the
we inhabit. Sparticles,
selectrons and squarks
are not just precise objects,
but more complex, wave-like dimensions of the energy-flow that
basic stuff from which everything is created. We can detect their
I suspect, as happened with the quarks and leptons, we will never nail
into an objective isolated identity. In other words, they don’t make
their individual separation. Relationship, and not separation, defines
essence of all reality.
And this is where the euphoria around the Higgs particle may be misleading. Firstly, the so-called discovery relates to new traces detected in the debris of the collisions set up in the CERN collider, which physicists argue must be the Higgs. It is an assumption rather than a discovery. That it is actually the Higgs' boson has yet to be proved.
Secondly, establishing what gives particles mass feeds into the mechanistic understanding of life (and the universe) but contributes little to the more quantum understanding of reality which is much more about the wave and flow of the creative vacuum. Over 90% of the atom - and of subatomic particles - is empty space. Surely the critical questions of understanding belong to making sense of the 90% emptiness rather than the less-than 10% mass! Might it be that the "discovery" of the Higgs is an actual distraction from the search for deeper scientific truth? And of course it begs other questions, particularly: what is driving the search today?
Power and Money
Science is heavily wedded to objective control of
and there is a daily demand for scientists to develop outcomes that will
us to control the waywardness of the world we inhabit: disease,
poverty, ignorance, etc. But we are not controlling them; we are failing
dismally in doing so, yet the scientists apparently cannot acknowledge
dismal failure rates of the scientific dream.
Which brings me to the second major factor, money!
is driven by money, and will tend to favor research and outcomes that
the highest bidders. Sources of funding will support a project like LHC
in the long-term it hopes it will empower the world of science to gain
control over the destiny of mankind and the planet. In other words,
provide the money have little time for the spiritual and even the
implications of what is transpiring in the larger arena of contemporary
At one level, the psychic battle between control and trust is as old as humanity
itself. One hopes that as access to
information becomes more widespread and diffuse, and as more
humans trust their intuition and alternative ways of understanding, we
see the imperial wisdom become more humble and spiritually embracing.
rigor of science won’t suffer because of this; paradoxically, I
science will acquire a new power – a richer and more empowering
arising from the integration of the rational and the spiritual, the
and the mystical. In that new landscape, trust and not control will have
Wallace, Alan B. (2007), Hidden
Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness,