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8:57pm on Wednesday, 14th December, 2011:

Ah, Science


Because I've only made two attempts so far to cancel The Guardian from my local newsagent, it's still being delivered to the Bartle household. I therefore got to read its attempt this morning to do science in its front-page article on the "God particle" (as they call it in the headline, presumably because that makes it seem more spiritual than scientific).

From this article, I learned that the Higgs boson has been "found in Switzerland ... maybe". Thankfully, The Guardian restrained itself from asking how scientists can extrapolate from this one sighting in one location to cover the whole universe (after all, you can find Geneva is in Switzerland but that doesn't mean there's a Geneva everywhere). They also managed to say it was "predicted to exist nearly 50 years ago", which isn't quite what they meant (ie. nearly 50 years ago it was predicted to exist).

It didn't answer the most obvious question to ask about the Higgs boson, though, namely if the Higgs boson gives other particles mass, what gives the Higgs boson mass? So much for investigative journalism...

Why is it that we capitalise Volts and Amps as units, but not bosons as particles?

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).