NBC News: Comics go beyond the Higgs boson

10 09 2012

By Alan Boyle

If only there were a graphic novel that could guide you around the frontiers of physics! We mused over that possibility on “Virtually Speaking Science” just a couple of nights ago, during a discussion of what lies beyond the Higgs boson — totally unaware that PHD Comics’ Jorge Cham had just put out a video graphic novel addressing that very topic.

Cham’s latest animation draws upon the expertise of Daniel Whiteson and Jonathan Feng, physicists at the University of California at Irvine, to explain how the discovery of a new “Higgs-like” particle at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider is only the first of many blockbuster discoveries expected from the $10 billion facility over the next few decades.

One of the most way-out possibilities is that the LHC could pick up the signs of extra spatial dimensions beyond the three we know and love. Like the Higgs boson, which is thought to play a role in endowing other particles with mass, the existence of extra dimensions is suggested by some of the questions still outstanding in physics — for example, why is gravity so much weaker than the other fundamental forces of nature? But the evidence to back up that suggestion is devilishly difficult to come up with.

Cham literally sketches the outlines of the mystery in his animation, and graphically shows why the LHC is way bigger than the Higgs.

(Full Story)





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