There’s another article about the search for the Higgs particle, the recent rumour kerfuffle involving the Tevatron, and the upcoming LHC experiment at CERN. (See related articles at bottom of this post.) This time it is in the New York Times and it is by Dennis Overbye. There’s a bit of discussion about how the fact that there are physicists blogging about these topics tends to amplify some things that might not (or should not?) get amplified otherwise. I’ve nothing really to add to the discussion, except to say that it is far better written -showing better understanding of the science, and the scientific implications of the rumour- than the article in Slate, by James Owen Weatherall, that I criticizedin an earlier post . Ironically, Weatherall is a recently trained (in particle physics) scientist. Go figure. To be fair, Overbye has the benefit of a long wait for the rumours to die down and reality checks to be done (and lots of good journalistic experience under his belt, and maybe a bit more seniority to fight with his editors, if that was part of the issue for the Weatherall article), so we all hope Weatherall will get better with time. (Above right: A random collision event I grabbed from the DZero experiment.)
See some other posts on this article here (starting with Gordon Watts laying down a welcome mat and a useful road map to physics and earlier blog posts for the NY Times readers he’s expecting to visit his site – he’s mentioned in the article), here (Tommaso Dorigo is also mentioned, and so points to some earlier links too), here, and here (John Conway was also in the article, and has previously discussed these matters too).
Now, if only the New York Times would have the guts to stop with the stupid “God Particle” term, that they must know by now is not a term used by any self-respecting particle physicist in the course of their work. I’ll wager that it creates more confusion in the minds of the public than almost any other aspect of the discussion. (See an earlier post on that here.)
Some Related Asymptotia Posts (not exhaustive):