Posted by: Dr Churchill | February 10, 2022

The Search for the God Particle…

Since the earliest days of my reading and studying Physics and throughout my career — I spoke about the need to reconcile faith and science in the most basic way.

This was also the stated principle of my Oxford days of reading Physics at the Environmental University where I focused on Cybernetics, Environmental Science and Public Health, and wrote as the headliner of my PRINCIPIA PHYSICA (dissertation) that “Tomorrow’s Physics is today’s Metaphysics.”

Of course in some other places where physics is keenly studied and theorized for its applications in military weaponry and missile configurations, like MIT and other grandiose Universities — that idea is seen as anathema and heretical thinking, and all of its expressions have to be excised from the record and the annals of science … and thus the proponents of the principle that “Tomorrow’s Physics is Today’s Metaphysics” like Yours truly – must be burned at the stake.

And there you have the conundrum of todays Physics and its inability to explain the simplest Union of Science and Religion, in any prescient manner.

Sadly most all physicist, cannot even comprehend the elegant way that the ancient Greeks explained this non-duality of our rational and spiritual mind, through the parable of the “Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony” that comes alive in a stunning journey back to ancient Greece with Italian author Calasso, who takes apart the old myths to discover the birth of history and modern thinking amid timeless patterns of behavior, the legends and the poets and writers, like Homer, Ovid, and Sophocles, who gave their own spin to the old stories. He begins with the rape of Europa, and ends with the marriage of Cadmus to Harmony. The first story reveals the Olympians under Zeus, already withdrawing from the world, manifesting themselves only in forcible interventions like rape; the last marks the final occasion when the gods and men had “been on familiar terms; after that remote time, to invite the gods to one’s house became the most dangerous thing one could do, a sign of the now irretrievable malaise between heaven and earth.” As Calasso recounts the classic stories in between these two events, he not only divides the relationship between man and the gods into three stages — the third being the modern one of mutual indifference — but also gives accessible lessons on ancient history, religion, and philosophy. Central to the narrative is the death of Odysseus, which ends the long chain of stories that predate history. After Odysseus, our life without heroes begins; stories are no longer exemplary but are repeated and recounted. What happens is mere history. Action, the hurly-burly of man encountering gods in extraordinary ways and stranger places, is ended with Cadmus’ gift of the alphabet to the Greeks. Henceforth, religion and Gods all will be experienced in the silence of the mind, no longer in the full and normal presence…

But the meanings of the myths linger on, as a myth, Calasso asserts, is the precedent behind every action, its invisible, ever-present lining…

Thus — I still believe that “Tomorrow’s Physics is today’s Metaphysics” as I first stated in my public address at the Oxford Union and Environmental University, and later at MIT and other universities as I still do throughout my life and career…

Still going further in our search for Meaning and Purpose in this Life – I posit the principle that all Physics knowledge is placed in a never closing circle with the Astrophysics and quantum physics being at the one end of the circle’s ending point and the elementary physics at the other, never defined to meet.

This also goes against the grain of all Physics mainstream orthodoxy because since age immemorial and especially since the Victorian age — they see Physics as a straight line progression to the future…

And since anyone who belongs to the Flat Earth Society will tell you that this must be correct — I object to that… on principle.

Yet, we must bring about the las Vegas wedding in the church of Elvis, because as the old Oxford physics joke goes, a Higgs Boson walks into a church and the priest says: “We can’t allow Higgs bosons in here because they are unchristian and unbaptized. So the Higgs boson feeling a bit churched replied: “OK my friend — but without me How can you have Mass?”

In classical physics that statement is true because without the Higgs Boson AKA the God particle — you absolutely cannot have Mass — yet in Metaphysics this is exactly what we all seek to achieve since time immemorial when all people saw the Divine through all aspirations of faith, science and Cybernetics.

And until we reconcile the two opposing and warring camps — the Physicists and the Priests — we shall all be bereft of the benefit of Union and the Unity that repairs and heals all dualities, divisions, hates and misunderstandings.

So for me the Search for the “God Particle” is just starting because I firmly believe that the Higgs Boson is anything but that..

But we don’t live in that World yet where people are ready to embrace the Spirituality of Faith as equal if not a marriage partner to science and the equal conversant to the sacred knowledge of Life and Beyond.

Now, if you were following the Physics news over the past decade — you probably heard or read about the Nobel Committee’s choices for the 2013 series of Nobel Prizes.

From Chemistry to Literature, the public was awestruck at the amazing accomplishments of that year’s recipients. Yet, no single award stood in more distinction – or was more easily predicted – as that year’s Nobel Prize in Physics, which was awarded to the prominent physicists Peter Higgs and Francois Englert.

Like many winners of the Nobel Prize — Higgs and Englert were rewarded for theories they had formulated years ago — in this case, about sixty years ago, in 1964.

So, what did these scientists do to overwhelmingly sweep the Nobel Prize in Physics?

Well, they were the first scientists to theorize the so called God Particle.

Yet methinks that’s fool’s gold.

As daunting as that sounds, the so called God Particle, also known as the Higgs Boson, is actually far smaller than you’d expect. In fact, it’s smaller than any subatomic particle currently known to man. But the reason that it derives so much importance – more importance than any of the other hundreds of particles that were discovered during the twentieth century – is its ability to explain the origins of mass.

In 1964, Higgs and Englert, along with several other scientists following in their footsteps only a few weeks later — described a new type of quantum field which pervades all of space. This field is essentially a basic form of energy, because when particles pass through the field, they gain energy in small quantities until they accumulate that energy as mass.

Now if you paid attention at your high school physics — you would remember, Einstein’s famous E=mc^2, by which we know that there is a relationship between energy and mass.

This field, is appropriately known as the Higgs field, and the “quanta” (plural of “quantum”) of energy with which the field interacts with other particles are known as, Higgs Bosons.

Mass seems to be an important concept in physics in and of itself, but this idea does not explain fully the significance of the Higgs Boson. Rather, to explore this issue further, we need to analyze the importance of the Standard Model of particle physics. 

The Standard Model is an attempt to understand and unify how particles interact with each other through a series of forces. It is considered the most successful of the several theories proposed to encompass all of the many discoveries that have been made over the past two centuries. Yet, the Standard Model relies on one fundamental principle: accumulation of mass through the Higgs field. Since the creation of the theory, scientists have merely assumed the existence of the Higgs Boson and used it to justify the Standard Model.

Well, now there’s proof.

“What proof,” you might ask.

Well, for the past decade, scientists at CERN (the famous lab in Geneva, Switzerland that houses a good deal of the world’s particle accelerators) have been conducting tests using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the largest particle accelerator ever constructed. The LHC, a $10 billion endeavor, was created for the specific purpose of finding the Higgs Boson.

Now, after years of testing, scientists have identified a signature from a proton-proton collision that they mathematically proved could only be the work of the Higgs Boson. This discovery is now the most fundamental proof of the Standard Model.

So, readers, raise a hearty “congratulations” to Peter Higgs and Francois Englert, the winners of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.” 

For such a small particle, it truly is a remarkable phenomenon and an equally remarkable discovery. The world of particle physics will never be the same.

Yet we all know that since the earliest times of antiquity — humans have pondered the composition of the material world around us.

Aristotle claimed that everything is a combination of earth, water, air, and fire.

Yet others claimed that everything is made up of indivisible units called atoms.

These views remained speculation until very recently. The period between the Renaissance and the seventeenth century launched the scientific revolution. A new theory of the heavenly spheres placed the sun rather than the earth at the center. An astronomer named Kepler formulated a set of laws for how these bodies behaved. After Kepler, Isaac Newton combined the laws of the planets with laws about objects on earth. Newton’s unification of the heavenly realm with the earthly led to renewed confidence that humans could probe nature.

This renewed confidence ushered in the Age of Enlightenment, which emphasized the power of reason to improve knowledge and the human condition. These developments placed physics at the forefront of the frontier of human knowledge. Since then physics has undergone acute developments that play a part in every aspect of the world around us. Below you will find a guide to some of the central ideas in physics and the way they have evolved.

The physical science that flowered following Newton is known as classical mechanics. Classical mechanics remains the intuitive picture of physics in popular awareness. It is also still used in engineering and astronomy.

The main idea behind classical mechanics is that physical bodies obey certain rules that can be predicted with mathematical precision if we have the right information. These include Newton’s three laws of motion that explained Kepler’s laws of planetary motion.

For example, the famous first law, known as the law of inertia, states that all bodies tend to stay in uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force.

Forces include things we are familiar with like push, pull and friction.

Newton described force as the product of mass and acceleration in a system of bodies. He also described a special type of force called gravity that’s unlike the forces we find intuitive.

Gravity takes an observable effect between large bodies in the form of an invisible pull. Newton wrote a mathematical formula, known as the universal law of gravitation, which quantifies the gravitational force of large bodies like stars and planets.

This way Newton explained why the earth revolved around the sun. Because the sun is the more massive object, it pulls the earth in an elliptical orbit around it. The closer the earth is to the sun the faster it travels, and the farther away it is, the slower.

Depiction of heliocentrism from the 17th century. Image from Wikimedia commons

Other physicists later expanded Newton’s theory to include quantities like energy and work. Yet, its description of physical bodies relied on assumptions that began to be challenged at the end of the 19th century.

One of these assumptions was that time and space are separate variables and absolute in their measurements. According to Newton, my clock ticks exactly at the same rate as any clock anywhere in the universe. By the same token, an arbitrary unit of distance is equal everywhere in the universe. These assumptions imply that the measurement of velocities is relative to observers. If I start running inside a train, my velocity for someone on the platform is the sum of my speed and the train’s. This is intuitive to you or I, but they led to contradictions in experimental evidence that scientists could not explain.

The famous Michelson-Morley experiment tried to detect the relative motion of light traveling through a hypothesized medium called the aether. If the aether existed, then light would measure at different velocities at different angles. Yet, they found the opposite. The speed of light appeared to remain constant.

At this time, advances in the relationship between electricity and magnetism showed that something was wrong with the classical assumptions. In the decades that followed, Einstein developed a new theory of space, time, and gravity, while particle physics showed that very small particles did not behave in a predictable manner that Newton and his followers presumed.

In the early 20th century Einstein turned classical mechanics on its head by proposing two equivalences that had escaped the brightest minds. The equivalence of mass to energy and gravity to acceleration. Before Einstein formulated his special and general theories of relativity, experimental evidence against classical mechanical predictions of light-speed was recorded but discounted on grounds of faulty experiments.

In 1905, Einstein published his theory of special relativity. In it, he worked out his famous equation of E=mc2. In this simplified form, the equation states that energy and mass are convertible into each other. In other words, the two are equivalent: mass has energy, and energy has mass. There’s only one catch: the universe has a fundamental speed limit, the speed of light, which can never be at rest or surpassed. To be able to see a beam of light at rest, you’d have to be traveling at light speed. But Einstein’s equations show that it would need an infinite amount of energy for that to happen. The total amount of energy in the universe could not supply it.

The mass and energy equivalence has the counterintuitive effect that the coordinates of time and distance are not the same for all observers. Rather, they measure different according to their moving frames of reference. For example, if I were to travel near the speed of light relative to you, and you are at rest here on earth, assuming we are both moving at uniform velocity, then my clock measures time slower than your clock. In other words, time has dilated, and by the same token, the unit of distance (any arbitrary segment) has contracted. Of course, in our everyday lives, our relative speeds are much smaller than that of light, so Newton’s equations work fine.

Two-dimensional rendition of spacetime curvature. Image from Wikimedia commons.

A limitation of special relativity is that it only applies to inertial frames of reference, or bodies moving at uniform velocity. Yet, most of everything around us is always changing its velocity, from trains, planes, and people jogging, to the planets in the solar system. In other words, most of the time things are either accelerating or slowing down.

Einstein went back to the drafting table and came out in 1915 with a theory that generalized his special relativity to accelerated frames of reference. If you think back to Newton, one of the forces responsible for acceleration is gravity. Einstein took it a step further and stated that all gravitational effects are equivalent to accelerated frames of reference.

What did Einstein do differently? Newton’s gravitational law described gravity as instantaneous action-at-a-distance. While this was successful in describing planetary orbits, it left the question unanswered how did massy objects create such an effect. Einstein answered that question by changing the mathematical meaning of gravity. Instead of a force exerted by very large objects, gravity became a geometric curvature those objects created in 3 dimensions of space and 1 of time. When a smaller object falls into a larger object’s orbit, it accelerates proportional to the curvature of spacetime created by the larger object. This way, gravity obeys the speed of light limit, is less mysterious than action-at-a-distance, and describes relativistic effects in cosmology that Newton’s gravitational law cannot.

At roughly the same time that Einstein showed that classical mechanics was not good at very high velocities, particle physics was negating Newton at very small scales.

In classical mechanics, all you need are the positions and velocities of a set of finite particles in a system to predict the complete evolution of the system in time. The smartest people had assumed that this general framework would hold no matter how small we divide particles. Yet, the 19th century had expanded the Newtonian picture of the world with a deeper understanding of light and electricity.

While electricity was harnessed to build motors and batteries, and light was thought to be a wave, their true nature was not well understood until James Clerk Maxwell. He showed that light is a strange wave of oscillating magnetic and electric fields that radiate from electrically charged objects. Until this point, the furniture of the world consisted of matter and an attraction force that described how very large objects affected each other called gravity. Atomic changes were thought to explain electrical change. But what about this strange wave that radiated from matter in different frequencies? Most other waves are not “real”, but vibrations in regular matter like sound. Electromagnetism appeared to propagate within its field, leading to the view that “energy fields” are as real as matter.

Artist’s rendition of an electron. Image from sciencestockphotos.com.

Moreover, toward the end of the 19th and early 20th century, evidence of subatomic particles led to a better understanding of atoms.

The atom consists of negatively charged particles called electrons orbiting a nucleus of positively charged protons and uncharged neutrons. These hold together by something called the strong force. Deficits and surpluses of electrons explain electricity, but when we apply Newton’s laws to predict the behavior of electrons, they fail. Electrons have mass and momentum like all other particles. Yet when we try to calculate their positions, we appear to change their momenta and vice versa. This is because of another strange symmetry or equivalence that scientists discovered during the first half of the 20th century.

Just as light behaves like a particle under certain conditions, matter behaves like a wave in others. In other words, both light and matter are wave and particle. Both also share a property foreign to our Newtonian intuitions. The electron can only occupy certain discrete energy states inside the atom, not just any continuous energy quantity. At the same time, light waves also carry discrete total energy states without any in-between values. The quantization of energy at very small scales gives quantum mechanics its name.

The bizarre nature of subatomic physics can be best described by something called a superposition. A superposition refers to the fact that an electron can exist in two or more states at once. Our best mathematical theory depicts a single electron as a smear of energy whose positions can only be described as a probability distribution. The strange thing is that when we make a measurement, the electron takes on a definite state. This is known as the measurement problem and its explanation remains unresolved in physics.

But where does this leave us today? Despite its bizarre, probabilistic nature, quantum mechanics stands as the most successful physical theory to date.

Particle physics describes the most fundamental components of matter and the forces through which they interact. These forces are the electromagnetic force, which explains light. The strong force, which explains what keeps protons and neutrons bound together. And lastly, the weak force, which explains radioactive decay in the atomic nucleus. These forces describe the interactions of the most elementary particles grouped into quarks and leptons. Together they form a theory known as the standard model. For a list of the elementary particles described by the theory click here. One of the standard model’s predictions, the existence of a particle known as the Higgs Boson and a corresponding field known as the Higgs field, came true in 2012 when the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva found confirming evidence.

While its discovery showed that the standard model is on the right track, it remains far from a complete theory of physical phenomena. The standard model cannot explain gravity, for which we rely on Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The standard model also cannot explain the gravitational integrity of galaxies or the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. Lastly, the standard model cannot explain why the observable universe has more matter than anti-matter. Anti-matter is matter with the opposite properties of matter.

The gap between the standard model and gravity, as well as the inability to predict the evolution of the universe, have set scientists on a quest for a better and possibly unified theory. This quest has yet to be successful, but some of its fruits include string theory, loop quantum gravity, and supersymmetry.

Andromeda Galaxy. Image from Wikipedia Commons.

However, far too many unresolved questions still remain in physics as well as far more questions remain in metaphysics…

Albert Einstein once remarked: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know”.

This appears to apply to physics on the whole, because as our models and theories get more successful, greater gaps in our knowledge become apparent.

But as I said many times before — the Metaphysics of today is tomorrows’ Physics.

And in my mind this is perhaps the best way to find the True particle of God, as we are looking towards the Heavens in order to understand our life here on this Earth.

Metaphysics is the only answer to all of our questions but it will take some effort to see God in the details of this Universe.

And that effort is all done through prayer and meditation, mindfully and stoutly.

Then the understanding arrives…

Yours,

Dr Churchill

PS:

And with today’s Metaphysics being tomorrow’s Physics — we seem to expect great growth in this marriage of convenience at the Church of Elvis in Las Vegas… between the Church and Science.

And for those of you who know about weddings — the marriage of Cadmus to Ariadne is that sort of thing.

Yet, for the aspiring Physicists as well as for the Doctors of the church, out there — please keep in mind that there is truly a lot of work to be done in order to understand the immutable laws of Physics and the Universe as well as those of God.

And that is why I shall continue the search for the God particle until the secret is revealed to us through the measure of Divine Grace that’s required for just such an endeavor.

Because there are also far too many simpler and yet still unanswered questions to be answered — your intelligent and rigorous intellectual work is much needed right now.

And as these basic and elemental questions still remain unresolved by the current level of Physics, our scientific understanding requires much development.

Therefore these questions can be food for thought for any Physics and Metaphysics contemplating mind out there.

Answers can be found by those who are willing to do this work.

And maybe you can do this and carry my baton to the finish line…

Do this research with an open mind and an understanding heart…

Do this.

Do this research unafraid.

After all searching for knowledge is the highest order of the day.

And the only potential adverse effect in our “Search for the God Particle” is that the Society of the High Priests of Science might not like your findings and decide to shut you up and burn you at the stake.

But this is not much for you because by then you would have risen far above that pitiful society of established knowledge and scientific humbug that you will have been in contact with God and nothing can really harm your eternal soul, so no worries there.

Of course you can undertake this research strictly for your own benefit and keep the results secret as so m have done before and believe you me — there are plenty of them out there populating the various contemplative Monasteries of our world as hesychastes often do…

Or you could undertake this research for any reason and even for practical things like knowing that the greatest prize in the World is the ability to peer into the eyes of God and know that he exists.

Or you can do this research for pedantic reasons such as an Academic post in a great university or because some honor and treasure awaits those who seek the admiration of their peers and colleagues – knowing that the Nobel prize awaits those whose mind serves at the search tool, and when they find new knowledge — they dare to express themselves boldly.

Yet, please close your eyes and contemplate the mysteries of the Search for the God particle that is only now beginning as Humans harken for meaning in these difficult times…

So go ahead and ask these questions… as some off-the-cuff questions follow our homily right here.

Questions such as these arise each and every day and yet not many serious thinkers have undertaken to seek their answers.

Here is a dozen of the most vexing conundrums of Physics that I am often asked.

Number one is: What causes the wave function to collapse in quantum states?

Closely followed by number two: Can our theory of gravity be reconciled with quantum theory?

Number Three: Why are the physical constants the way they are?

Number Four: Why did the evolution of the universe favor matter over anti-matter?

No 5: Why does time have a direction?

No 6: What are dark matter and dark energy if they are real?

No 7: What is the shape of the universe?

Number 8: Is it infinite or finite?

Number 9: Does it have a flat, open, or closed curvature?

No 10: Where do the Metaphysics fit in all of these questions?

No 11: Where is Spirituality in this world o rigorous Physics theorizing?

Number 12: Where is the real God particle?

Answer me these or even one of these and you’ll be my best friend forevermore…


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