The Hay Festival has ended, but reports from this enormous festival do not. Here’s another dispatch from George Binning:
If you ever have the opportunity to see Rolf Heuer, the director general of CERN, talk, I strongly believe it is your duty as a member of the human race to go and see him. I cannot begin to describe how phenomenally important the work of the Large Hadron Collider will be, suffice to say it is the oracle of modern times, which will hopefully allow us to identify the Higgs Boson Particle, the particle which will account for the existence of mass within the standard model of particle physics.
After comprehensively guiding Heuer through the mechanisms and theory of the LHC, John Snow asked, “If we don’t find the Higgs Boson, does that necessarily mean it does not exist?” “We know every property of the Higgs Boson, except that it exists. If we don’t find it there must be something else,” he replied, “The difficulty comes in knowing when we can say we definitely haven’t found it.”
Heuer was unsure as to the possibility of being able to harvest free energy from splitting the Higgs Boson, but assured the audience that the quest for free energy had no bearing on the scientists at CERN.
Instead it was clear that their work on this 20 year experiment was almost as much a philosophical quest as a scientific one.