Article from the “Journal et Feuille d’Avis du Valais et de Sion” (Switzerland), september 1945 about the “Tower of Muzot” where Rilke lived between 1921-1926. 

Muzot (or Musotte) was built circa 1260 by Guillaume de Blonay who bought this noble property from Aymon, son of Boson and married Hotet de Venthôme. Over the centuries, the castle belonged successively to the  Sires of Châtillon, to Pierre de la Bâtiaz (1375), to the Platea and the De Chevron whose daughter Isabelle become united by marriage to the Family De Montheys (or Monthéïs). In 1921, it was purchased by Swiss merchant and arts patron Werner Reinhart who then invited Rilke to live there rent-free.

In which I explain the Higgs Boson to my girlfriend, who is a biologist not a physicist.
  • Alex Wright:ok, so, first I should explain what a Boson is
  • Krista:ok
  • coles notes version please
  • Alex Wright:
  • alright, so, a boson is a field mediating particle, like a photon
  • are you familiar with the electromagnetic field?
  • Krista:
  • yes
  • Alex Wright:
  • ok, so the photon is the boson that mediates the electromagnetic field.
  • the field, and force, doesn't exist without and is made up of photons. If you excite the field to a certain energy, photons are released.
  • and we can observe them
  • Krista:
  • yes I understand that
  • Alex Wright:
  • it's like when you slosh around a bucket of water and some of the water at the surface splashes up into a drop separate from the larger body of water
  • ok, so that's the basics of bosons
  • the Higgs boson is a very special type of boson
  • You know that atoms are essentially 98% empty space, yes?
  • Krista:
  • ok
  • Alex Wright:
  • you've got your nucleus, and the electrons are floating around about as far away as jupiter from the sun, if we're talking scale here.
  • Krista:
  • yes
  • I know that
  • Alex Wright:
  • so most of the universe is about 98% nothing
  • but this doesn't really make sense, because if it was truly empty, everything would be zooming around at the speed of light
  • einstein's general relativity tells us that the thing that keeps particles form zooming about at light speed is mass.
  • some particles don't have mass, like photons and electrons, which obviously travel at light speed.
  • Krista:
  • ok
  • Alex Wright:
  • but what creates mass?
  • 50 years ago, a smart guy named Peter Higgs suggested that that 98% of empty space wasn't empty at all, he hypothesized that this empty space was actually completely saturated with the Higgs Field
  • the Higgs field acts like a quantum molasses which slows down these particles as they travel through space.
  • Krista:
  • ooo cool
  • Alex Wright:
  • so, he proposed this 50 years ago, and described the phenomenon with mathematics, and it made sense
  • but the problem was, the Higgs field has such high energy, and because of Einstein's E=mc^2 equation, such high mass properties, it takes an immense amount of energy to excite the field enough to observe the particle
  • and then they did
  • Krista:
  • ohhh
  • Ok. wow I actually get it.
  • a few seconds ago
  • Alex Wright:
  • Yay
  • Krista:
  • you should post that explanation.
  • because every other one makes no sense.

Go, go boson! François Englert and Peter Higgs get the Nobel Prize in Physics

You may have heard of the Higgs boson — that elusive little thing that explains a lot about our universe? Well, so has the Swedish Royal Academy of Science, and, today, its members awarded physicists François Englert and Peter Higgs the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work theorizing its existence, a postulate later confirmed by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Hooray, CERN!

At TEDx, we’re no stranger to the fascinating science going down at the home of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. In fact, CERN just held their first TEDx event this May — TEDxCERN! As part of the event, CERN scientists teamed up with our friends at TED-Ed to create some amazing animations on the stuff they study.

So, for all of you who wanna learn about particle physics, but don’t exactly have the time to win a Nobel Prize, two animated lessons — one on the Higgs and the other, well, just on the beginning of the universe:

The basics of the Higgs boson
In 2012, scientists at CERN discovered evidence of the Higgs boson — a particular game-changer in the field of particle physics — key to understanding how particles gain mass. Using the Socratic method, CERN scientists Dave Barney and Steve Goldfarb explain the exciting implications of the Higgs boson.

The beginning of the universe, for beginners
How did the universe begin — and how is it expanding? CERN physicist Tom Whyntie shows how cosmologists and particle physicists explore these questions by replicating the heat, energy and activity of the first few seconds of our universe, from right after the Big Bang.

(Above, extraordinary photos of CERN, all copyright CERN and their photographers.)

Watch on

“What the Higgs is going on?”

The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics hosted a live-streamed Q&A earlier today to clarify the CERN Higgs Boson announcements for a non-physicist audience. 

Here it is replayed in full, enjoy!

(via Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics)

Peter Higgs

Born on May 29th, 1929 - Peter Higgs is best known for his proposal of the Higgs mechanism. Currently he serves as Professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh. 

Higgs’ proposal says that particles were massless when the universe began, and acquired mass a fraction of a second later when interacting with the so-called Higgs field. He postulated that this field permeates all of space, and gives all elementary subatomic particles that interact with it their mass. The Higgs field is thought to interact and cause all of the mass in quarks and leptons, but only causes a tiny portion of the masses of other subatomic particles, such as protons and neutrons. In these larger particles, gluons that bind the quarks together to form them create most of the mass.
Higgs boson 'God particle' close to capture, CERN scientists say

The most coveted prize in particle physics – the Higgs boson – may have been glimpsed, say researchers reporting at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva. The particle is purported to be the means by which everything in the Universe obtains its mass. Scientists say that two experiments at the LHC see hints of the Higgs at the same mass, fuelling huge excitement. But the LHC does not yet have enough data to claim a discovery.

What is the Higgs Boson?

The Standard Model:

In order to truly understand what the Higgs boson is, however, we need to examine one of the most prominent theories describing the way the cosmos works: the standard model. The model comes to us by way of particle physics, a field filled with physicists dedicated to reducing our complicated universe to its most basic building blocks. It’s a challenge we’ve been tackling for centuries, and we’ve made a lot of progress. First we discovered atoms, then protons, neutrons and electrons, and finally quarks and leptons (more on those later). But the universe doesn’t only contain matter; it also contains forces that act upon that matter. The standard model has given us more insight into the types of matter and forces than perhaps any other theory we have.

Here’s the gist of the standard model, which was developed in the early 1970s: Our entire universe is made of 12 different matter particles and four forces [source: European Organization for Nuclear Research]. Among those 12 particles, you’ll encounter six quarks and six leptons. Quarks make up protons and neutrons, while members of the lepton family include the electron and the electron neutrino, its neutrally charged counterpart. Scientists think that leptons and quarks are indivisible; that you can’t break them apart into smaller particles. Along with all those particles, the standard model also acknowledges four forces: gravity, electromagnetic, strong and weak.

As theories go, the standard model has been very effective, aside from its failure to fit in gravity. Armed with it, physicists have predicted the existence of certain particles years before they were verified empirically. Unfortunately, the model still has another missing piece – the Higgs boson. What is it, and why is it necessary for the universe the standard model describes to work?

The Higgs Boson:

As it turns out, scientists think each one of those four fundamental forces has a corresponding carrier particle, or boson, that acts upon matter. That’s a hard concept to grasp. We tend to think of forces as mysterious, ethereal things that straddle the line between existence and nothingness, but in reality, they’re as real as matter itself.

Some physicists have described bosons as weights anchored by mysterious rubber bands to the matter particles that generate them. Using this analogy, we can think of the particles constantly snapping back out of existence in an instant and yet equally capable of getting entangled with other rubber bands attached to other bosons (and imparting force in the process).

Scientists think each of the four fundamental ones has its own specific bosons. Electromagnetic fields, for instance, depend on the photon to transit electromagnetic force to matter. Physicists think the Higgs boson might have a similar function – but transferring mass itself.

Can’t matter just inherently have mass without the Higgs boson confusing things? Not according to the standard model. But physicists have found a solution. What if all particles have no inherent mass, but instead gain mass by passing through a field? This field, known as a Higgs field, could affect different particles in different ways. Photons could slide through unaffected, while W and Z bosons would get bogged down with mass. In fact, assuming the Higgs boson exists, everything that has mass gets it by interacting with the Higgs field. Unlike other fields, the all-powerful Higgs field occupies the entire universe, so nothing is outside of its reach. But like all fields, the Higgs one would need a carrier particle to affect other particles, and that particle is known as the Higgs boson.

On July 4, 2012, scientists working with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) announced their discovery of a particle that behaves the way the Higgs Boson should behave. The results, while published with a high degree of certainty, are still somewhat preliminary. Some researchers are calling the particle “Higgslike” until the findings – and the data – stand up to more scrutiny. Regardless, this finding could usher in a period of rapid discovery about our universe.

Read on for Lots More Information…