The Society of Physics Students is set to introduce the Abilene community to a conversation on the Higgs boson, commonly referred to as the “God particle.”
The conversation, titled “The Search for the Higgs Boson,” is apart of SPS’s ongoing “Science Café” series aimed at promoting scientific discussion. Monks Coffee Shop will play host to SPS, speakers Austin Basye (’08) and Dr. Michael Daugherity, and anyone interested in participating. Spenser Lynn, SPS president, said the presentation will last about a half hour before the floor will be opened for questions.
“There won’t be any PowerPoints, no equations, anything like that,” said Lynn, senior physics major from White Oak. “It’s real conversation style.”
Bayse graduated from ACU with a degree in Physics in 2008 and is a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Bayse resides in France, working on the Atlas experiment, which possibly discovered the Higgs boson this summer. Lynn said he and Daugherity, assistant professor of engineering and physics, will fully dissect the Higgs boson.
“They’re going to kind of tag team it, go through the history of the Higgs boson,” Lynn said. “This has been an active part of research for the past forty years.”
The Higgs boson is a theoretical particle thought to be responsible for mass. A particle matching the description of the Higgs boson was discovered in 2012; research is ongoing to conclude if the particle actually is the Higgs boson or not.
“Really in a nutshell, the Higgs boson is responsible for mass,” Lynn said. “So, if the Higgs boson and the Higgs field don’t exist, you can’t have any particles with mass.”
SPS has conducted three Science Cafés, one per semester, beginning in Fall 2011. Attendance has regularly been between 20 and 30 people. Lynn said he wanted the Science Cafés to feel as little like a class as possible.
“We decided to do it at Monks because we wanted a more informal setting,” Lynn said. “We don’t want anyone to feel like this is a lecture.”
Though the topic of this Science Café is specifically on the Higgs boson, Lynn said participants can ask any questions they want. Additional professors will be in attendance to help aid discussion.
“We’ve had people ask about time travel, the Big Bang, nuclear power, all kinds of things,” Lynn said. “We kind of bill this as a time to ask a physicist any question.”
The Science Café will take place on March 19 at Monks and will begin at 7 p.m.