Friday, 18 November 2011

The Higgs Boson

Higgs - lost his Boson
Fantasy Bob reads the heart warming news that physicists are near the end of their search for Higg's Boson.  To be honest, to FB all physicist type talk is a challenge.  Apparently they consider the boson is a fundamental particle that gives all other matter its mass.

Well FB takes their word for it, whatever they mean by it.  But what he doesn't fully understand is what it has to do with Ken Higgs, the English seam bowler of the 1960s.  In the 1966 series with West Indies he was England's leading wicket taker with 24 wickets in which top order batters dominate.  In his 15 Tests he took 71 wickets at 20.74.  So he wasn't bad.   Higgs was a Wisden cricketer of the year in 1968, but FB was surprised on checking the records to see that he played only 15 Tests.   FB remembers him being an England fixture in the days of black and white cricket embellished by Peter West's terse commentaries.  So FB's memory is obviously unreliable and no doubt he has just forgotten Peter West's explanations of Ken Higgs' boson. 

But over the years FB thinks he has worked it out.  FB's memory of Higgs is of a powerfully built fair haired man with a curving run.  But he particularly remembers his low slung and powerful gluteus maximus straining hard against his trousers in his run up - or to use the technical term, his big arse.  (FB has been unable to unearth any action shot of Higgs so you will just have to take his word for this).  This was certainly have been something that gave quite a lot of matter its mass - so FB has no doubt that it was the boson.  Though how Higgs lost it is a mystery.  But lost it he must have, and his Test career was over after only 15 matches.

West -
commentating on the Big Bang
Anyway, they are closing in on the boson, for deep under the ground in Switzerland, in the Brad Haddin Collider they accelerate a stream of protons to almost the speed of light, then colliding it with another proton stream travelling just as fast in the opposite direction, to create the conditions like those which existed just one-billionth of a second after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years go, ie around the time Peter West started commentating.  With any luck the boson will be there in that banging and crashing and Ken Higgs will be whole again.

This might seem a big effort to reunite the fine Lancashire bowler with his arse muscle.  But FB is sure he deserves it.  Higgs will be 75 in January.  He has a special place in FB's cricket memory.

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