Higgs Boson: Case Study on an infamous prediction that came true

Definitions:

  • Forecasting (business context): relies on empirical relationships that were created from observations, theory, and consistent patterns, which can have assumptions and limitations that are either known or unknown to give the future state of a certain event (Seeman, 2002). For instance forecasting, income from a simple income statement could help provide key data for how a company is operating, but the assumptions and limitations on using this method can wipe out a business (Garrett, 2013).
  • Predictions (business context): are a more general term in which, is a statement of a future state of a certain event, that can be based on empirical relationships, strategic foresight, or even scenario planning (Seeman, 2002; Ogilvy, 2015).
  • Scenarios: alternate futures that change with time as supportive and challenging forces unfold, usually containing enough data like the likelihood of success or failure, the story of the landscape, innovative opportunities, challenges to be faced, signals, etc. (Ogilvy, 2015; Wade, 2012).

Case Study: An infamous prediction that came true

The Higgs Boson helps tell the origin of mass in the universe (World Science Festival, 2013). Mass is the resistance of an object to be pushed and pulled by other objects or forces in the universe, and mass is made up of the constitute particles of that object (Greene, 2013; PBS Space-Time, 2015; World Science Festival, 2013).  The question is where does the mass of these particles that give an object its mass comes from?  The universe if filled with an invisible Higgs Field, in which these particles are swimming in and experiencing a form of resistance (when the particle speeds up or slows down), this resistance in the Higgs Field is the mass of the particles (Greene, 2013; World Science Festival, 2013).  Certain particles have mass (electrons), and others don’t (photons), this is because the certain particles interact with the invisible Higgs Field (PBS Space-Time, 2015). Scientist use the large Hadron Collider to speed up particles in such a way that when they collided in the correct way (1:1,000,000,000 chance), the particles’ collisions would be able to clump a bit of the Higgs Field to create a Higgs particle that lasted for a 10-22 second (Greene, 2013; PBS Space-Time, 2015; World Science Festival, 2013). Therefore, finding the Higgs particle is a direct link to proving that the existence of the Higgs field (PBS Space-Time, 2015).

The importance of proving this prediction correct (World Science Festival, 2013):

  • Understanding where mass comes from
  • The Higgs particle is a new form of particle that doesn’t spin
  • Shows that mathematics lead the way to discovering something about our reality

This was a prediction in the waiting to be confirmed through observation for over 50 years, which got its roots in the form of scientific and mathematical roots of quantum physics and by Higgs in 1964 (Greene, 2013; PBS Space-Time, 2015; World Science Festival, 2013).

Supporting Forces for the prediction:

  • Technological: the development of technology to study mathematics over the course of 50 years helped facilitate the discovery of this prediction (Greene, 2013; World Science Festival, 2013). The actual technology use is called the ATLAS detector attached to the Large Hadron Collider (Greene, 2013).
  • Financial: Through international collaboration from thousands of scientists and over a dozen of countries, they were able to amass the financial capital to build this $10 Billion Large Hadron Collider.

References:

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