"Particle Fever": The Search for the Higgs Boson
David Kaplan is a professor of theoretical particle physics at Johns Hopkins University and studies supersymmetry, dark matter, and properties of the Higgs boson. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle, David held research positions at the University of Chicago and Stanford’s Linear Accelerator Center. He has been awarded the Outstanding Junior Investigator prize from the Department of Energy and named an Alfred P. Sloan fellow. He has been a featured host and consultant on science programs for the History Channel and National Geographic.
Some of the crazier sounding ideas that have been coming out in the last ten years is the idea of a multiverse. The fact that the laws of physics themselves are not fundamental as we measure them, they're a reflection of one possible way the physical reality could be. And the multiverse is a much more physical example of how you could imagine different possibilities of nature itself could be manifest. Here, where we measure things in our entire observable universe, and then what's outside of it. And while that all sounds very dramatic and exciting, it is both something that scientists can think about in great detail and try to figure out, and sociologically it's a little bit of a nightmare scenario; are we going to come to the point in this direction where the numbers we measure and the equations that sort of describe as much of physics as possible were really generated randomly? That they actually came out of a whole bath of the possible laws of physics, and the ones we measure are the ones that generate structure in our universe and therefore life and therefore human beings.
And so we are biased by what we measure by the fact that we're here and we're measuring it. That the universe, or part of the universe we're in has enough structure and complexity to produce humans or any sort of observer whatsoever, or at the very least planets or galaxies or stars. So that was the sort of drama, the deep drama that was actually going on in the mid 2000s when I decided that somebody needed to record this event. And what I knew [was that] whatever the LHC saw or didn't see, it would inform us along those lines. Emotionally it was going to be very dramatic no matter what. We didn't know we would discover the Higgs, that that would be the thing that people sort of hung on to. We the community knew, that this was so big and this was generational that it's going to affect everybody.
Physicist-turned-filmmaker David Kaplan talks about his film "Particle Fever" and the search for the Higgs Boson.
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