Friday, April 12, 2024

RIP: Peter Higgs, OJ Simpson

One man gave us mass, the other was a mass murderer, maybe. At The Guardian, Peter Higgs, physicist who proposed Higgs boson, dies aged 94

Peter Higgs, the Nobel prize-winning physicist who proposed a new particle known as the Higgs boson, has died.

Higgs, 94, who was awarded the Nobel prize for physics in 2013 for his work in 1964 showing how the boson helped bind the universe together by giving particles their mass, died at home in Edinburgh on Monday.

After a series of experiments, which began in earnest in 2008, his theory was proven by physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider at Cern in Switzerland in 2012; the Nobel prize was shared with Fran├žois Englert, a Belgian theoretical physicist whose work in 1964 also contributed directly to the discovery.
. . .
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobel, said at the time the standard model of physics which underpins the scientific understanding of the universe “rests on the existence of a special kind of particle: the Higgs particle. This particle originates from an invisible field that fills up all space.

“Even when the universe seems empty this field is there. Without it, we would not exist, because it is from contact with the field that particles acquire mass. The theory proposed by Englert and Higgs describes this process.”

Sound a bit like the old idea of the "aether,"  the imaginary filler of the universe through which light waves were originally thought to propagate. 

OJ. I don't intend to relitigate the trial of Orenthal James Simpson for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Dan Goldman in Brentwood back in 1994. I suspect he was guilty, but I'm not totally convinced. Call it unreasonable doubt. There was enough evidence of police misconduct to a least take what they assert with a grain of salt. I've also heard (I forget where) a somewhat plausible version the events where one of Simpson's sons from a previous marriage committed the crime, but OJ stepped in to cover it up, explaining the forensic evidence.

I did have a personal encounter with OJ, prior to fame, in the late 1960s.  Back when he was a football player at USC, before the Heisman, a guy I worked with,  a black athlete from UCLA, occasionally hosted an unofficial poker game at the tropical fish store we both worked at. Yeah, it was that kind of place. Anyway, OJ Simpson was there one evening. Not a big deal, and it didn't make a big impression at the time, only later, after he got the Heisman, became a professional football player, actor, and all round celebrity. 

For a contrary view consult Stacy McCain at America Cries Out in Agony: ‘If Only Norm Macdonald Were Still Alive Today!’

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