A rendering from the LHC that might represent a decaying Higgs boson. (Image: CERN)

WARNING:  This is so far above both our heads, that we’ll probably get cramps in our necks trying to see it.

Scientists at The Large Hadron Collider, in Geneva, Switzerland, are announcing the discovery of what appears to be the Higgs Boson.  They’re claiming “Sigma 5” confidence, which means they’re 99.9999% sure they’ve discovered evidence of a particle that behaves exactly as predicted for the Higgs Boson.  Apparently they didn’t find the particle itself, but have detected the expected decay energy of a Higgs Boson.

I’m not even going to try to explain any of it, I’d probably just get it wrong, anyway.  Go first to this site, Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy, then to this site, The Mother Nature Network, for much better explanations than I could ever come up with.

You’ve heard of this particle before.  Sure you have.  This is “The God Particle“.  See, I knew you’d heard of it.  I don’t know if this is 42 or not, or the grand unifier, but it is a huge leap forward for particle and quantum physics.

It’s also an important indicator of something else.

It wasn’t discovered in the United States.  American scientists, at an American institution of education and research, did not make this discovery.  It was made in Europe.  At a European facility.

The Europeans discovered this, not us.

The Russians rent us space on their rockets to get astronauts into orbit.  We currently do not have a manned rocket system.  Our access to space is to call the Russian taxi.

The Chinese have a manned rocket system.  They recently launched 3 astronauts to their own brand new space station.

We’ve given up the high ground, and it’s going to take us a long time to recapture it.  Science and education in the United States is in a dismal state of affairs.

We don’t value science and education the way we used to in this country.  President Obama is trying to make higher education available to more students, but his opponent seems to be trying to do everything he can to make it more expensive.  His only comments on the issue seem to be “get the best education you can afford”.

Other countries have figured it out, I don’t see why we haven’t.  But, never fear.  We have Snookie, The Bachelor, and Beavis and Butt-head to keep us entertained.  What could possibly go wrong?