Higgs boson in fiction
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The Higgs boson has appeared in several works of fiction in popular culture. These references rarely reflect the expected properties of the hypothetical elementary particle, or do so only vaguely, and often imbue it with fantastic properties. Some examples are shown below.
In Dr. Norman P. Johnson's God's Spark, Science-based fictional novel, the Higgs Boson and the search for other fundamental elementary particles at the Large Hadron Collider beyond the Standard Model are an integral part of the plot. In the not too distant future,the LHC will be upgraded with more energy and intensity along with scintillating fiber optic detectors and super quantum computers that will push the discovery energies as close as possible to the Plank limit. This novel suggests that accidental discoveries of new super particles representing gigantic forces present only at the first few seconds of the Big Bang might be entirely possible and unpredictable. The story is fictional but it contains discussions of extensions to the Standard Model along with new astronomical problems such as Dark Matter and Dark Energy that clearly demonstrate significant discoveries beyond the Higgs sector is tantalizingly just beyond current technology. It also includes aspects of the current political conflict between fundamental religious dogma and fact-based science.
In the science fantasy series Lexx, it is said that planets which develop on a path similar to Earth are type 13 planets which are sometimes destroyed by all-out nuclear war, but it is much more common for such planets to be obliterated by physicists attempting to determine the precise mass of the Higgs boson particle. The particle colliders used to perform the calculations reach critical mass at the moment the mass of the particle is known, causing an implosion which destroys the planet and then collapses it into a nugget of super-dense matter "roughly the size of a pea." The mass of the particle was a repeating 131313 matching the name "type 13 planet" and this also is in the predicted range of the particle's mass.
In Steven Soderbergh's 2002 adaptation of Stanisław Lem's novel Solaris, the script has a reference to Higgs bosons, absent in the original book: "So, if we created a negative Higgs field, and bombarded them with a stream of Higgs anti-bosons, they might disintegrate."
In Brian Aldiss's White Mars, an expedition is established to go to Mars to find Higgs bosons which is believed to hold the key to solving the question of where mass comes from. The reason that Mars is considered is that Earth and the Moon are "too noisy" from all the human activity for the experiment. The way they go about it is by having a ring of superconductive fluid, Argon 36, and waiting till they see an error which will signify a Higgs particle has passed through the fluid.
In Robert J. Sawyer's Flashforward, an experiment at CERN to find the Higgs particle causes the consciousness of the entire human race to be temporarily sent twenty-one years into the future. Later, the experiment is repeated with the specific intention to view the future – however this time it instead creates the Higgs Boson.
Into the Looking Glass
In John Ringo's Into the Looking Glass, the University of Central Florida is destroyed by a 60 kiloton explosion that is first thought to be a nuclear weapon, but turns out to be a mishap from a Higgs boson research experiment. Following the explosion, gateways to other worlds are opened and a war with the aliens on the other side of the gates begins.
The God Particle
In Richard Cox's The God Particle, American business man Steve Keeley is thrown out of a window and falls three stories, then wakes up and begins to see the world in a different way; he is able to accurately predict future events, read others' thoughts, and manipulate his environment.
A Hole In Texas
In Herman Wouk's A Hole In Texas, the real science behind the Higgs boson is used as a backdrop for a satire on Washington politics, the chase for funding in scientific communities, and Hollywood blockbusters. In fact, the Hollywood portion of the satire has much to do with the wild flights of fancy in evidence in many of the other entries on this list. Much of the plot is based on the aborted Superconducting Super Collider project.
The particle also appears in other, non-narrative art forms:
- Frank Zappa's posthumously released album Trance-Fusion contains an instrumental track called 'Finding Higgs' Boson'.
- In the Japanese science fiction anime Martian Successor Nadesico 'boson jumping', which is shown as the activation of a sort of temporary subspace wormhole by bending the laws of physics, plays a large role in the plot. The name 'boson jump' comes from the (apparently incidental) increase of boson particles in the vicinity and the anime also includes mention of the advanced potential of the Wheeler–Feynman Time-Symmetric Theory.
- On the television show Numb3rs, Peter MacNicol's character, Dr. Larry Fleinhardt is working as part of a team in search of the Higgs boson.
- More realistically, CERN's Large Hadron Collider is the subject of a CERN-produced rap video featuring some of its own staff.
- On the day that the Large Hadron Collider was activated, BBC Radio 4 broadcast "Lost Souls", a science fiction radio drama set at CERN, dealing with the discovery of the Higgs boson.
- In the anime series Code Geass, the piloted robots called Knightmare Frames, make use of a flight pack that is said to generate a Higgs field in order to counteract the force of gravity.
- The Higgs boson is mentioned briefly on several occasions in the Angels & Demons film.
- The GN Particle in the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam 00, appears to be a name substitution for the Higgs boson particle as well as containing several of the property the Higgs boson is theorized to have.
- In an episode of Syfy's Eureka, they mention the possibility of finding the Higgs boson when using a rotating collider.
- Post-Rock band, Tides from Nebula, has a track on their album "Aura" called Higgs boson.
- The Coen brothers 2009 film, A Serious Man, reveals endless layers of references to particle physics, and to the Higgs boson explicitly.
- Electronic music group Shpongle has an EP called "The God Particle", released 2010.
- In an episode of The Big Bang Theory in which "Higgs Boson Particle" is the solution to Dr. Sheldon Cooper's Pictionary puzzle. Also mentioned in several more episodes.
- In the February 21, 2012 edition of the Dilbert comic strip by Scott Adams, Dilbert finds the Higgs boson, which immediately commands him to "build an ark."
- In the July 16, 2012 edition of the Arlo and Janis comic strip by Jimmy Johnson, Arlo and Janis are sitting at the kitchen table discussing the discovery of the Higgs boson. When Arlo explains, "It could be the reason we have weight and mass," Janis asks, "How many Higgs Bosons are in a slice of chocolate cake?", to which Arlo replies, "A lot!"
- In the Penguins of Madagascar episode, Endangerous Species, Kowalski's cloning machine's fuel supply is the Higgs Boson particle, which is lost in space when it explodes & Kowalski claimed there was only one in the known universe & he'd found it in Rico's stomach
- In the MMOG augmented reality game Ingress, research into the Higgs particle at CERN uncovers an alien infrastructure of exotic matter on Earth which the competing factions believe is either for the good or bane of humanity.
- "Little Blue Planet". Lexx.
- "Yo Way Yo". Lexx.
- This upper bound for the Higgs boson mass is a prediction within the minimal Standard Model assuming that it remains a consistent theory up to the Planck scale. In extensions of the SM, this bound can be loosened or, in the case of supersymmetry theories, lowered. The lower bound which results from direct experimental exclusion by LEP is valid for most extensions of the SM, but can be circumvented in special cases. G. Bernardi et al. Higgs bosons: theory and searches. pdg.lbl.gov. Updated May 2010
- Sawyer R., Flashforward, Tor Books, 1999, ISBN 0-312-86712-3
- Cox R., The God Particle, Random House, 2005, ISBN 978-0-345-46285-5
- Wouk H., A Hole in Texas, Little, Brown and Company, 2004, ISBN 0-316-52590-1
- Joshua Topolsky (2008-08-08). CERN rap video about the Large Hadron Collider creates a black hole of awesomeness. engadget.com
- Will Barras. CERN Rap. video. vimeo.com
- Dilbert comic strips archive at the official Dilbert website. Dilbert.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-06.
- Arlo and Janis comic strips archive. GoComics.com.