Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Higgs Hides Still (Poem)

Example of Simulated Data
Modeled on Large Hadron Collider at CERN*
© CERN PhotoLab / Experiments and Tracks

Higgs Hides Still

What do they matter,
        these quarks and electrons?

Higgs hides, still, holding
        the one key to the hole

in our understanding
        of the universe,

giving our search for it
        a mass we cannot

move through the space
        we occupy without falling

into darkness. It's been ages
        and nobody's found it,

yet, the world keeps spinning.
        Underground, at CERN, protons

collide with themselves
        at greatest speed and particles

now smaller are sifted for signs
        the scientists are on the right

track. God, they will tell you,
        never enters their equations.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas

* Explanation here.

Last fall, the quest to find Higgs boson was all over the news, following experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle accelerator, in Geneva, Switzerland; it was reported that those tests offered clues to the so-called "God particle" that would explain the existence of mass. (See, for example: "Q&A: The Higgs boson" at BBC, December 13, 2011; "What is the Higgs boson and why is it important?" at CNN, December 14, 2011;"Higgs Boson: One Page Explanation"; and "Physicists find 'tantalizing hints' of Higgs Boson 'God particle'" at Los Angeles Times. In addition to a video, the latter references in a sidebar an additional noteworthy resource that explains how the collider works. Another video containing CERN animations is here.) I found fascinating this need to explain, and tried to reduce to poetic form a bit of the search for the elusive. 

CERN, European Organization for Nuclear Research

Higgs Boson (Dedicated Website)

Live Science Gallery: Search for the Higgs Boson (A model in LEGOS of the Large Hadron Collider is shown in photo 5.)


Kathleen said...

Thanks for all this. Some of us are now eagerly awaiting Higgs-Boson: The Musical! with a chorus line of dancing God particles. (It happens over and over again in our minds.)

Louise Gallagher said...

I love how you've put this in context -- and used poetry, that old and ancient and soul-driven form to express it.


Jenne' R. Andrews said...

The collision of science with mystery is a wonderful subject for a poem. You do it great justice! God is in the equation... xxxj

KatieC said...

I love all the poetry I've read today, and this definitely got added to my list! Nice work :)

Claudia said...

wow nice maureen - love how you blend science and religion..and thanks for the great explanation as well..

Brian Miller said...

guess that does not make them very smart now does it...but let them search and perhaps they will find it eventually smiles..

Anonymous said...

This speaks so much of how we can look straight at something and still not see it.

Jannie Funster said...

This is way cool. I always love hearing about stars and protons -- all the mystery of creation and love hurtling here and there in the veins still spilling out of The Big Bang.

Debbie said...

That image is a thing of beauty! Thanks for posting it.

S. Etole said...

Your words had me searching.

Scarlet said...

Nice reflections. I specially like that last 2 lines. S. Hawking, a great scientist, said that Science makes God unnecessary. Ironic, isn't it?

hedgewitch said...

I think it's as impossible for us to not search for it as it may be to find it--we are compelled to take it upon ourselves to answer the unanswerable, at which I think your poem does a better job.

~L said...

full of creativity!!!

Semaphore said...

I love the ambition in this poem. You may (or may not) know it, but I have a Ph.D. in physics, and some of my best friends work at CERN. So I appreciate how tricky it is to distill the physics into poetry...good job.

For the record, I am also a strong believer in God's hand behind both the cosmic and the subatomic.

Ruth said...

Clever you, right off at the opening.

Yes, poetry is the perfect method for finding God particles.

Anonymous said...

Particle and quantum physics is all so fascinating, because I think it somehow hints at the mysteries of God's creation - paradoxical yet sensible; unknowable yet always seeking; invisible yet real.

I also have kept track of this Higgs Boson. We'll see what the scientists come up with!

And for you to create a poem about it! Well done, Maureen.

Margaret said...

God did give the scientists a fabulously inquisitive mind... Science and God is always fascinating.

It's been ages
and nobody's found it,

yet, the world keeps spinning.

LIked that a lot... I guess we don't always HAVE to know why, but it seems a human "condition". It IS they most frequently asked question in my house... (six children:)

Maureen said...

Thank you for all the wonderful comments!

Sam, I did not know about your degree in physics or your friends at CERN. You have a fabulous background.

Krista Tippett has written a book, "Einstein's God", about scientists' views about the creation of the world and God's hand in it. I recommend it. Tippett also has done public radio programs on the subject.

Britton Minor said...

I have always found no black hole in my belief that science and God are inextricably entwined...

Likewise, your poetry always stirs both my mind and my soul-a testament to your intelligence, spirituality and great talent.

Beachanny said...

Loved this, Maureen. Yes, I have kept an eye on this since the beginning. The supercollider in Texas was disassembled after my husband died. He always believed fusion would happen in his lifetime. He was a physicist and mathematician, an engineer and a man with an ever curious mind. I miss him more every day. I await the finding of that unknown particle with weight, and the day that particles fuse and atomic waste becomes fuel and we know the true power of the sun. Kudos, my dear! Hail Hail to what Britton Minor said above!

Monica Sharman said...

Those first two lines are brilliant. I read them and stopped with a ridiculously big smile on me.