Hi — and welcome to this growing website.
The long-term goal of the site is to provide the public with both the background information needed to understand more about science in general — what it is, how it is done, what it means to modern life — and more specifically about what is happening to their investment in my field — particle physics. Meanwhile, I will also be providing some up-to-date information about what is happening in particle physics and other nearby subjects.
Since this site is still young, there are still many web-pages still to be constructed, and I will be adding things regularly. So when you visit the site, in addition to looking at any daily posts to the blog, please check also for new pedagogical or analytic articles that will be linked within the site. Those articles will remain up until they go out of date, and so my intention is that they be carefully written and pedagogically oriented.
Now — and I really mean this — if you find you don’t understand what I’ve written, please feel free to ask what you might think are “dumb” questions. In my view there are no dumb questions; it’s my fault if you don’t understand. The goal of the site is to be clear to the public, and the only way I can figure out where I am failing to make things transparent is to hear back from you.
Where might you start? Well, one of my most pedagogical starting points (as of 1/15/2013) would be this article
- The Structure of Matter (a still-incomplete series of articles that will eventually link up with the one below.)
- The Known Apparently-Elementary Particles
- Most Particles Decay — But Why? (Yet … some types of particles don’t decay! Why not?)
If you want to go further into the details of what particle physicists are doing right now, try
which might lead you to wonder “what are protons?” (which is what the Large Hadron Collider [LHC] usually smashes)
- What’s a Proton? (read this one first)
- What’s a Hadron? (not essential, as you’ll see, but here if you need it)
and also how one does measurements at such a machine
- The Higgs FAQ
- Why the Higgs Particle Matters (my most popular article, for laypersons)
- Why the Higgs Matters, in a Few Sentences (for those with even less time.)
- The Discovery of the Higgs (more precisely, of the Higgs-like particle that I and most of my colleagues are pretty confident is a Higgs particle)
You can also learn about some of the speculative ideas that particle physicists have been considering, and which they are looking for (among other things) at the Large Hadron Collider. These include supersymmetry and extra dimensions.