Web edition: September 21, 2012
Print edition: October 6, 2012; Vol.182 #7 (p. 31)
Tom Siegfried’s essay “Behind the Higgs” (SN: 7/28/12, p. 26) may be the best piece of science journalism I’ve seen. He explained enough about the Higgs boson’s importance in the scheme of things for me to read about different aspects of the work and see how they fit into the whole picture, but even more, to get how impressive the symmetry of the picture is (pun intended) and how validating of the scientific method itself the work has been.
Ed Sylvester, Tempe, Ariz.
I love aha moments, and though there has been tons of press on the Higgs boson, it wasn’t until I read Tom Siegfried’s editorial “Nature’s Secrets Foretold (SN: 7/28/12, p. 28) that I finally had one for Higgs! I looked at a couple supposedly explanatory pieces on the Huffington Post, and even watched the YouTube videos, saving this piece for last. This fine piece described the origination of Higgs after sufficient cooling and a split between electromagnetic and weak forces. I was merrily taking notes until….
You should have given a spoiler alert! I have saved the last Harry Potter book for a marathon reading session and had been very careful never to have found out the ending. Boo on you! But thanks again for the article.
Linda Mendoza, Chico, Calif.
You had no choice under the circumstances but to try to explain the nature of the Higgs boson and how it relates to everyday experiences — a tall order. But you did a great job. I hadn’t thought of considering the emergence of the Higgs field as a phase change or condensation. I appreciate the work you and the staff do tackling the breadth and depth of all the material you cover. Great work!
John Bodine, Naperville, Ill.
Amidst the articles on the discovery of the Higgs boson, it seemed that the Higgs was highly unstable and its existence was deduced only from the decay of daughter particles. So how does the Higgs particle exist in a stable form in order to create the Higgs field?
Karl Veit, Arlington, Va.
The Higgs boson doesn’t create the Higgs field; it is a mathematically required consequence of the fact that the Higgs field exists. The boson’s existence merely signals that the field is there. —Alexandra Witze
The article “Male contraceptive shows promise” (SN: 7/28/12, p. 11) incorrectly stated sperm counts as “per cubic milliliter”; it should have said “per milliliter.”