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"99% of the Mass of the Visible Universe Not Explained by CERN's Discovery of Higgs Boson"




To get a grasp on what holds these visible forms of matter together—everything from stars to planets to people—you have to understand how quarks and gluons interact. That's the essence of quark matter physics—and the Quark Matter 2012 international conference, taking place in Washington, D.C., August 12-18. "We're studying the 99 percent of the mass of the visible universe that isn't explained by the Higgs," says Peter Steinberg, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and a participant in the Quark Matter conference.

Visible matter, he explains, is everything made of atoms, which get their mass mainly from the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei. The electrons orbiting around the nucleus contribute practically nothing. But the protons and neutrons, each made of three quarks, are much more massive than the sum of their constituent particles. Where does all the "extra" mass come from?

The answer, physicists believe, lies in how the quarks interact via the exchange of gluons, massless particles that hold the quarks together via nature's strongest force, and interactions among the gluons themselves. To tease apart the features of this force, which gets stronger and stronger if you try to pull the subatomic quarks apart, physicists accelerate atomic nuclei (a.k.a. heavy ions) to near light speed, where the gluons become dominant, and then steer them into head-on collisions at particle accelerators like the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven and the Large Hadron Collider in Europe.

These collisions recreate conditions that last existed early in the universe, before quarks joined up to form protons and neutrons. Studying the behavior of "free" quarks and gluons in this primordial quark-gluon plasma should help scientists better understand the strong force, and how it generates so much of the mass we see when the particles coalesce to form ordinary matter.

So, while visible matter accounts for a mere fraction of the total universe—just five percent, the rest being composed of dark matter and mysterious dark energy—it's enough to provide physicists like Steinberg with a lifetime of work.

The Daily Galaxy via Brookhaven National Laboratory


I like tho think back to a time when science and physics were a lot simpler than they are now ............, but then I keep getting this insane idea that maybe they really were simpler, and all our messing around, and poking and proding here and there really is making the universe more complex.

It's almost as if we were pro-active instead of re-active in determining the make-up of the cosmos.

How's that for an Uncertainty Principle.

Think of an intelligent computer program attempting to figure out what software component "bits" are made of, or attempting to discern how it's progam evolved starting from the "big bang" on the picosecond the ON switch was pressed to present day. Without some sort of an interface that allows it to know about the underlying "hardware", it can never understand what "bits" are made of. The universe is a simulation....

How could they take 99% of the (possibly) infinite?

So much for the "God" particle (for crying out loud)!

Roman, I share your concern about the carelessness with which finity and infinity are interchanged. The human mind has a bit of a hard time understanding how "infinite" necessarily needs to be made up of uncountable elements of "finite".

@Roman, George

99% of the VISIBLE universe!

Sam you are right, this was an oversight. Whether or not the visible universe is expanding into an infinite universe or into empty space or into nothingness, and whether or not space itself is expanding, the total mass of the visible universe should be finite at any given moment in time.

i wonder too how scientists rejoiced after getting confirmation about Higg;s boson, as if they have understood the origin of mass and gravity in the universe fully. The mystery about quark gluons existence and explanation of dark matter/energy constituting 95 % of our Universe is still missing from the totality of the picture. We need to put our heads and minds together religiously before announcing the triumphs of science!

Just before this one goes into archives, is there anyone who can answer the following question:

If space itself (apart from the material objects within it) is expanding, is the Planck Lenth also expanding?

Reference (Wikipedia):

In physics, the Planck Length, denoted ℓP, is a unit of length, equal to 1.616199(97)×10−35 metres. It is a base unit in the system of Planck units. The Planck length can be defined from three fundamental physical constants: the speed of light in a vacuum, Planck's constant, and the gravitational constant.

Although an accelerating body's motion is changing relative to other bodies, it is motionless (zero) relative to space. It is impossible to move from one part of space to another part, it is all one. The body's energy level relative to space itself ("space energy level") does however, increase as a force is exerted on it. This is perceived as an increase in the inertial mass of the body. In a cyclotron (particle accelerator) a proton becomes more massive as it accelerates. Its energy level relative to space itself (space energy level) increases. When a force is exerted on an accelerating body it always has two changes in its energy level, one relative to other bodies (vector) or reference frames (momentum) and one relative to space (inertial mass), the absolute reference (scalar) frame.

Ths knowledge is healing......quantum physics rule

I think we should all be thankful that the existence of the Higgs Boson has been confirmed, inasmuch as it contributes to the completion of the Standard Model of Particle Physics. We are just slightly aghast at the fact that it apparently did not lead straight into the "new era of physics" as such discovery was hailed to be capable of.

Hey just happened, give it a second...O.K.

The Higgs boson creates 2% of the visible matter through
electroweak symmetry breaking. The other 98% are created by strong
interaction where the mediating particle is the sigma meson. In low-energy QCD the relevant degrees of freedom of the nucleon are constituent quarks and mesons whereas gluon do not play any role. The constituent quarks consist of current quarks surrounded by qbarq pairs accumulated from the QCD vacuum. Gluons do not play a role in low-energy QCD and the nucleons are not glueballs. For details see "Nambu's Nobel Prize, the sigma meson and the mass of visible matter." Martin Schumacher, Ann. Phys. (Berlin) 526, 215 (2014); arXiv:1403.7804 [hep-ph].

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