SEA TO SHINING SEA: Just how fast is a Higgs Boson?
XENIA, OHIO — DAY 66 - July 18, 2013 - His T-shirt said "I am the Higgs Boson." The back said: "You can't catch me." His name was Eric and he and Phil helped us find our way onto the the Great Miami River Trail near downtown Dayton, Ohio.
So what about the Higgs Boson? It must be pretty fast if it can't be caught. My simple-minded understanding of the Higgs Boson is similar to my understanding of what happened to Elma Bryan when she went from Lewes to Japan for a trip. Because of the way she flew home around the globe from Japan - time zones and all that - she ended up back in Lewes before she had left Japan.
The Higgs Boson is some kind of theoretical, super-small particle that can only be created at super-high speeds. The way I understand it is that when scientists go about measuring the speed of the Higgs Boson, created in the world's most advanced accelerating machines when atoms collide, the Higgs Boson actually shows up before the scientists start measuring its arrival. In other words, it gets there before it leaves. Kind of like Mrs. Bryan coming home from Japan. Something starts happening in another dimension that we're only just starting to get glimpses of.
How can you catch something that is always ahead of your effort to catch it? Seems impossible huh? How about turning water into wine? Where do faith and science intersect? Where do faith and science diverge?
In Cuba many years ago, while standing in the aura of an abandoned French sugar plantation ruin and listening to our guide talking about extra sensory perception and what the mind can perceive beyond the usual physical dimensions, a discussion ensued. In an hour, we concluded that just because we can't prove something is true doesn't mean it isn't true.
And so the scientists continue to try to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson which defies our usual understanding of linear time.
While I was still pondering Phil's T-shirt, Eric pointed out the license tag on the front of his Saab station wagon. It says HWY 61ER. "Do you know what that means?" Thought for a moment. Route 66? Nope. No bell ringing. Phil started reciting lyrics from a song. It had to do with God asking Abraham to sacrifice a son, and the whole Cain and Abel story. Meet me out on Highway 61. "Dylan song," he said. "I thought of it when I found myself on a highway numbered 61 a few years ago."
I can tell you, with a strong enough cup of coffee and enough time, we could have a dialogue and connect all the dots between Eric's Higgs Boson and Phil's Highway 61.
Thanks for hanging with me. You run into this stuff as you roll through these towns and then it starts beating around in your brain.
We're on the most amazing system of trails we've found yet here in southern Ohio. From a place called Xenia Station, in a town that calls itself the bicycle hub of Ohio, long trails radiate out in five different directions. Tomorrow we will ride one for 30 miles from Xenia to London, and then on to Columbus. Phil said this system of trails in Ohio includes more than 300 miles of connecting trails. Soon there will be one continuous trail that connects Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. The Ohio to Erie Trail, I think.
We did 58 miles today. Total is now up to 2,625 miles.
You know, it's hard enough to even think about Higgs Bosons, much less try to catch one. Now you have all weekend to think about it.
Follow our cross-country bicycle journey on Facebook by liking Sea to Shining Sea »