World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has conceded that he was likely wrong about his view that the Higgs boson doesn’t exist — an outcome he doesn’t find very exciting.
Speaking at the Beckman Auditorium in Caltech, Pasadena, Calif., on Tuesday (April 16), the British physicist who is famous for developing the theory behind evaporating black holes gave a public lecture on “The Origins of the Universe,” summarizing new revelations in modern astrophysics and cosmology. The auditorium was full and hundreds of fans poured onto campus to watch the “physics superstar” give his lecture on a huge screen set up on the lawn outside Beckman.
Hawking honed-in on the question “why something rather than nothing?” reasserting his point of view that a supernatural “god” is not needed to create the universe — quantum fluctuations helped shape our evolving universe at the Big Bang, adding the conditions were “just right” for life (and therefore us) to be asking these profound questions.
Hawking believes the answer to this big question lies in M-theory, an extension to superstring theory, and that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), located on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland, could start detecting hints of supersymmetric particles in the not-so-distant future.
Although much of the discussion was based around black holes, multiverses and the apparent incompatibilities of Einstein’s general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, he did have some time to comment on the recent discovery of the much-sought after Higgs boson.
“It looks like I’ve lost another bet,” Hawking joked during his presentation to the capacity audience.
Hawking famously placed a $100 bet against fellow physicist Gordon Kane of Michigan University on the Higgs boson not being discovered. But shortly after CERN announced that the LHC had discovered a “Higgs-like particle” on July 4, 2012, he admitted the odds of him winning the bet had become very slim.
“This is an important result and should earn Peter Higgs the Nobel Prize,” said Hawking in 2012. “But it is a pity in a way because the great advances in physics have come from experiments that gave results we didn’t expect.”
He reaffirmed this disappointment at Tuesday’s Caltech lecture, saying that although the world was wrapped up in excitement for the Higgs boson discovery, he “didn’t feel the same” — a sentiment shared by many of his colleagues…..