Hawking says he lost $100 bet over Higgs discovery

Jul 04, 2012
British scientist Stephen Hawking gives a lecture at KU Leuven university in Belgium in 2011. Hawking said Wednesday the Nobel Prize should be given to Peter Higgs, the man who gave his name to the Higgs boson particle. Former Cambridge University professor Hawking also joked that the discovery had actually cost him $100 in a bet.

Renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking said Wednesday the Nobel Prize should be given to Peter Higgs, the man who gave his name to the Higgs boson particle.

Former Cambridge University professor Hawking also joked that the discovery had actually cost him $100 in a bet.

In an interview with the BBC Wednesday, Hawking, who has , said: "This is an important result and should earn Peter Higgs the .

"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.

"For this reason I had a bet with Gordon Kane of Michigan University that the wouldn't be found. It seems I have just lost $100."

After half a century of research, physicists announced at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) Wednesday they had found a new sub-atomic particle consistent with the elusive Higgs boson which is believed to confer mass.

Hawking said the discovery was of major importance.

"If the decay and other interactions of this particle are as we expect, it will be strong evidence for the so-called standard model of particle physics, the theory that expains all our experiments so far," Hawking said.

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AtlasT
2 / 5 (15) Jul 04, 2012
Such a bet is essentially useless random informational noise, if we don't understand actual motivations of prof. Hawking (I mean other than just PR of Hawking's person).
jostroud50
1 / 5 (1) Jul 04, 2012
Not only should Peter Higgs get the Noble Prize but also the organization CERN since they worked so hard over the years to find out whether the particle existed. It was great work.
Nikstlitselpmur
2 / 5 (8) Jul 04, 2012
"It's a fantastic day -- it's a beautiful moment for physics, for Cern and it is a real beginning, because what we see, it looks like a Higgs boson, but not quite," said CERN research director Sergio Bertolucci.
Pay him off with a hundred dollar bill, that looks like a hundred, but not quite.
IronhorseA
2 / 5 (4) Jul 04, 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.
"For this reason I had a bet with Gordon Kane of Michigan University that the Higgs particle wouldn't be found. It seems I have just lost $100.""

Technically, he hasn't lost anything yet. There's a big difference between finding a signal and proving its what you were looking for and not something else.

None of the particles that physicists are looking for are directly observable, so one wrong assumption, or misplaced decimal point in the Feynman diagrams can likely send you off on the garden path for years unless you're lucky.
Lurker2358
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 04, 2012
None of the particles that physicists are looking for are directly observable, so one wrong assumption, or misplaced decimal point in the Feynman diagrams can likely send you off on the garden path for years unless you're lucky.


Yeah, 50 years ago some typist hits a 2 instead of a 3, and everyone since then has been searching for particles of the wrong values...

"NnnnnNNNNNnnnOOOOOOOooooOOOoooOO...that's impossible!"

Actually, it is...

They would have figured that out from observing neutrinos or other particles long ago.

Somebody double checks, and double checks the double check. Why do you think there's thousands of people on the team? Most of them probably do nothing more than "Quality Assurance" i.e. looking for flaws in the systems or the data to try to prevent errors...
HenisDov
1 / 5 (14) Jul 04, 2012
Reagardless Of Whatever Is Said By Whoever Says It -
Higgs Particle YOK.

S Hawking is simply wrong. Obviously wrong.
Everyone who accepts the story of the Higgs particle is simply wrong.
Plain commonsense. Singularity and the Big Bang MUST have happened with the smalleswt base universe particles, the gravitons, that MUST be both energy and mass, even if they are inert mass just one smallest fraction of a second. All Mass Formats evolve From Gravitons, Convert Into Energy i.e. into mass formats in motion, and end Up Finally As Mass In A Repeat Singularity. Universe expansion and recontraction occurrs simultanuosly..

Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
http://universe-life.com/
Astoria
2 / 5 (4) Jul 04, 2012
Singularity and the Big Bang MUST have happened with the smalleswt base universe particles, the gravitons, that MUST be both energy and mass
The graviton mediates gravity, while the Higgs doesn't.
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (9) Jul 04, 2012
Yeah, 50 years ago some typist hits a 2 instead of a 3, and everyone since then has been searching for particles of the wrong values...

As freaky as that may sound - but something like this actually happened once - which is now known as the "rule of 48" (or restated it says "scientists are blind").
When chromosomes were first discovered and photographed they were counted. The result was 48 (which got published in any number of books from the mid 1940s to the early 1950s). In 1953 someone thought to double check and did a recount. Lo and behold there are only 46 - on ALL the photographs.

Since then people in the science community have been extra careful to double check their results.
HenisDov
1 / 5 (11) Jul 04, 2012
Regardless Of Whatever Whoever Says Higgs Particle YOK

Regardless Of Whatever Is Said By Whoever Says It -
Higgs Particle YOK.

S Hawking is simply wrong. Obviously wrong.
Everyone who accepts the story of the Higgs particle is simply wrong.
Plain commonsense. Singularity and the Big Bang MUST have happened with the smallest base universe particles, the gravitons, that MUST be both energy and mass, even if they are inert mass just one smallest fraction of a second. All mass formats evolve from gravitons, convert into energy i.e. extricate from gravitons clusters into mass formats in motion, energy, and end up finally as mass again in a repeat singularity. Universe expansion and re-contraction proceed simultaneously..

Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
http://universe-life.com/
flashgordon
1 / 5 (3) Jul 04, 2012
this betting is getting a little old; but, it makes a point in a good humerous way . . .

nothing ventured; nothing gained!

ab3a
1.3 / 5 (3) Jul 05, 2012
Apparently CERN made a huge bet that it WOULD be found.

In any case, I am somewhat underwhelmed. The very best discoveries are not "I found it!" but "Gee, that's not what I expected!"
Bewia
1 / 5 (6) Jul 05, 2012
The Higgs boson found is the mixture of both. It's compliance with Standard Model is rather politically driven by now, because the physicists need to demonstrate some success after long chain of failures of mainstream theories at LHC and before closure of LHC planned for its upgrade. Without some "BIG" result they would face the risk, that the LHC wouldn't be opened again during contemporary economical crisis in the Europe. But I'm sure in near future many models independent on Standard model will be developed.
IronhorseA
1 / 5 (3) Jul 06, 2012


Yeah, 50 years ago some typist hits a 2 instead of a 3, and everyone since then has been searching for particles of the wrong values...

"NnnnnNNNNNnnnOOOOOOOooooOOOoooOO...that's impossible!"

Actually, it is...

They would have figured that out from observing neutrinos or other particles long ago.

Somebody double checks, and double checks the double check. Why do you think there's thousands of people on the team? Most of them probably do nothing more than "Quality Assurance" i.e. looking for flaws in the systems or the data to try to prevent errors...


Keep in mind these results are from the same lab that hired (employed?) the 'faster than light neutrino' researchers. Until the actual peer reviewed paper gets published, these results are interesting, but not definitive.
baudrunner
1.2 / 5 (5) Jul 07, 2012
You can't take the $100 bet story seriously, because he said it in jest, and it wasn't a real bet. Dr. Hawking understands enough quantum theory to have been able to make the prediction himself, and having done so, would make the same remark, because he is possessed of that most valuable of all character traits, a sense of humor.

I agree that Dr. Higgs and the entire team at CERN, for that matter, should win the Nobel prize, and he probably will, because the discovery proved that $9 billion wasn't spent in vain. Gawd, we're getting good!