The Higgs Diet

Average: 3 (1 vote)
Your rating: None

                                                                      THE HIGG’S DIET
Life never ceases to amaze me. Even now at the age of 15.
My name is Oshii and, needing money to supplement my schooling after the untimely implosion of both my parents in a videogame-related accident, I accepted the part-time job offer of a Sumo wrestling coach assistant to former wrestler Motoko.
I was and remain a very respectful fan of that ancient and venerable sport and art, Sumo.
Therefore, imagine my horror at what transpired!
I was inside the Sumo stables with my boss, Motoko, and our wrestler, Hiroyuki . Hiroyuki was preparing to go to the arena and enter the dohyō ring to face his opponent, who was nearly a third larger than him. Hiroyuki was a lower ranked wrestler and everyone expected him to lose. I watched him, eating one more bowl of rice before his match in front of a large crowd. He looked so noble with his samurai-like pigtail.
“Here.” My boss, who, as well as having once been a Sumo wrestler, had also been a quantum physicist, gestured me over. He gave me a piece of paper and told me to take it to the men in the first row, overlooking the dohyō. I walked with trepidation into the crowded arena, in front of the lights and television cameras. I had looked over the piece of paper before handing it over. It was a bet my boss was making. The men in the front row were yakuza, organised crime. I despised them for bringing Sumo into disrepute with illegal gambling.
Curiously my boss had bet that our wrestler would win, even though he was completely outclassed in terms of his weight. The odds against him were huge and as far as I knew, my boss and the yakuza were the only people betting Hiroyuki would win.
            I walked back to the stable to see Hiroyuki eating more rice.
            “Careful careful.” Motoko told me, when I had reached out to take the empty rice bowl from Hiroyuki. “You studied physics didn’t you? I will tell you something Oshii. That is no ordinary rice. It contains Higgs Bosons from another universe.”
           “Higg’s Bosons?”
            Wow- Motoko explained to me that he was fixing the fight by using Higg’s Bosons from another universe that had a different value to the Higg’s Bosons of our universe. They could influence the gravitational force interacting with Hiroyuki to give him heavier mass, allowing him to push his opponent from the ring!  
            It’s not what I expected to hear!
            And the plan worked!
            After facing the audience, and performing the leg-stomping shiko exercise to drive evil spirits from the dohyō, Hiroyuki faced his opponent- who looked twice his size and was a very famous Sumo wrestler. Hiroyuki knocked his opponent from the ring, who landed on his face, and the referee pointed his war-fan towards Hiroyuki, indicating he was the winner.
            But I felt pity for Hiroyuki, who looked noble and seemed exploited to me. Before the next fight, I decided to change his rice to ordinary rice. 
            Hiroyuki lost, and the yakuza in the audience had thrown their seat cushions into the ring at him, but I felt that, by not cheating, he had retained his nobility and honour.
            Returning to the stables, I discovered members of the yakuza roughing up my boss. I was about to intervene when a metal canister of the rice from a parallel universe was overturned and all those in the room except for Hiroyuki and myself disappeared in a blackhole or a wormhole or something. Maybe something as yet completely unknown to physics.
            A year later, an investigation concluded that Motoko was legally dead, and I was surprised to find myself to have been left his farm property in his will! Motoko had also left a note addressed to me that explained that I would discover several rice paddies on his property that, through a process of quantum superimposition, enacted as portals to other universes where subatomic particles, including the Higg’s Boson, had different values to their counterparts in our universe. One rice paddy grew rice that effectively made people gain weight, and one paddy grew rice that lowered people’s weight.
            Still needing money, I created a diet farm from Motoko’s former property. I employed Hiroyuki as my business partner. I used rice from one paddy to help anorexics weigh more and one paddy to help obese people weigh less, by using the messenger particles from parallel universes to influence the value of the gravitational force enacting on my customers’ bodies’ masses. 
            The truth is, I still don’t know whether this is a completely honest practise.

About the Author: 
I like art and science. They make the world a better place.

Newsletter Signup

Submit your email address so we can send you occasional competition updates and tell you who wins!

Quantum Theories

W is for ... Wavefunction

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

V is for ... Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

T is for ... Tunnelling

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

O is for ... Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

R is for ... Randomness

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

I is for ... Information

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

A is for ... Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

I is for ... Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

C is for ... Cryptography

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

G is for ... Gluon

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

A is for ... Atom

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

L is for ... Light

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

D is for ... Decoherence

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

B is for ... Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

R is for ... Radioactivity

The atoms of a radioactive substance break apart, emitting particles. It is impossible to predict when the next particle will be emitted as it happens at random. All we can do is give the probability that any particular atom will have decayed by a given time.

J is for ... Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics.

R is for ... Reality

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

M is for ... Multiverse

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

K is for ... Kaon

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

P is for ... Probability

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

H is for ... Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

W is for ... Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

F is for ... Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

G is for ... Gravity

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

U is for ... Universe

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

Q is for ... Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

N is for ... Nonlocality

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

D is for ... Dice

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

E is for ... Entanglement

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

Z is for ... Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

B is for ... Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

P is for ... Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

T is for ... Teleportation

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

X is for ... X-ray

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

Y is for ... Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

Q is for ... Qubit

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

L is for ... Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

C is for ... Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

A is for ... Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

S is for ... Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

H is for ... Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.