Episode 24: Higgs In A Blanket with Greg Proops


Apparently electrons (and other massive particles) look like Margaret Tatcher. that could be why they are so negative.

Wheee! It’s time to talk about the Higgs field. Okay. So. How is it that this Higgs Field giveseverything mass? Why do we care?

That’s what we’re going to talk about today, it’s kind of a primer.

Our guest today is well known for his cleverness. It’s Greg Proops, The Smartest Man In The World.  When I was planning the show, I told Fiona that we were having the smartest man in the world on as a guest and she was all like “Oh, Ed Witten? Yeah I’ve met him”. Oh, Fiona.

Anyway, this episode is fun. It has kids on bicycles going to visit the Johnson’s house. Also,  fat people who are not reliable messengers. Some of the metaphors are weak.  But I digress.

Listen past the end credits to hear some delightful outtakes.

(FYI, the date we could not remember in the first outtake was actually in the 1930’s. OOPS!)

Physicists: Tia Miceli, Matt Buckley

Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

Exit Music: John Vanderslice 

Transcript: Ep_24_Higgs_In_A_Blanket

(errata. oh hey, apparently there was an american version of Whose Line Is It Anyway which was on the air WAY PAST THE 90’s! TV ignorance is the price I payed to go to grad school. Oh well, you’re still old, everyone in north america on average)


13 thoughts on “Episode 24: Higgs In A Blanket with Greg Proops

  1. This was so good.
    I hope you guys get a cut of the proceeds when I click your link to buy John’s album off Amazon. Been listening for several weeks, and hearing it at the end finally motivated me enough to get it :-)

  2. So far I have loved all of the episodes but I feel that this one was a bit sub par.

    Too many off topic interruptions that got passed the chopping block, I do normally enjoy the cuts at the end.
    And I learned nothing new.

    Just giving some feedback.

    • Agreed, all the off-topic interruptions made this episode very annoying, the actual physicists couldn’t even get to the point. Maybe another Higgs episode?

        • sorry to disagree with you peter,
          but I’m afraid that this episode had a lot of things wrong with it behind the scenes. I try to make sure that I know the theory inside-out and that we have our explanations mapped out in advance (In case the guest isn’t asking questions which head in an interesting direction), but for various reasons we couldn’t get very much of it straightened out in time, and so our explanations were… lackluster. : (

          so it’s not Mr. Proops’ fault. It’s mine. : (

          you are correct that the content is really neat, but i’ve got to do a little more training before i can do another episode on quantum field theory, spontaneous symmetry breaking and the higgs. maybe this spring we’ll try again.

  3. It’s my understanding that they found proof of the hb not that they actually saw one spinning off like other quarks or something? Is that true? Maybe you could explain exactly how they were detected? Thanks!

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