Armchair Tour Through the Frontiers of Physics

BY JOE PARADISO

What's all this stuff you're hearing about this Higgs Boson thing? Dark matter? Dark energy even? The Multiverse - is this just a new kind of prose? We're at a wonderful point in human history where new phenomena that we're observing indicate there is plenty left that we don't yet understand, and new theories are creatively trying to encompass all this and push ahead. I'll try to take attendees on a rapid tour through some of these experiments and theory here, introducing the standard model and Higgs Mechanism, touching on dark matter and dark energy, perhaps even ranging onto the multiverse, anthropic principle, and search for extraterrestrial life. All will be at an armchair/Nova level for the most part (OK, I might show a few Feynman graphs, but this is MIT after all), hence accessible to all who are interested.