window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'UA-41134143-1');

About Howie Firth

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Howie Firth has created 20 blog entries.

The Big Bang 1: The first ideas

The story of the development of the idea of the Big Bang has two separate strands, and we have to switch back and fore between them. The one strand is the observational work of astronomers, developing techniques to measure the distance of stars and galaxies – and also their

Processes and objects

There are two fundamentally different ways of picturing the world around us. One is as a collection of objects – and we learn from our earliest moments that we are surrounded by things that we pick up or bump into. But an alternative approach is to see the world

Eddington’s universe

Whenever the poet George Mackay Brown reorganised his library, getting rid of some of the overspill, some books from younger years would always remain. There was the first Penguin book from 1935, a biography of Shelley by André Maurois; and Penguin number 3, Poet’s Pub by Eric Linklater. And

Higgs 1: Frozen light

The discovery of the Higgs particle is one step further on a long road – the search for the nature of matter. Our experience of matter starts in childhood, when we become familiar with objects and learn to live with them – how to pick them up when they’re useful

Higgs 2: What makes light matter?

The big question is: what is the process that somehow freezes or condenses energy into particles of matter? In this process, the energy somehow acquires the characteristic of mass – for which we can go again to David Bohm: ‘Mass is a phenomenon of connecting light rays which go back

Higgs 3: Symmetry for the strong

When the Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie died in 1899 he was a bitter and disappointed man. True, his mathematical ability had been recognised by some of the greatest people in the field, including the great German mathematician Felix Klein, and Lie had succeeded Klein in the chair of mathematics

Higgs 4: Symmetry for the weak

The weak interactions are really weak compared to the strong ones. Indeed they are really weak compared to electromagnetism – about 100 billion times weaker. Yet there are also some similarities with electromagnetism. As far back as 1941 Julian Schwinger had felt that these similarities were significant, and took

This website uses cookies and third party services. Ok