HiggsBosons - The God Particles
The Higgs is a vital ingredient in the Standard Model of Physics. But what is the Higgs actually? Being one of the most fundamental components of the fabric of our Universe it is very hard for the human mind to wrap around it.
produced by: Theo Vlagkas
Since my early youth I remember myself being intrigued by the laws of nature, physics and a branch of philosophy; the metaphysics. My hunger to undestand what brought our world together and what holds it in piece is a never-ending question that prevails in my mind. All my artistic approaches so far circle around these life inclinations of mine. My current project depicts the Higgs boson, or as widely known as The God Particle, and the interaction from audience is trying to recreate the W & Z bosons plod through Higgs field.
Concept and background research
My project has been a research in the Quantum Physics and especially in the Higgs boson particle. While the presence of the Higgs field has been recently confirmed by experimental investigation, it explains why some fundamental particles have mass as despite their interactions which imply that they should be massless. Having done some background research in Physics and especially in Quantum Mechanics the project manifests the movement of the heavy masssed Higgs bosons. The audience interacts through their movement of hand and fingers with a LEAP motion and affects the forces applied to the bosons by experimenting with motion, which represents CERN's Large Hardon Collider, where is the only place that man has produced and experiment with Higgs field and bosons.
For my project I used the LEAP motion device and the addon for the oF. I initially started thinking of what I wanted to do and how I could tackle the challenges that would arise. I seperated my project in three different stages/parts. The first challenge was to setup the addon. It was a tricky proccess as I needed to include build phase scripts which helped me to understand more about libraries and how the build of the projects is done. The second part was to try and decode, study and eventually understand how the addon works. While it was an arduous task, I finally managed to see how the addon reads the movement of the hand and fingers and what I had to do in order to map it to the interactions I wanted. Lastly and most importantly, the third stage was the creation of a sophisticated class of particles and a deeper understanding of OOP. I created a class of particles from scratch with referencing to previous classes examples, and reading the oF and Mastering oF books. The class started small with only one particle and couple of forces; accelaration and gravity. However, as I was proceeding the forces became more while I started exploring interpolation techniques which I used for particles movement and looking deeper into maths. I ended up with a lot of forces like the ones mentioned and also attraction, repulsion, clockwise and anti-clockwise ones. The final result was a beautiful ring-like particle system that rotates and applies all the forces in the middle of the screen. I then mapped the movement of the hand and fingers to alter the power of the forces and the radius of them while the audience interacts with it. Also, a random colour in conjuction with the movement is produced, which gives a psychedelic and hallucinating perception.
For future development I would like to experiment more with OOP and add more laws of physics. That would help me to explore more into maths & programming as well and will improve my coding understanding. Furthermore, I would like to include sound on the movement of the hand and fingers as the particles interact, but again based on sounds that emmitate sound of real Higgs boson expirements. As I am part-time and looking into getting to more audio programming next year I am planning to invest more time and effort on working with sound as well. Lastly, as it is seen on the video I made a small installation at my work place and people were excited and intrigued by the project interaction. My biggest future aspiration is to install the project in public places like hospitality venues. To explain: imagine youself in a loo of a restaurant. As you go to wash your hands a LEAP motion & a Rasbbery Pi are physically installed behind the washing liquid so as you press the button for the washing gel the LEAP reads the movement of your fingers and particles start interacting on a screen installed behind the mirror. That would be a 'fun toilet' to be.
As I mentioned on the first term self evaluation my biggest challenge for term 2 would be OOP techniques. I spent most of my time trying to understand how Classes and Objects work and the differences between properties and behaviours and translating them into programming terms. I am very proud of the outcome, where as I mentioned I created a particle class from scratch. I believe that despite all the lost time through the strikes I have significanlty developed and understood OOP deeper. Also, I was terrified regarding maths during the first term, but working on this project helped me to realise that with study and hard effort everything comes in place. I managed to fully understand how noise, sin and cos works in programming terms and also it was very fulfilling to work on interpolation techniques and grasp the concept of it. While I also aknowledge that it is still not my best work, I feel more confident for the future as through the project I realised that I am getting better in the technical side of view while I still practise and take the artistic approach that I wish to. During the summer I would like to concentrate more on functional and scripting languages, and web developing as well (online bootcamps and learning platforms) and start coding-stronger next academic year.