If the Higgs boson were the first course on a Prix Fixe menu, then your main course selections would include Supersymmetry, Dark Matter, Extra Dimensions, Microscopic Black Holes or Multiverse. That’s what New York University physicists Kyle Cranmer and Neal Weiner served up last week at a lecture titled “The Higgs Boson: Theory & Experiment, Search & Discover.” The NYU Experimental High Energy Physics Group has played a key role in the worldwide collaboration in the search for the Higgs boson. In July, researchers at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland, announced that they found convincing evidence of a new particle called the Higgs boson, using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the most powerful particle accelerator in the world. Sometimes called the “god particle,” the Higgs boson is a sub-atomic particle that is a building block of the universe; the particle that is believed to imbue all other particles with mass. In their presentation on how scientists made the discovery and why it’s significant, Weiner and Cranmer offered a preview of what’s likely to come in our new “era of data,” where the scientific community has tremendous amounts of information about nature all at one time. The LHC was taking 40 million photos per second! And by the end of the year there’s expected to be three times more data than was available before the Higgs announcement. They said if particle physicists have the Higgs, eventually they can find dark matter. I appreciate the way quantum physicists think. They don’t ask what will happen, only what can happen. Inspired by their menu, I discovered a mouth-watering appetizer of my own this year. Feel free to try it over the upcoming holidays.