God Damn It! We Found The Goddamn Particle: Part 2


Last 4thof July 2012 the final piece of the puzzle was discovered. The Higgs Boson was seen at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN,

completing all the elementary particles in the Standard Model of particle physics.

Higgs Boson experiment in the LHC

The announcement was made at CERN’s auditorium in Switzerland. The conference was

held the same day the Conference on High Energy Physics in Australia, were physicists from all around the world listened attentively as director general of CERN Rolf Heuer announced the discovery of the most wanted particle in the world.

After almost 50 years since its prediction, the Higgs boson’s existence was confirmed by two separate experiments: the CMS and the ATLAS. They were both able to see the Higgs, with a mass of 125 to 126 GeV (gigaelectronvolts), the mass predicted by Peter Higgs. The finding was not announced until it had a confidence level of 5 sigma (or 4.9, to be exact) which means there is less than 1 in a million chance the Higgs boson was not really the Higgs boson. With these statistics, scientists felt confident to proclaim they had discovered a new particle.

Though this particle completes the Standard Model, physicists still have lots of work to do. First, they need to analyse the Higgs boson and study its properties, which may not be as predicted and give a few surprises to scientists all around the world.

If the Standard Model is complete and its predictions are all correct, there is still some investigation needed. The model, although it covers most forces in the Universe, it can’t explain gravity, or even dark matter (which makes up to 85% of the universe) or dark energy (responsible fort the accelerating expansion of the universe).

However, we still have to give our most sincere congratulations to the teams at CERN for being able to discover the Higgs boson, the God particle or whatever you want to call it.

Sources:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22014-celebrations-as-higgs-boson-is-finally-discovered.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-18702455

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God Damn It! We Found The Goddamn Particle: Part 1


As you probably already know, these last few weeks have been shaken by the discovery of the Higgs Boson. But, you may ask, what is the Higgs Boson?

The Higgs Boson is the quantum of the Higgs Field, which means it’s the smallest amount of the field you can get. It’s like saying an electron is the quantum of an electric field.  It was the last elementary particle of the Standard Model to be discovered, and it gives the key to complete such Model.

Although its not been identified since the late 20thCentury, it plays a major role in the process of giving mass to particles. Without this boson, particles would all behave mass less, and would wonder around at the speed of light, like photons.

To keep it simple, the Higgs Boson and Field make particles interact with them and give ‘heavy’ particles mass. If, however, the particle hasn’t got mass, like photons, this particle will flow right through the Higgs Field, remaining unchanged.

The Higgs Boson was named after Peter Higgs, as his theories of the Higgs Mechanism predicted the existence of this boson and some of its characteristics.

There’s been lots of discussions about who predicted its existence as 3 groups of people published very similar ideas at the same time. However, Higgs was the only one to predict some of its theoretical properties.

In the media, this particle has also been called The Goddamn Particle, Lederman’s first option for the book: The God particle: If the Universe is the Answer, what is the question? as the Higgs Boson was so damn hard to find. In the end the boson was called The God Particle, as the publisher thought it was more commercial.

The Standard Model with the Higgs Boson in it

 

Sources:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22006-higgs-fever-your-guide-to-the-mostwanted-particle.html?page=1

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/jul/04/higgs-boson-discovered-live-coverage-cern