Scientists have discovered a sub-atomic particle they believe is crucial in the formation of the universe, or at least crucial to the Standard Model in physics and our current understanding of how our universe works.
Scientists in Geneva say the discovery still needs to be verified, but it is the strongest evidence yet that the – Higgs – particle exists.
Scientist have all but said the words “we’ve found it”
Professor Themis Bowcock, head of particle physics at the University of Liverpool said Based on CERN results there appears to be less than one chance in a million that this is a fake,” Professor Bowckock has worked on the Large Hedron Collider and says ” Very few physicists would privately argue that this is not a Higgs Particle”.
The European Organisation for Nuclear Research – CERN – said in a statement that the particle is “consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson“.
Dr Rolf-Dieter Heuer, director General of CERN said in an interview that the discovery was ” a historic milestone.”
Dr. Heuer and others have said that it was too soon to know for sure that the new particle – wieghing in ata na acceptable 125 billion electron volts, and one of the heaviest sub-atomic particle yet discovered – is indeed the elusive Higgs boson ::::
The Higgs boson, also known as the God particle, is thought to give all other particles in the universe their mass.
At CERN in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border - 46°14′3″N 6°3′19″E - 1,000 people lined up over night to get a glimpse inside the auditorium, Professor Higgs entered the meeting to a standing ovation.
In an emotion statement Professor Higgs - for which the particle is named – said “I’m rather surprised that it happened in my lifetime, I think it shows amazing dedication by the young people involved with these colossal collaborations, I congratulate them.” 83 year old Professor Peter Higgs is best known for his 1960s proposal of broken symmetry in electroweak theory, explaining the origin of mass of elementary particles in general and of the W and Z bosons in particular. This so-called Higgs mechanism, which was proposed by several physicists besides Higgs at about the same time, predicts the existence of a new particle, the Higgs boson (often described as “the most sought-after particle in modern physics)
Confirmation of the Higgs boson – or something similar – would cement the work of a generation of physicists, as well as affirm a grand view of the universe ruled by the Standrad model for nearly a half century. Higgs boson is – according to Standard Theory – the only visible, particle manifestation of an invisible energy field, the intergalactic molasses the fills space and gives elementary particles mass.
President of institute of Physics, Professor Sir Peter Knight said that the discovery was physics version of the discovery of DNA. It sets the course of a brand new adventure in our efforts to understand the fabric of the universe.’ Professor Knight said. ” This is a remarkable achievement, 15 years of international collaboration has paid off.”
Asked to describe in layman’s terms what it all means, Professor Peter Clarke, Professor of Physics at the Universty of Edinburgh said:
“If we were discovering the human body and found a little finger on one hand, after we had already seen five fingers on the other hand, that would be important but not unexpected. It’s not really adding much to what we already know.
Some sorts of particles can be like that – very important but predicted.
This is like discovering the heart; without it the entire model of the human body does not work. That is the significance of this particle.”
Professor Clarke also explained the Higgs mechanism, using the example of trying to push a balloon – representing a massless particle – through a room while wearing a blindfold. If that room were to be filled with treacle, he explained, the balloon would feel heavy. The treacle in this instance is comparable to the Higgs mechanism, permanently giving the object mass.
Professor Clarke said he hopes the work of Peter Higgs work and his colleagues is considered worthy of a Nobel Prize.
“I think many of us have believed for a long time that this work is very close to being deserving of a Nobel Prize. I hope it’s considered worthy.” he said.
The panel of scientists was asked how they can justify such huge budget – the LHC cost $AU3 billion+ to construct – and ongoing contribututor costs of as much as $150 million a year.
The panel in a moment of humour, perhaps as it was the last question, replied, “If there is no fundamental science then there is no basis for applied science. We have to strike a balance. 23 years ago the World Wide Web was born here. It has changed the world dramatically”
CERNS Director General, Rolf-Dieter Heuer capped off the conference and the question with “The Platform is metaphorless”