1. WHAT’S THE HIGGS BOSON (GOD PARTICLE)? 

The universe is made of 12 fundamental particles and 4 fundamental forces. This is called the Standard Model of Physics. One more particle was predicted by Higgs, Brout and Englert in 1964. It explained the most important property of all matter – mass, and was called the Higgs boson (bosons are force-carrying particles named after Satyen Bose). The Higgs boson was confirmed on Wednesday, half a century after the search began.


2. HOW DID HIGGS BOSON GET TO BE CALLED THE ‘GOD PARTICLE’? 

Nobel winning physicist Leon Lederman unwittingly coined it. He wanted to refer to the Higgs boson as the ‘goddamn particle’ but his editor didn’t allow that. Higgs has distanced himself from the name saying: “I find it embarrassing. Although I’m not a believer, it is the kind of misuse of terminology that may offend some”.

3. HOW DID THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER (LHC) FIND IT? 

Higgs boson is supposed to have originated a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang created the universe. Scientists tried to recreate the same conditions presumed to have existed then by making very high-speed protons collide with each other inside the LHC. Tracking millions of collisions occurring in seconds, they identified traces of a never-before-seen particle. Its mass is in the same range as predicted by theory: it is almost certain this is the Higgs boson.

4. WHY CAN’T SCIENTISTS CONFIRM THE DISCOVERY WITH CERTAINTY? 

They are being rigorous – as scientists should be. They say on one count they’ve found a particle that fits the predicted Higgs boson range of mass. But they have yet to completely identify its other properties. They’ve to explain all current observations, including the slightly higher than expected energy and absence of some other particles. That will take time. However, for all practical purposes, it is the Higgs boson.

5. SO, WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR SCIENCE? 

The discovery confirms the Standard Model theory is valid. Other particles predicted by this theory have been confirmed, but the missing Higgs boson was a glaring hole. Now that’s closed. But there are other aspects of sub-atomic physics and of the cosmos that are unexplained, like dark matter (which makes up 25 per cent of the matter in the universe but has never been seen), dark energy (which makes up 70 per cent of matter in the universe but also has never been located), antimatter, supersymmetry (a theory that for every particle there is a heavier twin), etc. With the Higgs boson found, scientists can look at these aspects with more surety. Also, the most well-known force in the universe – gravitation -is still not fully explained. Such issues are still to be cleared.

News – July 5th 2012

To cheers and standing ovations, scientists at the world’s biggest atom smasher claimed the discovery of a new subatomic particle on Wednesday, calling it “consistent” with the long-sought Higgs boson — popularly known as the ” God particle” — that helps explain what gives all matter in the universesize and shape.

“We have now found the missing cornerstone of particle physics,” Rolf Heuer, director of theEuropean Center for Nuclear Research(CERN), told scientists.

He said the newly discovered subatomic particle is a boson, but he stopped just shy of claiming outright that it is the Higgs boson itself — an extremely fine distinction.

“As a layman, I think we did it,” he told the elated crowd. “We have a discovery. We have observed a new particle that is consistent with a Higgs boson.”

The Higgs boson, which until now has been a theoretical particle, is seen as the key to understanding why matter has mass, which combines with gravity to give an object weight. The idea is much like gravity and Isaac Newton’s discovery of it: Gravity was there all the time before Newton explained it. But now scientists have seen something very much like the Higgs boson and can put that knowledge to further use.

CERN’s atom smasher, the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider on the Swiss-French border, has been creating high-energy collisions of protons to investigate dark matter, antimatter and the creation of the universe, which many theorize occurred in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang.

Two independent teams at CERN said on Wednesday they have both “observed” a new subatomic particle — a boson. Heuer called it “most probably a Higgs boson, but we have to find out what kind of Higgs boson it is.”

Asked whether the find is a discovery, Heuer answered, “As a layman, I think we have it. But as a scientist, I have to say, “What do we have?”

The leaders of the two CERN teams — Joe Incandela, head of CMS with 2,100 scientists, and Fabiola Gianotti, head of ATLAS with 3,000 scientists — each presented in complicated scientific terms what was essentially extremely strong evidence of a new particle.

Incandela said it was too soon to say definitively whether it is the “standard model” Higgs that Scottish physicist Peter Higgs and others predicted in the 1960s — part of a standard model theory of physics involving an energy field where particles interact with a key particle, the Higgs boson.

“The” Higgs or “a” Higgs — that was the question on Wednesday.

“It is consistent with a Higgs boson as is needed for the standard model,” Heuer said. “We can only call it a Higgs boson — not the Higgs boson.”

Higgs, who was invited to be in the audience, said he also could not yet say if it was part of the standard model. But he told the audience the discovery appears to be very close to what he predicted.

“It is an incredible thing that it has happened in my lifetime,” he said, calling it a huge achievement for the proton-smashing collider built in a 27-km underground tunnel.

The stunning work elicited standing ovations and frequent applause at a packed auditorium in CERN as Gianotti and Incandela each took their turn.

Incandela called it “a Higgs-like particle” and said “we know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found.”

“Thanks, nature!” Gianotti said to laughs, giving thanks for the discovery.

Later, she told reporters that “the standard model (of physics) is not complete” but that “the dream is to find an ultimate theory that explains everything — we are far from that.”

The phrase “God particle” was coined by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman but is used by laymen, not physicists, as an easier way of explaining how the subatomic universe works and got started.

Incandela said the last undiscovered piece of the standard model could be a variant of the Higgs that was predicted or something else that entirely changes the way scientists think about how matter is formed.

“This boson is a very profound thing we have found,” he said. “We’re reaching into the fabric of the universe in a way we never have done before. We’ve kind of completed one particle’s story … now, we’re way out on the edge of exploration.”

Posted By

M.Shiva Chaitanya(ECE 4/4) MGIT

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