Higgs boson work still ‘a long way to go,’ physicists say
Compiled by Cindy McKenney
Physicists say they are confident they have discovered the elusive Higgs boson particle.
The Higgs boson particle was the only missing piece in the Standard Model puzzle, a system which explains how all known particles and forces interact with each other to create energies like electricity and gravity, Wired reported.
Last July, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, announced the discovery of a particle that was ‘Higgs-like’ but they did not have enough evidence to definitely conclude that it was.
Now, it seems physicists are closer than ever to confirming the particle is actually the Higgs boson.
After closely examining the data collected last summer, CERN says the data shows what they found was a version of the ‘God particle’, the Globe and Mail reported Thursday.
In 1964, it was predicted that the discovery of the particle would help complete our understanding of how the universe was created as a result of the Big Bang (hence the term ‘God particle’), and that its discovery would be a very strong contender for a Noble Prize, CBC News reported.
Joe Incandela, who heads two main research teams at CERN involved with the discovery, said in a statement that “it is clear we are dealing with a Higgs boson but we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is”, the National Post reported.
CERN used its $10 billion US Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and highest energy particle accelerator that can be found beneath the Swiss-French border, to create high-energy collisions of protons to study how our universe came to be the way it is today, according to an article on the Huffington Post.
The particle was named for Peter Higgs, one of the physicists who proposed its existence, but it later became popularly known as the ‘God particle.’
According the Globe and Mail, the Higgs boson particle would also explain why matter has mass.
Scientists are now studying the spin of the particle, which determines how it interacts with other particles. The spin of a particle refers to how much energy it emits. If the Higgs boson emitted a spin score of zero, it would prove the particle was not a reaction to an interaction from other particles.
The spin appears to be zero, which was initially predicted, but scientists cannot rule out a spin of two yet, Wired reported.
A spin of two would mean a brand new particle has been discovered; something that scientists say is very unlikely.
The discovery of the Higgs boson particle could have several implications for the scientific community, the New York Times reported.