News / Science & Technology

    CERN Scientists Confirm Boson Discovery

    An undated handout graphic distributed on July 4, 2012 by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva shows a representation of traces of traces of a proton-proton collision measured in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experience in theAn undated handout graphic distributed on July 4, 2012 by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva shows a representation of traces of traces of a proton-proton collision measured in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experience in the
    x
    An undated handout graphic distributed on July 4, 2012 by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva shows a representation of traces of traces of a proton-proton collision measured in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experience in the
    An undated handout graphic distributed on July 4, 2012 by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva shows a representation of traces of traces of a proton-proton collision measured in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experience in the
    Lisa Schlein
    GENEVA — Scientists at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, report they have discovered a new subatomic particle that might be the elusive Higgs boson. Further research will be needed to confirm whether this is the so-called "God particle" which scientists believe can explain some of the most basic questions about our universe.

    A jubilant director-general of CERN, Rolf Heuer, calls this exciting new discovery a remarkable achievement.

    "I think we have a success today.  We have a discovery.  We have discovered a new particle, a boson - most probably a Higgs boson, but we have to find out which kind of Higgs boson this is," said Heuer.  "Does it have the properties which we expect from the Standard Model?  If not, what are its properties and where do they point to? ...We have now found the last missing cornerstone, I think."

    In particle physics, the Standard Model is sometimes known as "a theory of almost everything" that affects how subatomic particles interact and affect each other. Scientists believe the Higgs boson could explain how matter attains its mass.  The search for the elusive particle, named after physicist Peter Higgs, has been going on for 45 years.  

    The answers to decades-old questions soon may be within reach thanks to CERN's $10 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's biggest atom smasher. It produces high-energy collisions of protons to investigate dark matter, antimatter and the creation of the universe.

    Theorists believe the Higgs boson existed only during the first millionth of a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, when the universe was created more than 13 billion years ago.  Physicists at CERN are trying to recreate the high energies that existed at the time of the Big Bang.

    The results presented Wednesday are based on data collected in 2011 and 2012 during two experiments known as Atlas and CMS, but scientists involved say more research must be done to solidify their results.  However, they say even the preliminary results are dramatic and clear-cut evidence of the existence of a new particle.

    A spokesman for one of the experiment teams, Joe Incandela, says the boson is very profound and unlike any other particle found so far.

    "We are reaching into the fabric of the universe at a level we have never done before," Incandela noted.  "This is telling us something. … It is key to the structure of the universe. …We are on the frontier now.  We are at the edge of a new exploration and this could open up... Maybe we see nothing extraordinary.  We understand that maybe this is the only part of the story that is left.  Or maybe we open up a whole new realm of discovery."

    Peter Higgs attended the physics seminar at CERN Wednesday and was clearly moved by the results, but he would not comment on his observations.

    "I think it is not appropriate for me to answer any detailed questions at this stage.  This is an occasion celebrating an experimental achievement, and I should congratulate the people involved," Higgs said.  

    Scientists say the implications of the new findings are very significant.  They want more detailed studies, with larger data sets, to pin down the new particle's properties and possibly shed light on other mysteries of the universe.

    CERN had been planning to shut down its atom-smasher for two years, but due to these dramatic results it will keep the Large Hadron Collider in service for another two to three months before beginning essential maintenance work.

    Scientists say their knowledge of the fundamental structure of matter is about to take a major step forward, regardless of the form the Higgs particle takes.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.