News / Science & Technology

Higgs Boson Finding Excites Fermilab Scientists

Higgs Boson Finding Excites Fermilab Scientistsi
|| 0:00:00
X
Kane Farabaugh
July 04, 2012 4:28 PM
Scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced Wednesday the discovery of a subatomic particle that fits the description of the Higgs boson, also known as the "God Particle." As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from suburban Chicago, scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory say the development is historic.
Kane Farabaugh
BATAVIA, Illinois—Scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced Wednesday the discovery of a subatomic particle that fits the description of the Higgs boson, also known as the "God Particle."  Scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory say the development is historic.

Some 200 scientists and other staffers gathered at Fermilab -- at two o'clock in the morning - to watch the announcement from Geneva.  Many of them have strong connections to the CERN experiment - using the atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to locate the Higgs boson, including the head of the CMS group, Patricia McBride.

"A lot of the techniques that are being used there were first tried out here.  A lot of people did their training here," said McBride.

Scientists have spent hundreds of millions of dollars creating technologically advanced devices that can smash atoms together, and tens of thousands of hours of manpower pouring over the resulting data.  But they now believe they have found what looks like the subatomic particle known as the Higgs boson.

Fermilab Staff Scientist Robert Roser says the Higgs boson is a particle that attracts other particles, and explains how matter has mass.  This gives clues to how planets, and ultimately life, is formed.  But he points out his colleagues at CERN were careful to say they found a "Higgs-like" object, but not the Higgs boson itself.

"It's a subtle difference and so what they will do over the course of the many years, they will start to investigate all of its properties to see if it acts, if it smells, tastes, and behaves the way they expect it to," noted Roser.

Fermilab was home to the LHC's predecessor, the Tevatron Accelerator, which went offline late last year.  Roser says the final data produced by the Tevatron is consistent with CERN's findings.  He says it all adds up to dramatic changes for scientists.

"The finding of this will change the way science views the world immediately, and will change the way I go to work tomorrow.  The way it affects the general public, not so much," Roser added.

While it's not clear yet where the finding will ultimately lead, McBride and Roser say the technology developed to find the Higgs boson has already helped produced technology that we take for granted today.   

"So it's not fair necessarily to ask me today what the practical benefits of the Higgs boson is… I think we'll know in the course of time what that is.  But that said, mankind has always asked the question "why" and we are one step closer to understanding that," Roser said.

The next step, says Roser, is confirming without a scientific doubt that what they now believe is the Higgs Boson, actually is.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid