News / Europe

Nobel Contender Sees Multiple Cosmic Mysteries

Belgian physicist Francois Englert poses in his home in Brussels, Oct. 8, 2012.
Belgian physicist Francois Englert poses in his home in Brussels, Oct. 8, 2012.
Reuters
Francois Englert, the Belgian physicist widely tipped to share a Nobel prize this year with Britain's Peter Higgs, said on Tuesday many cosmic mysteries remain despite the discovery of the boson that gave shape to the universe.
 
And he predicted that new signs of the real makeup of the cosmos, and what might lie beyond, should emerge from 2015 when the world's most powerful research machine - the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN - goes back into operation.
 
“Things cannot be as simple as our Standard Model,” Englert told Reuters, referring to the draft concept of how the universe works for which the last missing element was provided when the long-sought particle named for Higgs was spotted last year.
 
An undated image made available by CERN shows a typical candidate event in the search for the Higgs boson, including two high-energy photons whose energy (depicted by red lines) is measured in the CMS electromagnetic calorimeter. The yellow lines are the measured tracks of other particles produced in the collision. (AP/CERN)An undated image made available by CERN shows a typical candidate event in the search for the Higgs boson, including two high-energy photons whose energy (depicted by red lines) is measured in the CMS electromagnetic calorimeter. The yellow lines are the measured tracks of other particles produced in the collision. (AP/CERN)
x
An undated image made available by CERN shows a typical candidate event in the search for the Higgs boson, including two high-energy photons whose energy (depicted by red lines) is measured in the CMS electromagnetic calorimeter. The yellow lines are the measured tracks of other particles produced in the collision. (AP/CERN)
An undated image made available by CERN shows a typical candidate event in the search for the Higgs boson, including two high-energy photons whose energy (depicted by red lines) is measured in the CMS electromagnetic calorimeter. The yellow lines are the measured tracks of other particles produced in the collision. (AP/CERN)
“There are so many questions that the model doesn't answer. There must be much, much more. And we look to getting closer to understanding what that is when the data starts emerging from  a more powerful LHC,” he said.
 
Englert, 81, spoke during a visit to CERN, the research center near Geneva where discovery of the boson - which with its linked force field made creation of stars and planets possible after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago - was made.
 
The giant subterranean LHC was shut down in February to be equipped to collide particles at close to the speed of light with twice as much force as during its first three years of operations, crowned with the Higgs' appearance.
 
Englert's visit, with Belgium's Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, came amid discussion among scientists on whether the particle should remain tied to the name of Higgs or also bear a reference to Englert and another Belgian physicist Robert Brout.
 
Three research efforts
 
The concept of a particle and field that turned flying matter into mass after the primeval explosion that gave birth to the universe emerged in 1964 - the product of three separate research efforts by six physicists in all.
 
While Higgs, now 83, worked largely alone, Brout - who died in 2011 - and Englert combined their investigations in Belgium while another team - two Americans, Gerald Guralnik and Carl Hagen and Briton Tom Kibble - worked on the idea in London.
 
Brout and Englert published a paper on their research at the end of August 1964, and Higgs of the University of Edinburgh issued his own six weeks later, followed by Guralnik, Hagen and Kibble a month after that.
 
But as interest grew in the idea of what was initially called a “scalar” field and boson, the concept became popularly  associated with Higgs. Exactly how this happened has never become clear, although there are several theories.
 
In Belgium it was dubbed the “Brout-Englert-Higgs” or BEH mechanism, a term used by Englert in a short speech to CERN researchers and students on Tuesday. Belgian newspapers have championed the idea of renaming it that way.
 
Others, including Hagen himself, have insisted that the work of his London team which was based at the British capital's Imperial College, should be recognized.
 
The issue has gained spice because it is likely that the Nobel committee will award its annual physics prize this autumn for discovery of the boson - and such an honor can, under current rules, go to no more than three living people.
 
CERN, and its U.S. counterpart Fermilab near Chicago, decline to take a position, either on the prize or a name change. “One thing is clear, the Nobel people have a helluva problem to resolve,” said one senior CERN official.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid