News / Science & Technology

Physicists May Have Detected Elusive Higgs Boson Particle

View of the LHC (large hadron collider) in its tunnel at CERN (European particle physics laboratory) near Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 31, 2007.
View of the LHC (large hadron collider) in its tunnel at CERN (European particle physics laboratory) near Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 31, 2007.
Lisa Schlein

Scientists at a research laboratory outside Geneva, Switzerland say they have seen tantalizing hints of the existence of the Higgs boson subatomic particle, which they say might help explain the fundamental structure of the universe.  But researchers who on Tuesday presented results of two experiments conducted at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, say the evidence is not strong enough to claim a discovery.  

The elusive Higgs boson is often referred to as the “God Particle” because it might hold the key to understanding why objects in the universe have mass.

Physicist Pauline Gagnon says that even though the particle's nickname is a joke, the prospect of finding the Higgs boson particle is an exciting and serious matter.

“People have been looking for this particle for a long time and it has been called elusive, like you said, because it has been decades - essentially 30, 40 years - that people have been trying to find it," said Gagnon.

The data presented at CERN come from two experiments conducted at the Large Hadron Collider - the world’s largest atom smasher, which sends beams of protons hurtling toward one another at nearly the speed of light.  Scientists say the force of billions of powerful collisions at the collider is producing results never before seen.

Fabiola Gianotti is spokesperson for one of the two experiments conducted at CERN and says the data show spikes in what scientists call the mass region.  She calls this an important achievement.

“In this mass region, we see some excess of events and it is too early to tell if the excess is due to fluctuation of the background or if it is due to something more interesting," said Gianotti. "I think that only more studies and more data will allow us to answer that question.  But the nice thing is we know that by the end of 2012, or sooner, if we are lucky, we should be able to say the final word.”  

Scientists have developed what they call the Standard Model, which explains how particles and forces interact.  It describes the ordinary matter from which everything visible in the universe is made.  The Higgs boson particle is the only piece of the universe predicted by the Standard Model that has not been seen.

The particle lies at the heart of the fundamental question of why there is mass in the universe.  Finding the Higgs boson would be one of the biggest scientific advances in more than half-a-century.  It would confirm the Standard Model’s description of how subatomic particles interact to form the basic building blocks of the universe.  

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More