News / Science & Technology

Strong Signs 'God Particle' Has Been Found

British physicist Peter Higgs at news conference on search for the Higgs boson at CERN, Meyrin, near Geneva, July 4, 2012.
British physicist Peter Higgs at news conference on search for the Higgs boson at CERN, Meyrin, near Geneva, July 4, 2012.
Reuters
Physicists who last summer triumphantly announced the discovery of a new particle but held back from saying what it was, declared on Thursday there was now little doubt it was the long-sought Higgs boson.
 
Latest analysis of data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator, where the boson was spotted as a bump on a graph early in 2012, "strongly indicates" it is the Higgs, said CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
 
Physicists believe the boson and its linked energy field were vital in the formation of the universe after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago by bringing flying particles together to make stars, planets and eventually humans — giving mass to matter, in the scientific jargon.
 
Researchers at the CERN physics lab near Geneva, used the $5.5 billion atom smasher, called the Large Hadron Collider, to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson particle.Researchers at the CERN physics lab near Geneva, used the $5.5 billion atom smasher, called the Large Hadron Collider, to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson particle.
x
Researchers at the CERN physics lab near Geneva, used the $5.5 billion atom smasher, called the Large Hadron Collider, to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson particle.
Researchers at the CERN physics lab near Geneva, used the $5.5 billion atom smasher, called the Large Hadron Collider, to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson particle.
The particle and the field, named for British physicist Peter Higgs who predicted their existence 50 years ago, are also the last major missing elements in what scientists call the Standard Model of how the cosmos works at the very basic level.
 
But the CERN statement stopped short of claiming a discovery — which would clear the way to Nobel prizes for scientists linked to the project — and floated the idea that this might be an exotic "super-Higgs" offering a key to new worlds of physics.
 
"It remains an open question whether this is the Higgs boson of the Standard Model ... or possibly the lightest of several bosons predicted in some theories that go beyond the Standard Model," said CERN, a large complex on the edge of Geneva.
"Finding the answer to this question will take time."
 
Although some CERN physicists privately expressed irritation at the continuing refusal to, as one said, "call a Higgs a Higgs," others argued that this could only come when the evidence was all totally irrefutable.
 
If it is not what one CERN-watching blogger has dubbed a "common or garden Higgs" but something more complex, vistas into worlds of supersymmetry, string theory, multiple dimensions and even parallel universes could begin to unfold.
 
What kind of Higgs?


"To me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson, though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is," said Joe Incandela, spokesman for CMS, one of the two independent CERN LHC monitoring teams.
 
"There is every possibility that it is a Higgs boson from a more complex model, such as supersymmetry [a theory which says every elementary particle has a so-far unseen heavier partner]," another CMS researcher, John Conway, told Reuters.
 
In recent months, rumors have flown that the particle might be some sort of super-Higgs — "the link between our world and most of the matter in the universe" as predicted by U.S. physicist Sean Carroll in a new book.
 
But David Charlton, who speaks for the ATLAS team, said the latest analysis, presented on Thursday to a conference in the Italian Alps, pointed to the particle fitting the Standard Model — which would exclude exotica.
 
However, CERN scientists agree nothing startlingly new could be expected until much later in the decade, well after the LHC — shut down last month for two years to allow its power and reach to be doubled — resumes operations in early 2015.
 
In the giant subterranean collider, which started up in March 2010, particles are smashed together hundreds of times a second at near the speed of light to simulate the Big Bang. The debris is then tracked on huge detectors.
 
But the new particle turns up only once in every trillion collisions — leaving the thousands of physicists and analysts at CERN, and in laboratories around the world, the massive task of deciding what data to discard.

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid