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

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora