Physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN have discovered a new particle last summer. However, they held back the information as they wanted to be very sure about their findings. They have finally confirmed last Thursday, March 14 at an international conference in Italy that the Higgs boson, after years of research, had been found.
The discovery was actually made in July 2012 but experiments and further research were still to be made before the scientists made the decision to confirm their findings.
The Higgs boson, also called the “God particle” is highly important to physics. The boson and its energy field were crucial in the shaping of the universe that is linked to the 13.7-billion year Big Bang Theory. This pertains to the creation of stars, of the planets and all life forms, and in scientific jargon, the particle that gives mass to matter.
While the scientists are very excited about their discovery, they are still tentative. They have been working on this for decades and yet they are still hesitant to confirm that this is the elusive boson that they have been searching for. Joe Incandela, spokesperson for the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), one of the two teams working on this project at CERN said that although it is a Higgs boson, it does not seem to have all the properties the theoretical Higgs boson must display.
Higgs boson and its importance
The particle was named after Peter Higgs, a British physicist. Fifty years ago Higgs has predicted that the boson (the particle and its energy field) exist. These are the last of the major elements that were missing in the Standard Model they have created, to simulate at the basic level, how the cosmos works.
For decades the questions on why some key particles have mass had remained unanswered. Its high importance was defined by the construction of the world’s most expensive experimental facility, the Large Hadron Collider, the highest energy particle accelerator and the largest in the world. Its construction started in 1998 and completed in 2008. Over 10,000 scientists, engineers, as well as hundreds of laboratories and universities from more than 100 countries collaborated for the creation of the Large Hadron Collider, located in a 175-meter deep and 27-kilometer long tunnel near Geneva, under the Franco-Swiss border.
While the discovery may not interest the laymen, it is a monumental find in the scientific community as this will enable them to have a better understanding of the formation of the universe, because for them, the Higgs boson is its building block.
However, other results of further experiments will have to wait. The “atom smasher” Large Hadron Collider had been shut down last February 2013 to allow its power and reach to double and would be back in operation in 2015.
Photo Credit: CMS-Higgs Event