Has “God’s Particle” Been Found?


Scientists at the European Organization of Nuclear Research, or CERN, announced on March 14, 2013 at their annual conference in Italy, a breakthrough has been made that can possibly change the knowledge of how the universe works and the “Big Bang Theory.” The particle that scientists discovered seems to fit the description of what was foreseen in the Standard Model of particle physics.

The Standard Model of particle physics is a theory that describes the electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear interactions of simple particles. This particle will be able to tell scientists why certain atoms like protons and neutrons have mass while others like photons do not.

The whole notion of this extraordinary particle started in 1964 with a British physicist Peter Higgs. Higgs suggested that basic particles get their mass by an invisible force, which is now called the Higgs Boson.

A half-century journey of ups and downs ended with the discovery of a Higgs Boson due to new evidence that makes specialists certain that they found the right particle. Experts use sigma levels to express the amount of certainty in what they are testing. Five sigmas are a declaration of a discovery and when one group of scientists reached that level they knew the pieces of the puzzle were slowly coming together. However, many scientists were a little disappointed that the particle was behaving just like the Standard Model said it would, but other scientists are saying it’s too soon to tell all of its properties. “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, a physicist who leads one of main teams at CERN.

To measure these particles, scientists use the Large Hadron Collider, which is the fastest and largest particle accelerator on Earth, located in Sweden. This project will let scientists see how matter acted a second after the Big Bang happened. Two accelerator beams travel at the speed of light until they collide into each other and the more energy produced the further we can look back in time.

The difference between the Large Hadron Collider and LHC is that this machine will create collisions that are 7 times stronger than other devices. But this machine will be going through a two year shut down for maintenance and to upgrade. This shut down will improve the machines ability to collide particles at an even higher energy.