Chasing Down the ‘God Particle’
Posted on Dec 13, 2011
Do you know the story of the Higgs boson? It is also called the “God particle” in scientific circles, although certain conservatives would probably not approve, and it has been a kind of physicists’ Holy Grail for decades.
Now, researchers at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva are energized by the possibility that 2012 could be the year that they get a glimpse of the Higgs in action, but they’re not quite ready to say for sure. However, they will say “stay tuned.” —KA
Finding the Higgs would be one of the biggest scientific advances of the last 60 years. It is crucial for allowing us to make sense of the Universe, but has never been observed by experiments.
This basic building block of the Universe is a significant missing component of the Standard Model - the “instruction booklet” that describes how particles and forces interact.
Two separate experiments at the LHC - Atlas and CMS - have been conducting independent searches for the Higgs. Because the Standard Model does not predict an exact mass for the Higgs, physicists have to use particle accelerators like the LHC to systematically look for it across a broad search area.
At a seminar at Cern (the organisation that operates the LHC) on Tuesday, the heads of Atlas and CMS said they see “spikes” in their data at roughly the same mass: 124-125 gigaelectronvolts (GeV).
God does his thing in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting, “Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Planets.”