Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Physics | The Boson "God Particle"

On the Fourth of July particle physics, a quite esoteric science for the majority, made to the headlines: after five decades of theories and experiments , the physicists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research announced that they have almost certainly detected a boson. A boson is one of two elementary particles that according to quantum theory makes up the universe; the other particles are fermions, that is protons and electrons. CERN declared that "Our understanding of the Universe is about to change" and
The ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN today presented their latest results in the search for the long-sought Higgs boson. Both experiments see strong indications for the presence of a new particle, which could be the Higgs boson, in the mass region around 126 gigaelectronvolts (GeV).
The experiments found hints of the new particle by analysing trillions of proton-proton collisions from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2011 and 2012. The Standard Model of particle physics predicts that a Higgs boson would decay into different particles – which the LHC experiments then detect.
The Higgs boson  has been nicknamed the "God particle" from the popular science book "The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?" by the Nobel prize winner physicist Leonard Lederman. He wrote that the Higgs boson is "so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive"

A proton-proton collision event in the CMS experiment producing two high-energy photons (red towers). This is what we would expect to see from the decay of a Higgs boson but it is also consistent with background Standard Model physics processes. © CERN 2012