According to BBC News – ‘God particle’ may have been seen a bunch of particle physicists at the large electron positron collider (LEP) in Geneva, Switzerland may have detected the elusive Higgs boson particle.
The Higgs boson is thought to be highly unstable and, once produced, should quickly decay.
Dr Renton cites indirect evidence taken from observations of the behaviour of other particles in colliders that agrees with the figure of 115 gigaelectronvolts for the mass of the Higgs boson.
“It’s controversial. The data is possibly indicative, but it needs confirmation,” said Bryan Webber, professor of theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge.
“Its mass is right at the maximum energy they could run the [LEP] at. But the indirect indications are that the Higgs boson should be close to that value.”
So why is this such a big deal? Well, we’ve managed to confirm 16 other particles that together make up all of known matter under the Standard Model of Fundamental Particles and Interactions, but there’s a problem. By themselves these 16 particles would have no mass which we already know isn’t the case, so there has to be something else out there that provides these particles with their mass.
Another particle has to give them this mass. Enter the Higgs boson, first proposed by University of Edinburgh physicist Peter Higgs and colleagues in the late 1960s.
Their theory was that all particles acquire their mass through interactions with an all-pervading field, called the Higgs field, which is carried by the Higgs boson.
The Higgs’ importance to the Standard Model has led some to dub it the “God particle”.
Needless to say that if they actually have finally detected this particle then there will be some major pants-wetting by physicist geeks everywhere as it’ll confirm the accuracy of the Standard Model. They can’t go back and replicate the experiment at the same facility, though, because it’s been dismantled to make way for a newer and bigger particle accelerator which they hope will provide them with the tools to confirm this possible sighting within a year or two. So all you physicists geeks won’t have to worry about stocking up on DependsTM for awhile yet.