Why is the ‘God Particle’ Important?

Scientists say they have found hints of the existence of the Higgs boson, a never-before-seen subatomic particle long thought to be a fundamental building block of the universe.

In a highly anticipated press conference, researchers announced that two independent experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva have turned up signs of the so-called “God particle.”

“The Higgs boson is the last missing piece of our current understanding of the most fundamental nature of the universe,” Martin Archer, a physicist at Imperial College in London, told CNN. “Only now with the LHC are we able to really tick that box off and say ‘This is how the universe works, or at least we think it does’.”

The popular nickname for the elusive particle was created for the title of a book by Nobel Prize winning physicist Leon Lederman — reportedly against his will, as Lederman has said he wanted to call it the “Goddamn Particle” because “nobody could find the thing.” For the past year scientists have searched for the Higgs boson by smashing protons together at high energy in the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, “hoping that somewhere in these collisions that you see something … some sort of a statistical bump,” says Archer.

Martin Archer believes a failure to find the Higgs boson would be even more exciting than discovering the elusive particle because “it actually means that the universe at the most fundamental level is more complicated than we thought,” says Archer, “and therefore maybe the way we’ve been attacking physics isn’t right.”

 

Source: CNN.com

Image: National Geographic

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