Scientists narrow in on hunt for ‘God particle’

Canadian university researchers among international team


Photo of Large Hadron Collider courtesy of CERN

Two teams of nearly 3,000 scientists from around the world, including researchers from 10 Canadian universities, announced this week a new milestone in the hunt for the Higgs boson, a particle that explains the existence of mass.

Scientists at the CERN Physics Research Centre in Geneva, Switzerland presented evidence on Dec. 13 pointing to the existence of the Higgs boson, coined the “God particle” by the American Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman.

The teams worked independently for 21 months inside the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator, to re-create the conditions at the time of the creation of the universe—the Big Bang. The experiments produced the same results: scientists determined that the Higgs boson has a mass between 128 and 525 gigaelectron volts, in the lower regions of the energy field.

The researchers are quick to point out that the news another step in the process, not a definitive discovery. Still, University of Toronto physicist Robert Orr tells the Toronto Star we owe a lot to the elusive Higgs boson: “The whole world we live in is based on the science of electromagnetism. Our whole society has evolved from that: iPads, cameras, lights, computers.”


Scientists narrow in on hunt for ‘God particle’

  1. ||But at Fermilab, scientist Robert Roser greets the news with skepticism. “These are both kind of like one in 50, one in 100 probability that the background could fluctuate up to be a signal. So not very compelling at all yet,” he said.

    Roser visited the CERN laboratories in the days leading up to the announcement of progress in the search for the Higgs. He says there is also caution in Europe about what the latest results mean. “And there was no popping of champagne corks… it was pretty much business as usual going on in there. People were talking about their individual analyses and what’s going on… they weren’t giving each other high fives saying we got this thing settled. So I think in Europe there is an air of caution,” he said.

    “You cannot yet rule out that this small axis of events is from other processes that are mimicking the Higgs.||

    However, very kind of Higgs boson to seem to be there to bail out the credibility of LHC and to ensure its secure funding. But at 2.3 ~ 1.9 Sigma? So the yes/no is still held in the clutches of the funding strategy. But surely put your champagne away in the deep freezer! Also, the strategy has to be excellent otherwise they too shall see the funds drying up like it happened with Fermilab. What was the harm in having it running too, in order to do a quick parallel check on everything? Don’t we believe in replicating experiments at more than one place? That too when the GeV is well within the Fermilab range.

    I as an amateur researcher fully agree with Professor Hawking. The reasons for mass and gravity are totally different than Higgs. For example, faster than light Neutrinoes and Higgs both cannot coexist — either one has to be wrong. It’s DCE research and superluminal speed which has the potential of breaking current scientific barriers, rather than finding a nebulous statistical dual peak for a Higgs, which well could be due to many other anomalies, one that LHC could not decipher is that of the UFOs.

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