The Higgs boson, known by many as the “God Particle” may have been discovered! On July 4th, 2012 scientists from CERN confirmed the existence of a previously unknown particle that is consistent with the Higgs boson. Further testing and analysis will confirm if what they found is truly the Higgs boson.

The Higgs boson can be better explained in relationship to the Higgs field. In 1964 a physicist by the name of Peter Higgs proposed the presence of an energy field permeating throughout the entire universe. This is referred to as the Higgs field. Most fields we use today are generated by some source (such as an electric field which is generated by an electric charge). If this charge is removed, the field goes to zero. The Higgs field is unique in that it seems to lack a source and yet still exists at all times throughout space.

This field interacts differently with different fundamental particles (like protons and electrons). The more interaction between the field and a particle the more drag the Higgs bosons put on that particle. This drag is what we perceive as the rest mass of a particle. A few particles seem to be completely unimpeded by the Higgs field (such as the photon) where as other particles interact a great deal with the field (such as the top quark) and therefore possess more mass. (5)

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), built in September of 2008, is located near the border of France and Switzerland. It was built in order for physicists to study and test theories of particle physics and high-energy physics. One of the main experiments held at the LHC is to collide two beams of protons (stripped from an atom of hydrogen) accelerating in opposite directions. The protons move in a ring formation in two separate paths and opposite directions. These particles are accelerated to nearly the speed of light. Along the ring formation are detector areas, which are continuously taking massive amounts of data. 15 petabytes (15,000,000 gigabytes) of data are gathered every year at LHC. (4) At the detectors, the paths cross so the particles may have a chance to collide (after the particles have reached the necessary speed).  At the time of collision a massive amount of energy is released. When two protons collide they are broken down into even smaller sub-particles including quarks, a mitigating force called gluon, ect.. (4) During the last year this method was used to discover what scientists at CERN now believe to be the Higgs boson.

Below is a simplified image of the LHC that can be found at http://www.katoptrons.eu/katoptrons3.htm. The collider is enclosed in a tunnel up to 175 meters (575 feet) underground and has a circumference of 27 kilometers (16.78 miles).

The new findings may validate the Standard Model and possibly open the door to understand the force of gravity.

 

 

 

1. http://lhc-machine-outreach.web.cern.ch/lhc-machine-outreach/

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Hadron_Collider

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson

4. http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/large-       hadron-collider6.htm

5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1_HrQVhgbeo

 

 

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