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10 Things To Know About the New Higgs-like Particle

10 Things To Know About the New Higgs-like Particle

Here is a firework-worthy discovery: Scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva have announced that they have found a new subatomic particle consistent with the Higgs boson, sometimes called the “God particle” because, it is believed, finding it would enable us to make sense of the very workings of the universe and gain a new understanding of how our universe began.

The results were announced to an auditorium of cheering scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research with no one less than physicist Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh, for whom the boson is named, in the audience. “I think we have it,” said Rolf Heuer, the director general of CERN.

Scientists have not found the Higgs particle but something “Higgs-like.”As the New York Times points out, they still have to deduce if the new particle, one of the heaviest subatomic ones yet,

…fits the simplest description given by the Standard Model, the theory that has ruled physics for the last half-century, or whether it is an impostor, a single particle or even the first of many particles yet to be discovered. The latter possibilities are particularly exciting to physicists since they could point the way to new deeper ideas, beyond the Standard Model, about the nature of reality.

The Standard Model refers to the elementary participles, the very most basic set of ingredients that are necessary to make up our world.

As CERN theorist John Ellis points out, “It’s great to discover a new particle, but you have find out what its properties are.”

While we wait to learn more about the new Higgs-ish particle, a few things we do know:

2. How many classes of subatomic particles there are, one being a boson (bits of energy that transmit forces, as a photon transmits light); the other is a fermion (bits of matter like electrons).

125.5 billion: How much the new particle weighs in electron volts or gigaelectronvolts (GeV).

45: How many years scientists have been looking for it.

133 times more: About how much heavier the new particle is than the protons at the heart of every atom.

4 percent: How much we can see of all the matter of the universe, the rest being “mysterious dark matter and dark energy” (BBC).

5-sigma (or 5-standard deviation) level of certainty: This is what participles physics accepts as the standard for a discovery with each sigma a measure of “how unlikely it is to get a certain experimental result as a matter of chance rather than due to a real effect” (BBC).

1,000: About how many people stood in line all Tuesday night to gain entrance into the CERN auditorium in Geneva.

6,000: How many physicists (in two team of 3,000 each) operate the giant detectors in the collider.

800 trillion. How many proton-proton collisions physicists have analyzed over the past two years.

6: How many physicists, including Professor Higgs, invented the “notion of the cosmic molasses or Higgs field” in 1964.



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3:02PM PST on Dec 17, 2012

Interesting & exciting stuff. Science & religion merging to a more spiritual outlook. Dan Browns novels explain this stuff in an easy to understand formula.

5:41PM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

Awesome discovery

12:13AM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

thanks for sharing

9:01PM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

@Ron, the boson took so long to detect because it is so small, and relies on other bosons to exist, as well as constantly self destructing, not because they're 'smart'. We can't exactly go around destroying bosons as we and everything else in this universe is made up of them.

@Steve, we're not that clueless considering we've been looking for this for the last 100 years or so. It's not like the finding of a boson is of complete shock to any physicist.

7:03PM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

thanks, great find.

3:52PM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

The term "God particle" was not written by a physicist, 98% of whom are atheists.

The original term "God damned particle" due to the difficulty in proving its existence was change by a publisher/publicist as being more socially acceptable.

A scientist who uses the term "God" in any way but jest justly becomes the target of ridicule.

Believers are so starved for any educated person even remotely agreeing with them that they fail to recognize either the jest or the ridicule.

Let's try an experiment. If I say that I believe in talking snakes that makes me an expert on women's medical needs.

10:53AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012


8:00AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

Noted ....

7:19AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

It neither proves nor disproves the existence of GOD, and too much has been read into the moniker "the god particle" ...if fact the guy call it often....the god dam particle.....
lets face need a sense of humour if you are a scientist!

Good luck to them!

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11:35PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

great info! im not sure if this will turn out to be the higgs boson for sure, but either way it's a great discovery and it'll give us more insight into the make up of the universe

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