Higgs Boson: Mission Accomplished!

An example of simulated data modelled for the ...

An example of simulated data modelled for the CMS particle detector on the Large Hadron Collider.

It looks like the verdict is in: we’ve finally found the Higgs Boson — one of the most elusive particles; with the exception of Dark Matter, in nature.  Science has theorized of it’s existence for years, but it was always just beyond our grasp.

Today, we’ve finally confirmed the existence of what we believe is the Higgs Boson.  Last July, physicists and scientists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or known more properly by it’s French acronym CERN, announced that it’s Large Hadron Collider (or LHC) had conducted a particle acceleration test that revealed the presence of a subatomic particle that had the distinctiveness of what physicists postulated as the characteristics of the elusive particle.

Why is the Higgs so important?  So what?  In essence, the Higgs is, according to Gauge theory published in 1964, gives all conventional matter “mass.”  The average particle of matter contains mass, no matter how minuscule.  However, items of other types of matter, such as neutrinos which are able to pass right through solid matter without being interrupted, and the ever-elusive dark matter, seem not to have this subatomic particle in it’s makeup, according to the math.  Dr. Michio Kaku explains more here why the Higgs is so important.

With the numbers all working out, Science has finally [mathematically and now, via observation] proven the existence of the Higgs Boson.  How was such a feat accomplished, nearly 50 years after it’s postulation?

With the Large Hadron Collider, of course!  The largest particle accelerator on Earth, and in human history, the LHC is so large, it stretches through the border of France and Switzerland;

Large Hadron Collider

Large Hadron Collider (Photo credit: Randall Niles)

and remains one of the largest and most complex structures ever to be built by humankind.  Indeed, it’s literal atom-smashing power is in excess of 7 Tetra-electron volts (7 TeV) — or, to put it in some sort of perspective, a single visible photon of light is approximately 3.4 electron volts.  One Tetra-electron volt is 10E12, or ten to the twelfth electron volts.  Indeed, the atom-smashing power of this collider exceeded the previous most-powerful smasher by over seven times.  Some theorists postulated the idea that the LHC, at full power, had enough power to create a black hole if atoms were smashed at full intensity.  Luckily, this seems to have been proven wrong.

What has been proven right on the other hand, has effectively proven that we’re on the right track, and further, have taken another step toward understanding our universe.

What else is out there?  What more do we have to learn?  Plenty, I feel.


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