CERN scientists have announced today that they are 99.99% sure that they have discovered a new sub-atomic particle that they believe to be the elusive Higgs Boson – that is regularly referred to as the ‘God Particle.’ Scientists gathered together in Geneva today to announce their findings, among those in the audience was Edinburgh professor Peter Higgs who first theorized about the existence of this seemingly indefinable particle nearly half a century ago!
This discovery has caused a great deal of excitement amongst the scientific community as the existence of this particle will help physicists understand a great deal more about the way in which our universe is constructed.
Dr Andreas Krassnigg, a physicist with the University of Graz in Austria told thenextweb.com: “This Standard Model describes a set of particles from which we can attempt to build the universe as we know it. In addition, it helps us understand what happens in the universe by having a precise picture of the smallest building blocks of matter and their interactions.”
Until today though, scientists lacked definitive proof of the Higgs boson’s existence, however they have had to assume it did exist as it is an integral part of the Standard Model. If this new particle that was discovered using CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is in fact the mysterious Higgs boson, then it will help scientists understand why particles have mass and will authenticate the Standard Model as an a true theory for how the universe is constructed. If scientists discovered that the Higgs boson did not exist then the entire Standard Model would have had to have been scraped and drawn up from scratch!
In their announcement about the discovery, CERN stated: “Positive identification of the new particle’s characteristics will take considerable time and data. But whatever form the Higgs particle takes, our knowledge of the fundamental structure of matter is about to take a major step forward.”
Whilst the discovery of the particle believed to be the Higgs boson might not immediately impact or affect the everyday lives of people who are not scientists or physicists, it will undoubtedly make a massive impact in the future.
For those of you whose only knowledge of physics is that which you remember from high school classes, PHD Comics have put together a great sketch explaining the significance of today’s discovery!