After days of speculation CERN announced today that they have discovered a particle with the characteristics of the Higgs Boson. Although you wouldn’t guess by the reporting in the media they have stopped short of saying for definite if the particle is in fact the Higgs as more investigation will be needed however they have announced that it has a 5-Sigma point. in layman terms they’re 99.9999% sure that what they detected is the Higgs.
“The Higgs boson is the final piece of the Standard Model of Particle Physics, a theoretical model which describes the fundamental particles and forces that control our Universe.
It was first theorised in the 1960s by Edinburgh-based physicist Peter Higgs, amongst others, and is credited for giving all other particles mass. But until now, it has proved impossible to pin down.
To do so, scientists use the LHC to smash together protons at almost the speed of light and scour the debris for traces of particles that sprang into existence for just a fraction of a second before disintegrating.”
“Scientists would then have to assess whether the particle they see behaves like the version of the Higgs particle predicted by the Standard Model, the current best theory to explain how the Universe works. However, it might also be something more exotic.
All the matter we can see appears to comprise just 4% of the Universe, the rest being made up by mysterious dark matter and dark energy.A more exotic version of the Higgs could be a bridge to understanding the 96% of the Universe that remains obscure. Scientists will have to look at how the Higgs decays – or transforms – into other, more stable particles after being produced in collisions at the LHC.”
More experiments are needed to confirm it is the Higgs and the stakes are higher following the fallout from the Italian experiment, although that was more a case of the media not knowing how the scientific method works. Regardless this is a momentous occasion for scientific discovery. Now bring me Dark Matter