A year since the discovery of a subatomic particle set the science world aflutter, evidence is mounting it may be the elusive Higgs boson even as researchers warn the suspense is far from over.
“We have established without a doubt that we have a new particle, and that it is a boson. What remains to be done is confirm that it is a Higgs,” said physicist Pauline Gagnon, a member of the team that made the discovery at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).
The elusive boson dubbed the “God Particle” was theorised by British physicist Peter Higgs in 1964 to be what gave mass to matter as the Universe cooled after the Big Bang.
Guided by the theoretical work of Higgs and others, hundreds of scientists have been on a single-minded boson quest for over three years at the CERN’s atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
On July 4 last year, physicists announced to rousing applause that they had found an elementary particle “consistent with (the) long-sought Higgs boson”—a scientific milestone.
Finding the Higgs would fill a massive gap in the Standard Model of particle physics, which describes the forces, particles and interactions that comprise the Universe.
In theory, the Higgs exists as an invisible field, interacting with other particles to give them mass. Without it, humans and all other joined-up atoms in the Universe would not exist.
But while the Standard Model postulates the existence of a single Higgs boson, alternative schools of thought like string theory say there may be at least five.
“Have we found THE boson, or perhaps one of several predicted by other theories …? Until now, everything indicates that this is the Standard Model boson,” Gagnon told AFP.
Read more at: Phys.org