The upcoming ICHEP conference sets the stage for CERN’s big announcement on the Higgs boson— popularly referred to as the “god particle.” The Associated Press reports that scientists will announce Wednesday that they have nearly confirmed the existence of the “god particle.”
Scientists at the world’s biggest atom smasher plan to announce Wednesday that they have nearly confirmed the primary plank of a theory that could restructure the understanding of why matter has mass, which combines with gravity to give an object weight.
“I agree that any reasonable outside observer would say, ‘It looks like a discovery,'” said British theoretical physicist John Ellis, a professor at King’s College London. “We’ve discovered something which is consistent with being a Higgs.”
The Higgs boson is the last particle necessary to validate the Standard Model that describes the basic quantum functions resulting in our visible universe and the laws controlling it— with a few exceptions, such as dark matter. According to CERN’s blog, the Higgs boson would not only solve the problematic existence of dark mass, but also explain how elementary particles gather mass. Physicists have been pursuing the Higgs boson for three decades to understand how particles create forces, such as electromagnetism. Discovery of the Higgs boson is the top objective for the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider, which was started up almost four years ago.
According to a CERN press release, CERN scientists have been working overtime to prepare for the upcoming conference, producing more data in the past three months than they have in the past year.
By refining their detection of Higgs-like events, CERN has also made their previous year’s data more valuable in terms of picking out anomalies from the unprecedented quantities of experimental computations. CERN Director for Research and Computing, Sergio Bertolucci, says, “We now have more than double the data we had last year, that should be enough to see whether the trends we were seeing in the 2011 data are still there or whether they’ve gone away.” The vast amount of information is slowly being decoded by a network of thousands of computers in the worldwide LHC Computing Grid.
According to Aidan Randle-Conde, a post-doc participant in the ATLAS experiments, physicists are particularly interested in the width of the particle. Randle-Conde writes, “We usually require a 5 sigma observation to declare a discovery, and there are two ways to do this. We can wait until we have 5 sigma observations on both ATLAS and CMS…or we can combine the results of ATLAS and CMS in order to get a global 5 sigma observation.” He continues to describe how current research will require a different kind of collider to study in detail.
CERN has been working around the clock to ensure that all the data available will be ready for the conference. CERN director Rolf Heuer describes the detection of the Higgs boson as “…a bit like spotting a familiar face from afar, sometimes you need closer inspection to find out whether it’s really your best friend, or actually your best friend’s twin.”
Whether patience proves the presence of the Higgs boson and the properties of interacting with its quantum field or a combination of global results make its presence official, the upcoming discovery could be the first of many exciting discoveries yet to come in the field of quantum physics.