Scientists at CERN today announced the discovery of the Higgs Boson, the elusive particle that gives everything in the universe its mass. The Higgs Boson is the last particle in the standard model of particle physics to be discovered. All the others, quarks, leptons, and force carriers have long since been confirmed. But the Higgs Boson has such a short life span that its presence couldn’t be confirmed without replicating high velocity collisions similar to those assumed to have existed immediately after the Big Bang.
We like this animated video that explains the Higgs Boson particle and theory. It starts off with some poor audio and a tour through the CERN cafeteria, so start watching at 0:37 to skip to the good stuff.
CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN is the French acronym). They are the people who work with the Large Hadron Collider to run experiments that help explain the fundamental physics of the universe.
The Large Hadron Collider is a 27 km long tunnel buried 100m beneath France and Switzerland. It accelerates particles to nearly the speed of light, and then smashes them together so that scientists can analyze the results. One of the particles they have been searching for is the elusive and short-lived Higgs Boson.
The CERN video below has some excellent animations and interviews with the scientists conducting the research. They explain how they analyzed staggering amounts of data to find the Higgs Boson particle. The predicted result is so extremely small that it could easily have been missed.
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The scientists said the results had a significance of 5 sigma, which sounds pretty astonishing (5 sigma being a discovery), but they are still saying the results are preliminary. Seems to us that there was a bit of a rush job to meet the deadline for a major conference today. CERN has promised confirmation later this month when they publish the complete analysis.
The Higgs Boson particle discovered acts as a bridge between the Higgs mechanism (which exists everywhere in space) and atoms, giving atoms their mass. The particle was found to have a mass of 125 to 126 GeV, over a 100 times heavier than the proton of any atom.
Written by: Josh Chan and John Hayes
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