Higgs boson was just a start for Cern’s atom smasher – other mysteries await
The Large Hadron Collider will shut down for an overhaul in preparation for exploring questions of dark matter, extra dimensions and other universes
(The Guardian) The machine that last year helped scientists snare the elusive Higgs boson – or a convincing subatomic impostor – faces a two-year shutdown while engineers perform repairs that are needed for the collider to ramp up to its maximum energy in 2015 and beyond. The work will beef up electrical connections in the machine that were identified as weak spots after an incident four years ago that knocked the collider out for more than a year.
The Next Holy Grail for Physics
(Spiegel) The apparent discovery of the Higgs boson was hailed as a historic milestone, but for particle physicists it mainly marks the beginning of a new search. Rival teams at CERN in Switzerland are trying to decipher the secrets of antimatter. If they succeed, the laws of physics will have to be rewritten.
“It’s a boson:” Higgs quest bears new particle
GENEVA (Reuters) – Scientists at Europe’s CERN research center have found a new subatomic particle, a basic building block of the universe, which appears to be the boson imagined and named half a century ago by theoretical physicist Peter Higgs..
Higgs, now 83, from Edinburgh University was among six theorists who in the early 1960s proposed the existence of a mechanism by which matter in the universe gained mass. Higgs himself argued that if there were an invisible field responsible for the process, it must be made up of particles.
He and some of the others were at CERN to welcome news of what, to the embarrassment of many scientists, some commentators have labelled the “God particle”, for its role in turning the Big Bang into an ordered universe.
Scientists see confirmation of his theory as accelerating investigations into the still unexplained “dark matter” they believe pervades the universe and into the possibility of a fourth or more dimensions, or of parallel universes. It may help in resolving contradictions between their model of how the world works at the subatomic level and Einstein’s theory of gravity. The Higgs particle – what it is and what it does
A Quantum Leap
The discovery of the Higgs boson particle puts our understanding of nature on a new firm footing.
By Lawrence M. Krauss, Foundation Professor and Director of the Arizona State University Origins Project. His most recent book is A Universe from Nothing.
The Higgs field implies that otherwise seemingly empty space is much richer and weirder than we could have imagined even a century ago, and in fact that we cannot understand our own existence without understanding “emptiness” better. Readers of mine will know that as a physicist, I have been particularly interested in “nothing” in all of its forms and its relation to something—namely us. The discovery of the Higgs says that “nothing” is getting ever more interesting.
(Slate) The idea of the Higgs particle was proposed nearly 50 years ago. (Incidentally, it has never been called the “God particle” by the physics community. That moniker has been picked up by the media, and I hope it goes away.) It was discussed almost as a curiosity, to get around some inconsistencies between predictions and theory at the time in particle physics, that if an otherwise invisible background field exists permeating empty space throughout the universe, then elementary particles can interact with this field. Even if they initially have no mass, they will encounter resistance to their motion through their interactions with this field, and they will slow down. They will then act like they have mass.
Within a few years, it had been recognized that this phenomenon could not only explain why elementary particles like the particles that make up our bodies have the masses they do, but it could also illuminate why two of the four known forces in nature, electromagnetism and the so-called “weak” force (responsible for the processes that power the sun), which on the surface appear very different at the scales we measure, are actually at a fundamental scale merely different manifestations of a single force, now called the “electro-weak” force.
What This Higgs Boson Thing Really Means
(The Atlantic) As you may have heard, there is now strong evidence that a particle called the Higgs boson, whose existence has long been predicted on theoretical grounds, actually exists.
Let me explain to you what the Higgs boson is.
Just kidding! Nobody can explain to you what the Higgs boson is, because if they try they’ll say things like: The Higgs boson is the particle that imparts mass to the other particles. And if you’re thinking clearly you’ll say: Wait, what does that mean? You mean if the Higgs boson disappeared, then the other particles would exist but wouldn’t have mass? So how could they be particles at all–I mean, how could they be particles in the sense that I think of “particles”?
The answer to that question, I think, is that particles aren’t really particles in the sense that you and I think of particles. At least, that would explain why physicists sometimes use “particle” interchangeably with “field.” (And as for what a “field” is: It’s like a particle, except different.)
Higgs boson hunt over: CERN scientists at Large Hadron Collider find ‘God particle’
(National Post) After a quest spanning nearly half a century, physicists said they had found a new sub-atomic particle consistent with the elusive Higgs which is believed to confer mass.
Finding the Higgs would validate the Standard Model, a theory which identifies the building blocks for matter and the particles that convey fundamental forces.
“(The Higgs) has been anticipated for more than four decades and were it not there theorists all over the world would have been back to their drawing boards in desperation,” said Anthony Thomas at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
CERN physicist Yves Sirois agreed.
“This could the Higgs boson that has been found, which may shed light on how matter came into being at the very start of the Universe, a thousandth of a billionth of a second after the Big Bang,” he told AFP.
“It may be the Higgs boson, but it may also be something far bigger, which opens the door towards a new theory that goes beyond the Standard Model.”