Discovery of God particle
The head of the world’s biggest atom smasher says they have discovered a
new particle that is consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson known popularly as the “God particle,” which is believed to give all matter in
the universe size and shape. Rolf Heuer, director of the European Centre for Nuclear Research, or
CERN, says “we have a discovery” of a new subatomic particle, a boson, that is “consistent with a Higgs boson.”
A view of the LHC (large hadron collider) in its tunnel at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland.
“The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the
way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle’s properties, and is likely to shed light on
other mysteries of our Universe,” Mr. Heuer said.
Earlier, Joe Incandela, leader of one of the two independent teams at
the Large Hadron Collider, told a packed audience of scientists at CERN that the data has reached the level of certainty needed for a discovery.
But he has not yet confirmed that the new particle is indeed the tiny
and elusive Higgs boson. Meanwhile, the second team of physicists also claimed they have observed
a new particle, probably the Higgs boson.
The announcements were made to huge applause by scientists including
Peter Higgs who first suggested the existence of the particle in 1964.
Finding the Higgs would validate the Standard Model, a theory which identifies the building blocks for matter and the particles that convey
Higgs boson is believed to exist in an invisible field created by the
Big Bang some 13.7 billion years ago. When some particles encounter the
Higgs, they slow down and acquire mass, according to theory. Others, such as particles of light, encounter no obstacle.
The Higgs theory
The Higgs theory explains how particles clumped together to form stars,
planets and life itself. Without the Higgs particle, the universe would have remained a formless
soup of particles shooting around at the speed of light, the theory goes.
It is the last undiscovered piece of the Standard Model that describes
the fundamental make-up of the universe. The model is for physicists what the theory of evolution is for biologists.
What scientists do not yet know from the latest findings is whether the
particle they have discovered is the Higgs boson as described by the
Standard Model. It could also be a variant of the Higgs idea or an entirely new subatomic particle that could force a rethink on the
fundamental structure of matter.
international scientists from 85 countries working at an underground complex started up a
huge particle-smashing machine on Wednesday, 10th September 2008 aiming to recreate the conditions of
the "Big Bang" that created the universe. Experts say it is the largest scientific experiment in human history and the
Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the biggest and most complex machine ever made.
The project organized by the members of European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), conducted
inside the tightly-sealed chamber buried under the Swiss-French border, could
unlock many secrets of modern physics and answer questions about the universe and its origins.
The 10 billion Swiss franc ($9 billion) machine's debut came as a blip on a
screen in the control room, with a particle beam the size of a human hair appearing in the 27-km (17-mile) circular tunnel.
The world's largest particle collider successfully completed its first major
test by firing a beam of protons all the way around a 17-mile (27-kilometer)
tunnel on Wednesday in what scientists hope is the next great step to
understanding the makeup of the universe. The several hundred physicists and technicians huddled in the control room
celebrated loudly again when a particle beam made a full counter-clockwise
trajectory of the accelerator, successfully completing the machine's first major task.
After a series of trial runs, two white dots flashed on a computer screen at
10:36 a.m. (0836 GMT) indicating that the protons had traveled the full length
of the US$3.8 billion Large Hadron Collider. "There it is," project leader Lyn Evans said when the beam completed its lap.
Champagne corks popped in labs as far away as Chicago, where contributing
scientists watched the proceedings by satellite. Physicists around the world now
have much greater power than ever before to smash the components of atoms together in attempts to see how they are made.
The start of the collider, described as the biggest physics experiment in
history, comes over the objections of some skeptics who fear the collision of
protons could eventually imperil the earth. But James Gillies, chief
spokesman for CERN and the leading scientists like Britain's Stephen Hawking
dismissing the fears and declaring the experiments to be absolutely safe.
The collider is designed to push the proton beam close to the
speed of light, whizzing 11,000 times a second around the tunnel. Smaller
colliders have been used for decades to study the makeup of the atom. Less than
100 years ago scientists thought protons and neutrons were the smallest
components of an atom's nucleus, but in stages since then experiments have shown
they were made of still smaller quarks and gluons and that there were other forces and particles.
The CERN experiments could reveal more about "dark matter," antimatter and
possibly hidden dimensions of space and time. It could also find evidence of the
hypothetical particle, the Higgs boson, believed to give mass to all other
particles, and thus to matter that makes up the universe.
Some 1,200 scientists
are from the United States, which contributed US$ 531 million. Japan, another observer, also is a major contributor.
Sudhir Raniwala and Rashmi Raniwala, associate professors of physics at Rajasthan University, are among the 30-odd physicists from India, who are part of this experiment. Raniwala
said, "We have designed the Photon Multiplicity Detector (PMD), which has been fitted in the
LHC, in which small particles (protons) will be accelerated and made to collide at the highest-ever man-made