Much fuss has been created about the “God Particle”, the curiosity about knowing from where all the things in this universe came. Scientists were so curious about finding the particle that they even created an artificial black hole at a large hadron collider to find the Higgs Boson.
Why is finding Higgs boson so important?
Higgs boson is a hypothetical elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. It is the only Standard Model particle not yet observed. Experimental observation of it would help to explain how otherwise massless elementary particles cause matter to have mass. If it exists, the Higgs boson is an integral and pervasive component of the material world.
It plays a key role in the standard model of physics (the theory on which physicists base their whole understanding of matter). Proving the existence or absence of the Higgs boson could change the entire foundation of physics, indicating the existence of particles and forces not yet imagined and paving the way for an entirely new set of laws.
“The Higgs boson is interesting because it is the only reasonable explanation we have for the origin of mass”, says Dave Rainwater, a researcher at FermiLab. “Without the Higgs, all fundamental particles would be massless, and the universe would be very different. The weak nuclear forces wouldn’t be weak at all, for instance, so the elemental composition of the cosmos would be radically different, stars would shine differently, and we probably wouldn’t exist.”
Also, the one who finds the “God particle” is assured of a Nobel prize for sure.
What is Higgs Boson?
Higgs is the reason for the mass of everything, every single atom; we literally mean the basis of every mass. Experimental observation of it would help to explain how otherwise “mass-less” elementary particles cause matter to have mass. So finding the particle would mean the sole verification of the standard model. With Higgs, we would be able to understand how something with no mass can contribute to atoms and molecules to have mass.
What is the Standard Model?
In the previous discussion, we have been talking about “The Standard Model”, so what actually is this model about? We try to explain that in simpler terms.
The Standard Model tells about the matter at the most microscopic level. It tells how all matter is made up.
The matter is divided into molecules, then into atoms and further into the nucleus, protons, electrons, and neutrons. Even beneath these, we have quarks & leptons. Three (3) quarks combine to form up a proton or neutron.
Leptons exist in two forms: charge or neutral. The most basic Lepton is an electron while a neutral lepton is called a neutrino which hardly interacts with matter.
There are three known charged leptons, the lightest of which is the electron. Electrons, which are negatively charged, are attracted to nuclei, which are positively charged, to form atoms.
A good pictorial representation of an atom is a cloud of electrons swarming around a tiny nucleus, much the way bees might swarm around a queen who has left her hive. Since atoms make up everything in the world, quarks and leptons are the fundamental building blocks of nature.
There are three fundamental forces in this universe:
The most familiar is gravity, which holds humans and other objects to the Earth, makes the Moon go around the Earth thereby leading to tides, lunar phases and eclipses and causes the Earth to orbit the Sun, thereby leading to seasons.
Gravity is generated by objects with mass. But because gravity is such a weak force, only bodies of huge mass, such as the Earth and Sun, create a significant effect. In the subatomic world, where protons, neutrons, and electrons are extremely light, gravity plays no role.
The second fundamental force is a combination of three forces previously thought to be independent of one another: magnetism, the electric force, and the weak subnuclear interaction, leading to electromagnetism. The electromagnetic force is the source for all macroscopic forces except those created by gravity.
Friction, spring forces, air pressure, the forces in collisions, and so on originates from the electromagnetic force. The weak subnuclear interaction is responsible for certain decays of nuclei and plays a role in generating the energy of the Sun and other stars in their cores. As its name implies, it operates at distances smaller than a nucleus and it is very weak. For this reason, it is difficult to observe.
The third fundamental force is called the strong nuclear force. It binds three quarks together to form the proton and the neutron. It is also responsible for causing protons and neutrons to stick to one another in a nucleus.
Is the existence of “God Particle” or “The Higgs Boson” proved?
A scientist at CERN have made the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. The famous LHC was thought to create a black hole and engulf the Earth into itself and end of humanity.
Well, that did not happen yet! So CERN has been performing a lot of research and experiments on the subject.
There are four experimental detectors at CERN. Of these four, only Aleph is seeing convincing evidence of Higgs production.
That detector sees three Higgs-candidate events. Another detector, Delphi, also thinks that it has produced one Higgs in a single positron-electron collision. Although Aleph states that the Higgs has been seen with better than 99% confidence, no strong claims can be made with so few events. CERN has decided to run its LEP experiment an extra month or so to try to produce more Higgs particles. If successful, an important announcement on the Higgs discovery will be made near the end of this year.
As of May 2011, the Higgs boson has yet to be confirmed experimentally, despite large efforts invested in accelerator experiments at CERN and Fermilab. In April 2011, there were suggestions in the media that evidence for the Higgs boson might have been discovered at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland. However, these had been debunked by mid-May. In regard to these rumors Jon Butterworth, a member of the High Energy Physics group on the Atlas experiment, stated they were not a hoax but were based on unofficial, unreviewed results and that the scientific process requires prudence before making any conclusion.
Prior to the year 2000, the data gathered at the LEP collider at CERN allowed an experimental lower bound to be set for the mass of the Standard Model Higgs boson of 114.4 GeV/c2 at 95% confidence level. The same experiment has produced a small number of events that could be interpreted as resulting from Higgs bosons with a mass just above said cut-off—around 115 GeV—but the number of events was insufficient to draw definite conclusions. The LEP was shut down in 2000 due to the construction of its successor, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which is expected to be able to confirm or reject the existence of the Higgs boson. The full operational mode was delayed until mid-November 2009, because of a serious fault discovered with a number of magnets during the calibration and start-up phase.
So if one of the most important scientific discoveries has been made, why has there been so little news about it? The answer is that because of its great importance, experimentalists must be sure of the result before announcing it.
Well, we hope now you know what the “God (damned) particle” is…!!!
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