Many Americans will mark the nation’s birthday today, but physicists and science nerds will also celebrate the tenth anniversary of the discovery of the Higgs boson – also known as the “God particle” – on July 4. .
You may not be familiar with physicist Peter Higgs, who first predicted the existence of the new particle in the 1960s and hypothesized that we are surrounded by an ocean of quantum information known as the field name of Higgs, but his Nobel Prize-winning discovery does everything else. possible in our universe.
The existence of the Higgs boson is one of the reasons why everything we see, including ourselves, all planets and stars, has mass and exists – hence its name “god particle” .
The particle that Higgs and his fellow physicists hypothesized in 1964 could only gain mass by interacting with a field that pervades the entire universe known as the Higgs field. This means that if the field did not exist, the particles would simply float freely and move at the speed of light.
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The discovery of the Higgs boson in July 2012 is the basis of the existence of all elementary particles in our universe. The image above is a visualization of an event recorded at the CMS detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. It shows the expected characteristics of the decay of the SM Higgs boson into a pair of photons
Unlike many other notable discoveries, the Higgs boson cannot simply be “found” in the traditional sense – it must be created. Once created, evidence of its decay is sought in data collected at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.
Inside the world’s largest particle accelerator – where protons are smashed at near light speed in a vast 27-kilometer tunnel resembling a racetrack that lies 300 feet underground on the border of France and from Switzerland – scientists knew they had found evidence of its decay in 2012.
Many technologies have been advanced – in health care, industry and computing – in the decade since the first observation of the Higgs boson.
Since announcing its discovery on July 4, 2012, physicists have been analyzing how the Higgs boson interacts with other particles to see if it fits what is called the Standard Model of physics.
The existence of the Higgs boson, which is a subatomic particle that is the carrier particle of the Higgs field, was first proposed by British physicist Peter Higgs in 1964. Pictured above is Higgs, who has received a Nobel Prize in Physics for proposing the existence of the Higgs boson, at CERN in July 2012
THE HIGGS BOSON CARRIES MASS AND IS A FUNDAMENTAL PART OF THE STANDARD MODEL OF PARTICLE PHYSICS
The Higgs boson is an elementary particle – one of the building blocks of the universe according to the standard model of particle physics.
It was named after physicist Peter Higgs as part of a mechanism that explains why particles have mass.
According to the Standard Model, our universe is made up of 12 particles of matter – including six quarks and six leptons.
He also has four forces – gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak.
Each force has a corresponding carrier particle known as a boson which acts on matter.
The theory was that the Higgs boson was responsible for mass transfer.
It was first proposed in 1964 and only discovered in 2012 – during a run of the Large Hadron Collider.
The discovery was significant because if it had been shown not to exist, it would have meant tearing up the standard model and going back to the drawing board.
The Standard Model is a guiding theory that accounts for three of the four main forces in the universe – electromagnetism, the weak force and the strong force – but excludes gravity.
There are other aspects of our universe, such as dark matter and dark energy, which are not yet explained by the Standard Model.
Scientists have studied how the Higgs boson interacts with other particles and what these so-called “couplings” can produce – this was achieved by conducting many experiments and analyzing a lot of data.
In 2018, scientists determined that 58% of Higgs bosons decay into b quarks, also called beauty quarks or bottom quarks.
Although CERN was at the center of the action when it came to the Higgs boson, many people don’t know that at one time the United States could have been home to what would have been the world’s largest accelerator. particles in the world – called the Tevatron.
Planned in the 1980s for a site deep beneath Waxahachie, Texas, this particle accelerator would have been 87 kilometers long with the ability to slam protons together at higher energy levels than currently possible at CERN.
However, a combination of bureaucratic unease with the cost of the project and the discomfort of scientists and religious-minded people over the term “God particle” led to the project’s cancellation in 1993.
CERN, which was founded on September 29, 1954, is the focal point of a community of 10,000 scientists from all over the world and it is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web. It has 23 member states, but the US only has observer status at CERN – meaning it is not part of CERN’s governing board that makes important decisions about its science.
In 2012, Higgs and his collaborator François Englert won the Nobel Prize for the “theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass in subatomic particles”.
There are many questions that scientists still hope to answer in the years and decades to come at CERN.
What can the Higgs boson tell us about the first moments of our universe?
Could dark matter and dark matter, which make up 68% and 27% of the universe respectively, be found from interactions with the Higgs boson?
Is it possible to open up microscopic black holes and could energy one day be sucked into them?
Can we discover more information about the b or beauty quarks and what is their significance for the singularity?
What could we learn about M-theory, which posits that instead of just three dimensions of space plus time, there could actually be at least 11 dimensions made up not of the particles we know, but of tiny strings vibrating which all interact with each other.
The launch of the Large Hadron Collider Series 3 will be streamed live on all CERN social media channels from 4 p.m. on Tuesday 5 July.
The Higgs field is best thought of as an energy or information field that permeates everything around us. The photo above is an artistic view of this field published by CERN
Physicist Peter Higgs first posited the existence of the Higgs field and the Higgs boson in 1964. The image above is the scientific paper in which he exposed this case.
CERN is one of the largest scientific institutions in the world, home to over 2,000 scientists working on numerous physics projects. Pictured above is a string of LHC dipole magnets inside a tunnel at the end of the second long shutdown, when the CERN facility was updated for a few years so that protons could be slammed together at much higher energy ranges when Mining 3 begins in July
Future experiments at CERN will attempt to unravel mysteries such as dark matter and dark energy. Pictured above is a string of dipole magnets inside a tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN