Secret of the Universe and Everything: Have Physicists Found It?
It is the Holy Grail for phsyicists the world over and now they think they might finally have found it.
At the moment it is just a hint, no more than a fleeting glimmer among a meteor-shower of other data on a wide-eyed researcher’s screen at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research that is running the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment from Geneva in Switzerland.
But the word in the world’s laboratories is that the elusive Higgs Boson, otherwise known as the God Particle, whose proven existence would be one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs since Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, has been found.
In technical terms, LHC is designed to smash together proton particles at close to light-speed in a bid to better understand their structure. An ‘event’ was detected via an electronic signal compatible with the presence of something that might be the Higgs Bosun but the data will have to be scrutinised further before anything can be confirmed.
In fact, Cern didn’t intend to offer any information at this stage, but an internal memo describing the possible discovery was leaked on the web and forced their hand.
If true, what it means in prosaic scientific terms is that scientists now have a viable explanation for why all matter has mass. In more apocalyptic terms it unlocks the secrets of the cosmos and the mysteries of the universe.
Some 3,000 physicists are working on the Atlas Collaboration at Cern, a series of experiments designed to search for the theoretical sub-atomic particle named after former Edinburgh University professor Peter Higgs who first proposed it. The memo comes from a small team of four.
Dr James Gillies, director of communications at Cern, said: “The note is certainly genuine but what it comes from is a note written by a very small group of people in a large collaboration. If those notes survive scrutiny, which is often not the case, then the next stage in the peer review process is for them to go out to the collaboration as a whole. If they survive that, then the collaboration will say: ‘we’ve got something to go out to external peer review’. What was leaked was the first stage in that process and at this stage we can’t take it seriously and these things do come and go quite often.”
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