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'God particle' a gateway to new vision of universe

Rolf Heuer, CERN Director General, second right, Fabiola Gianotti, ATLAS experiment spokesperson, left, and Joe Incandela, CMS experiment look at a screen during a scientific seminar to deliver the latest update in the search for the Higgs boson at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin near Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, July 4, 2012. The head of the world's biggest atom smasher is claiming discovery of a new particle that he says 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. – AP Photo

SYDNEY: Physicists said Thursday the potential discovery of the “God particle” was a gateway to a new era that could see humanity unlock some of the universe's great mysteries including dark matter.

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) unveiled data from the Large Hadron Collider on Wednesday “consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson”, an elusive particle thought to help explain why matter has mass.

It was hailed as a huge moment for science by physicists gathered in Australia, where CERN's findings were unveiled via videolink from Geneva at a landmark conference attended by hundreds of the field's top experts.

Scientists went into a frenzy following the announcement, speculating that it could one day make light speed travel possible by “un-massing” objects or allow huge items to be launched into space by “switching off” the Higgs.

CERN scientist Albert de Roeck likened it to the discovery of electricity, when he said humanity could never have imagined its future applications.

“What's really important for the Higgs is that it explains how the world could be the way that it is in the first millionth of a second in the Big Bang,” de Roeck told AFP.

“Can we apply it to something? At this moment my imagination is too small to do that.”Physicist Ray Volkas said “almost everybody” was hoping that, rather than fitting the so-called Standard Model of physics -- a theory explaining how particles fit together in the Universe -- the Higgs boson would prove to be “something a bit different”.

“If that was the case that would point to all sorts of new physics, physics that might have something to do with dark matter,” he said, referring to the hypothetical invisible matter thought to make up much of the universe.

“It could be, for example, that the Higgs particle acts as a bridge between ordinary matter, which makes up atoms, and dark matter, which we know is a very important component of the universe.””That would have really fantastic implications for understanding all of the matter in the universe, not just ordinary atoms,” he added.

De Roeck said scrutinising the new particle and determining whether it supported something other than the Standard Model would be the next step for CERN scientists.

Clarification could be expected by the beginning of 2013; definitive proof that it fitted the Standard Model could take until 2015 when the LHC had more power and could harvest more data.

The LHC is due to go offline for a two-year refit in December that will see its firepower doubled to 14 trillion electronvolts -- a huge step forward in the search for new particles and clues about what holds them all together.

De Roeck said he would find it a “little boring at the end if it turns out that this is just the Standard Model Higgs”.

Instead, he was hoping it would be a “gateway or a portal to new physics, to new theories which are actually running nature” such as supersymmetry, which hypothesises that there are five different Higgs particles governing mass.

The hunt for Higgs -- the logical next step of which de Roeck said would be searching for, and eventually being able to produce, dark matter particles -- has already had huge benefits to medicine and technology.

Volkas said the Internet was born at CERN as a solution to high-volume data-sharing and other major spin-offs were likely to follow as physicists continued to “push the boundaries of pure science”.

“We just want to know how the world works, but in order to answer those questions you have to develop new technologies,” he said.

Funding for particle physics is already under scrutiny in North America, where the LHC's predecessor, the Illinois-based Tevatron run by Fermilab, was closed late last year due to financial constraints.

Fermilab director Pier Oddone said money was a “big, big issue” threatening progress in the United States and he hoped the Higgs discovery would spur greater funding from US agencies and Congress.

“What I would hope is that this excitement, this focus of the world's attention on this discovery, will actually help a lot in stimulating and reestablishing particle physics in North America,” Oddone said.

De Roeck said there were similar problems in Europe, where physicists will meet in September to discuss research priorities for the next 20 years and whether they need and can afford an accelerator after the LHC.

“That is going to be a tough fight,” he said. “Despite this momentous moment we have now, it doesn't necessarily bring the funding which one would require.”He urged governments and other key contributors to see fundamental science as a “must” rather than a luxury.

“This is the only way we can actually move on and have a deeper understanding of how things work. It can only be in our benefit exploring that.”

Comments (20) Closed

suneel Kumar
Jul 05, 2012 12:30pm
it seems new wonder of science is around us .
Jul 06, 2012 08:30pm
Bose's study has no relationship with this. However, Bose contributed so much to quantum physics, a set of particles were named after him. (Bosons).
Jul 06, 2012 08:27pm
You should try to understand more. One of your scientists, Abdus Salam got the nobel prize for Physics, by applying the Higgs field to weak nuclear force.
Jul 06, 2012 09:39am
The contribution of Indian scintist is very much applaud in this new invention know as "Higgs boson" which is in the name of Indian scientist Mr. Satyendra Bose. India has also provided many scientific instruments and almost 40 nos. of scientists were continiously involved in this research. It is really proud moments for us as Indian.
Jul 06, 2012 12:26pm
How is it that different particles such as electron and proton have different masses? Its like why apple has less mass than water melon? So they say that there is a field (like magnetic field) known as Higgs Field and this field has peculiar properties like a pendulum which does not have maximum kinetic energy when it is passing through the centre or one which does not have maximum potential energy at its heighest position. When this Higgs field interacted with atomic particles they attained a mass that we observe today. The interaction of Higgs field with these partcles was via a force carrying unit known as Higgs Boson.
Mohamed I. Mahdi
Jul 05, 2012 05:25pm
although i was so exited to get to know what it is: but a little disappointed for not describing it in rather simpler terms for ordinary people like me. m. mahdi/sudan
Lalthlamuana Hnamte
Jul 05, 2012 05:21pm
This will help them create a place in the universe or stars. They may even build cities under the sea. The end will then be at hand.
Muhammad shahzad
Jul 05, 2012 02:44pm
well done universe scholars keep it up
Afzal Deura
Jul 05, 2012 01:43pm
It's a great achievement. Well done CERN
Jul 06, 2012 02:19am
wait a minute.. what happend again? Did I miss something?
Jul 06, 2012 03:11am
great work on the study done by satyendra bose
m furqan
Jul 06, 2012 04:03am
Religious people don't have to worry about the "titles" given to the scientific research. Such titles are important to get the young generation interested in science and education. If you see closely scientific researches in past almost always mention God or religion only because in European history religion was the biggest enemy of science.
Jul 06, 2012 04:13am
What is this "God particle"? Can somebody explain in layman's term, please.?
Jul 06, 2012 04:46am
cant understand a word of it except that they find some kind of rock...
Nisar Khan
Jul 06, 2012 06:49am
Humanity if proud of you bunch of Scientists
Nadeem Shah
Jul 06, 2012 06:50am
Not your fault, the education level amongst Muslims is tragically low. Maybe if you stop buring US flags and pick up some US scientific journals, you may be more informed.
Jul 06, 2012 07:49am
Particle Physics is an interesting subject. To those who did not understand this article. This is short summary. Higgs Boson, particle, could be either a very tiny sub-atomic particle, which makes up most matter, including everything you see, including yourself. But if this Higgs Boson, could also be something not part of the sub-atomic particle, like dark matter, or anti-matter. So, if they succeed in finding out if Higgs particle is part of Matter (or atoms), or anti-Matter (Darkness), or something in between, (Bridge). The scientists are hoping that it is NOT part of the Matter (Atom), but Anti-Matter (Darkness) or a BRIDGE, something that connect Matter with Anti-Matter, (Darkness).
Jul 06, 2012 08:07am
There are 12 fundamental particles in nature that make up everything. These particles are divided into two groups known as fermions and bosons on the basis of something called their quantum spin and some other mumbo jumbo which makes whole 4 credit hour courses in universities. Anyhow, moving on one of the major problem with the standard model (It's a bunch of formulas in laymen terms that unities three out of four fundamental forces of nature leaving poor gravity out of it) was it couldn’t explain how things acquired mass. So this field (like the magnetic field you learned about in school) known as the Higgs field was suggested with which every particle would interact to gain its mass and the Higgs boson (the particle) was the excitation of this field. The Higgs field also explained why the “weak nuclear force” (force which binds the nucleus together) was exactly weaker. Moving on, with the addition of the Higgs field the standard model could explain the mass of things and thus that is why the Higgs Boson is also laymenly and quite frankly truthfully referred as the particle that gives everything its mass. The Higgs Boson (Well scientists are still 99.9 percent sure that it is the boson) found was a little heavier than we anticipated it to be. Also something you may have heard is that it was found to be within 5 Sigma. What is sigma you ask? Sigma is the standard deviation. Standard deviation from what we anticipated and theorized it to be. So, it is a particle that behaves as the Higgs Boson should had. As this is not quite what we expected it to be, scientists do hope that it will open new doors and perhaps give us the ultimate dream of achieving a unified theory of all forces (String theory is one of them). Also, lastly: Higgs Boson is often frowned upon for being called as the God Particle due to a book whose author originally wanted to call it the Goddamn particle due to its evasiveness. I tried writing it as laymenly as possible
Agha Ata
Jul 06, 2012 02:21pm
Beware, scientists. You are building a Tower of Babel again. God's wrath with fall upon you
Jul 07, 2012 06:10am
God particle ok.But out of nothing big bang started and formation of universe if so why not many such points and formation of many universe.How it is explained?