Does the "God Particle" exist?on July 3, 2012 @ 4:37 am (Updated: 7:03 am - 7/4/12 )
"We have now found the missing cornerstone of particle physics," Rolf Heuer, director of the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), told scientists.
Higgs boson is something they have believed for decades must exist, but they have never been able to prove.
It's something that balances all of the physics equations. It is what scientists believe explains why some subatomic particles have mass and others don't. Now before your eyes glass over, just realize that proving its existence would validate everything we know about how the universe operates.
If it doesn't exist, University of Washington physics professor Gordon Watts told MyNorthwest.com, it's back to the drawing board.
"If in the standard model we don't have the Higgs, then everything is clearly wrong, like so wrong all the experiments that we've done or many of the experiments we've done, we would completely get it wrong," he said.
Professor Watts has been searching for the Higgs for 17 years. He's done research at the $10 billion super- collider in Geneva that was designed to prove it exists.
"If we didn't find it, it would be fascinating because there has to be something like the Higgs there. Otherwise, we're really wrong," Watts said. "So if there's not something like the Higgs there, that means that we have to completely re-imagine how it is that nature works."
So how will tonight's announcement impact your life?
Watts said the immediate impact will be minimal. "If we find the Higgs or don't find the Higgs, it will not have any immediate effect on your world," he said. "You won't suddenly dissolve into a mass of goo or something like that."
But discovering the Higgs, Watts believes, is just below Einstein's theory of relativity. It's that important to science and understanding how the universe works. He said the goal is to find ways to create the Higgs in a stable way so it can be used to benefit man, but he believes that is decades down the road. Proving the particle exists is just the first step.
Now for an explanation of what scientists believe the Higgs is, and my apologies to all the physicists reading this if my analogies don't do it justice. And don't judge Professor Watts by my understanding, he did a great job explaining it.
Chris' Higgs explanation:
The Higgs is a sub-atomic particle that joins together with other Higgs to create a Higgs Field. Think of the Higgs as a molecule of water and quantity of water to fill a glass as the Higgs Field. Quarks and electrons go in and out of this field. The more mass something has, the more it interacts with the water. A large person swimming moves more water than a streamlined fish.
If that's not doing it for you, try this one. The Higgs Field is a cocktail party. The quarks and electrons are the guests. The life of the party has more mass because it interacts with more of the party. The wallflower has less mass because it doesn't talk to anyone.
And if you want to know why it's called the "God Particle," you can thank the editor of a publishing company. When Nobel Prize winner Leon Lederman wrote a book about the Higgs, his editor didn't think putting Higgs in the title was sexy enough. It didn't grab enough attention, so the editor called it the "God Particle."
And Lederman has had to explain himself ever since.
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