Physicists from the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva said Thursday that they were confident that the particle discovered last year in their laboratory was indeed a Higgs boson, a long sought particle significant in explaining the universe.
The Higgs boson is important in the field of physics since it has been long theorized to be the key to resolving the mystery of where mass came from. The term "Higgs boson" is associated with a field called Higgs field, an all-pervading force in the universe. As other particles move through this field, they acquire mass just like objects swimming in ocean get wet.
The confirmation on the theory that proves how particles acquire mass could lead us in search of answers for bigger mysteries such as the existence itself - the presence of planets, stars, and all living things. The particle is thus, aptly referred to as God particle.
In July last year, physicists in CERN laboratory which runs the Large Hadron Collider, a machine that smashes atoms, said that the machine had discovered a particle that was akin to Higgs boson. After analyzing two and half times more data than was available during the discovery last year, they found that the particle is looking increasingly like a Higgs boson.
However, before people breath an air of eureka baffled with the prospect of achieving answers to elementary questions about existence, there is a little problem - scientists warn. The Higgs boson also exists in some other models in physics and it cannot be said with certainty that the particle discovered is the Higgs boson of the Standard Model of particle physics - the theory that explains how the basic building blocks of matter interact, governed by four fundamental forces: the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force, and the gravitational force.
"The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is," said CMS spokesperson Joe Incandela.
The Higgs boson is the only key particle within the standard model of physics that hasn't been observed in an experiment in a definitive way. Finding particles like the Higgs is not easy. They are found by racing them to near-light speed and smashing them to create other subatomic entities -- an analysis of these smashed entities indicate the mass of the particle being looked after.
Physicists have waited for a new experimental proof since the initial findings were disclosed in the summer which had large margin of error since it was based on small amount of data. The particles now will no longer be called "like Higgs boson".
"The beautiful new results represent a huge effort by many dedicated people. They point to the new particle having the spin-parity of a Higgs boson as in the Standard Model. We are now well started on the measurement programme in the Higgs sector," said ATLAS spokesperson Dave Charlton.
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