13.7: Cosmos And Culture
Has The God Particle Been Found?
There are rumors flying that the Higgs Boson has been discovered at the LHC.
The Higgs is the final piece of the Standard Model of Particle Physics which is, itself, the crowning achievement of subatomic physics. Called the "God Particle" by some, the Higgs is responsible for giving all the other flecks of matter in this Universe the remarkable property we think of as mass. Physicists have been hunting the Higgs for decades. One of the main reasons for building the billion dollar LHC was to find the Higgs and determine its properties.
On Friday Peter Woit at Not Even Wrong cited what may, or may not be, an internal LHC note claiming observation of a "resonance" - a signal of something special happening in the chaos of the LHC's subatomic smash-ups.
At work today I spoke with a colleague who told me there are indeed rumors that something might be announced soon. He was fairly unperturbed however expecting that it might well turn out to be nothing worth handing out a Noble Prize for. The LHC is still operating at 1/2 power and most physicists expect that if something is going to show up it won't be until the collisions are happening at full energy.
Stay tuned. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.