Quantcast
Latest Stories

Higgs evidence mounts one year on, so too the suspense



AFP FILE PHOTO

PARIS—A year since the discovery of a subatomic particle set the science world aflutter, evidence is mounting it may be the elusive Higgs boson even as researchers warn the suspense is far from over.

“We have established without a doubt that we have a new particle, and that it is a boson. What remains to be done is confirm that it is a Higgs,” said physicist Pauline Gagnon, a member of the team that made the discovery at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

The elusive boson dubbed the “God Particle” was theorized by British physicist Peter Higgs in 1964 to be what gave mass to matter as the Universe cooled after the Big Bang.

Guided by the theoretical work of Higgs and others, hundreds of scientists have been on a single-minded boson quest for over three years at the CERN’s atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

On July 4 last year, physicists announced to rousing applause that they had found an elementary particle “consistent with (the) long-sought Higgs boson” — a scientific milestone.

Finding the Higgs would fill a massive gap in the Standard Model of particle physics, which describes the forces, particles and interactions that comprise the Universe.

In theory, the Higgs exists as an invisible field, interacting with other particles to give them mass. Without it, humans and all other joined-up atoms in the Universe would not exist.

But while the Standard Model postulates the existence of a single Higgs boson, alternative schools of thought like string theory say there may be at least five.

“Have we found THE boson, or perhaps one of several predicted by other theories …? Until now, everything indicates that this is the Standard Model boson,” Gagnon told Agence France-Presse.

“It has the allure, the look, the song and the dance of the Higgs boson.”

Over the past year, physicists have analyzed at least 2.5 times the amount of information they had available at the time of the 2012 announcement.

And they have said the particle now appears to have at least two of the main characteristics expected of a Higgs.

In theory, a Higgs boson should have zero “spin,” a measure of momentum. And “parity” — a measure of how its mirror image behaves in quantum physics — should be positive.

Having analyzed mountains of data, the CERN said in March the available data pointed to “no spin and positive parity”.

“It is all shaping up exactly the way it should. Everything we look at looks more and more like a Higgs boson,” said Bill Murray, deputy physics coordinator for the ATLAS experiment at CERN.

“We haven’t seen anything that doesn’t look at all the way a Higgs boson should. We have some small tensions in the data with one or two pieces that are not exactly the way you would expect… but this is not particularly significant.”

More data needed

New findings are expected to be unveiled at a conference of the European Physical Society in Stockholm in July, but Gagnon stressed much more data is required for science to be convinced of the particle’s identity.

As for Murray: “I’m not sure one will ever say this is the Standard Model Higgs boson.

“We will never be able to say it is the only one because there always could be one that is so incredibly heavy that you could never… make it” in the LHC.

Ironically, some would prefer the discovery of more than one Higgs, added Gagnon.

“Finding just one would confirm the Standard Model”, which describes only about five percent of what the Universe is made up of, she explained.

The LHC, straddling the border between Switzerland and France, shut down last month for a two-year revamp that should allow bigger collisions and the creation of heavier particles, perhaps other Higgs bosons.

But whatever proof it yields may never be conclusive.

In science, explained Murray, “you can never prove something is right, you can only ever prove something is wrong.

“All we can do is rule out more and more alternatives.”


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter




Recent Stories:

Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest 6 mins elapsed Drug firm Novartis to help Leyte firefighter 11 mins elapsed Japan says visa-free entry still a plan 13 mins elapsed Fears grow for hundreds missing in South Korea ferry capsize 16 mins elapsed Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA 18 mins elapsed Robot sub makes first complete search for plane 21 mins elapsed uFly fires flight simulator who appeared on CNN 23 mins elapsed DPWH allots P1.2 trillion for PH roads 1 hour elapsed
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Higgs , Science , Subatomic Particle

  • NoWorryBHappy

    God has a particle ? And Higgs owns it ?
    ¿¡ Ay carumbah !?
    We should stop looking for it.
    Because if we are able to find it, then we will be able to understand it.
    And because it is God’s particle, then we become gods ourselves.
    And God wouldn’t like that. We should stop those experiments at the
    LHC. It is creating wormholes everywhere. Yesterday, I dropped my pen
    and it just fell and disappeared in thin air. Last April, scientist at the University of Vienna said they found a solution to the EPR paradox. They should stop all of these experiments now. These will open doors to who knows where ?

  • http://fables.boxpinoy.com/ Lucky Luciano

    and god runs out of space.



Copyright © 2014,
.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement Advertisement
  1. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  2. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  3. Philippines may watch ‘blood moon’ online
  4. Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  5. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  6. Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  7. IT technician found guilty of defrauding firm of P130,000
  8. Online-addicted man arrested over son’s death
  9. SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  10. Filling the digital talent gap
  1. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  2. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  3. Nude and so dangerous
  4. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  5. Memes flourish after Pacquiao victory
  6. Netizens react to Pacquiao’s victory over Bradley
  7. IT technician found guilty of defrauding firm of P130,000
  8. Philippines may watch ‘blood moon’ online
  9. Ireland’s wedding singer priest an Internet hit
  10. Samsung flagship smartphone goes on sale worldwide
  1. #RejectedBbPilipinas2014Questions flood Twitter
  2. Did Deniece Cornejo lambast Vhong Navarro on social media?
  3. Netizens fall in love with Crimea prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya
  4. Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao scores, takes over social media
  5. Nude and so dangerous
  6. Why didn’t missing jet passengers use their cellphones?
  7. Mommy Dionisia sings ‘Riking Bull,’sends netizens ablaze
  8. Russia tries to curb Crimean prosecutor’s Internet fame
  9. Memes flourish after Pacquiao victory
  10. Netizens thank Capa for Lee arrest

News

  • Drug firm Novartis to help Leyte firefighter
  • Fears grow for hundreds missing in South Korea ferry capsize
  • Robot sub makes first complete search for plane
  • uFly fires flight simulator who appeared on CNN
  • DPWH allots P1.2 trillion for PH roads
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Advertisement
    Marketplace