June 3, 2012
CERN Head Predicts Higgs Boson Discovery Before 2013
The Director of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) says that he is confident that his group will have proven the existence of the Higgs Boson before the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is turned off for upgrades at year's end.
Speaking at the Hay Festival on Saturday, Dr. Rolf-Dieter Heuer said that the LHC will be closed down at the end of 2012 and will remain non-operational for upwards of two years, during which time it will receive upgrades to enhance its power and allow it to conduct future experiments, according to Louise Gray of the Telegraph.
Before that happens, however, he believes they will find the so-called "God Particle."
"If the Large Hadron Collider continues to work I know we have enough collisions to produce enough signals to identify the Higgs Boson," Dr. Heuer said. “We will know by the end of this year whether it exists or whether it is non-existent."
"This would be a huge discovery that after 50 years we are able to describe the visible universe," he added. "We will have taken a big step forward about our knowledge of the physical world. It will help us to understand the creation of the universe."
The Higgs Boson, which earned its nickname because of the vital role it possesses in explaining modern physics, has never been detected, despite a decades-long search by scientists around the world, Gray said. However, hopes are high that the LHC experiments, which are being conducted in an underground tunnel at a CERN facility on the French-Swiss border, will be able to re-create the conditions required to allow them to spot the particle.
"CERN require a high level of proof and will only announce that the Higgs Boson exists when there is just a one in three million chance they are wrong," she wrote, adding that "Once the existence of Higgs Boson is known, there will be further work to prove its properties and understand the origins of the universe."
"Dr. Heuer said the discovery of the Higgs Boson will also help investigations into this wider universe. The visible universe only makes up 5 per cent and the rest is 'dark energy' and 'dark matter'," Gray continued. "He said it was impossible to imagine at this stage how the knowledge of the particle could be applied to practical applications but pointed to previous discoveries have led to developments in medicine and the internet."