February 28, 2011
LHC Working To Unveil Higgs Boson Before 2013
Researchers working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) said they expect to discover the elusive Higgs boson particle by the end of 2012.
If the LHC does not show any evidence of the mysterious particle during this run, physicists said that they may have to significantly alter their views of physical laws.
The Higgs boson particle explains why other particles have mass, but it has not yet been observed by physicists.
The LHC is housed in a 16-mile long tunnel under the French-Swiss border.
The LHC smashes together proton particles traveling close to the speed of light in a bid to uncover secrets of the Universe.
Professor Tom LeCompte of the Argonne National Laboratory, who works at the LHC, told BBC: "The most likely place for the Higgs to be is in a very good place for us to discover it in the next two years."
The LHC restarted last month after its winter shutdown. It is about to embark on a run of work that could make or break the current views of how the Universe was formed.
The most widely accepted theory of particle physics requires the existence of the Higgs.
If the collider does not detect the Higgs within two years, researchers say they will know that it does not exist.
"The Higgs is one model of many," according to Professor LeCompte.
"It's a model that we like. It's simple, it's elegant, but it's entirely possible that there is something else beyond the Higgs that does its job instead, and what we may discover is instead of the Higgs itself we may discover something much more interesting."
"There could be multiple Higgses or there could be something completely different doing the same job as the Higgs in a completely different way."
However, he told BBC that looking for the elusive particle may be more exciting than finding it because researchers may have to modify their current view of subatomic physics.
"If we don't see it after this two year run it means that something is perhaps not the way that we think it is, either the Higgs search itself had to be amended in some way or some of its indirect evidence may be pointing us in the wrong direction," said Professor LeCompte.
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