July 23, 2011
CERN Officials May Have Witnessed ‘God Particle’
Scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) may have gotten their first look at the so-called "God particle" -- the fabled massive elementary particle known as the Higgs boson -- according to BBC News reports published Friday.
According to BBC Science Correspondent Ian Sample, officials at the Geneva-based particle physics laboratory announced the possible discovery during the 2011 Europhysics Conference on High-Energy Physics (HEP 2011), which opened Thursday in Grenoble, France.
"Speaking at the meeting, teams working on two of the collider's huge detectors, Atlas and CMS, independently reported unusual bumps in their data that could be the first hints of the particle," Sample reported.
"Physicists stressed that it was too early to know whether the signals were due to the missing particle," he added. "Bumps that look like new discoveries can be caused by statistical fluctuations in data, flaws in computer models and other glitches, they said."
"We cannot say anything today, but clearly it's intriguing," Fabiola Gianotti, spokeswoman for the 3,000-strong Atlas team, told BBC News, adding that they would know more after CERN personnel from both the Atlas and CMS teams were able to obtain more information and compare their results.
According to a press release, officials working on the LHC have scheduled a press release for Monday, July 25. Representatives from all CERN teams involved on the project are expected to present data at that conference, the research organization announced on Thursday.
"Discovery or exclusion of the Higgs particle, as predicted by the Standard Model, is getting ever closer," CERN Director for Research and Scientific Computing, Sergio Bertolucci, said in a statement. "Both occurrences will be great news for physics, the former allowing us to start the detailed study of the Higgs particle, the latter being the first proof of the incompleteness of the Standard Model, requiring new phenomena to be happening within the reach of the LHC."
"We're taking our first steps in this new physics landscape," added CMS experiment spokesman Guido Tonelli, "and it is great to see how fast we are producing new results. I am confident that soon there will be only a few regions left where the Higgs boson, as postulated by the Standard Model, might still be hiding."
CERN was founded in 1954, and according to the organization's official website, it is among the largest and most esteemed research centers on the planet. Through the use of particle accelerators and decelerators, they observe and record the results of collisions. The experiments using the LHC are not only seeking for the Higgs boson particle, but also searching for dark matter and hoping to gain a greater understanding of anti-matter.
On the Net:
- European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
- Europhysics Conference on High-Energy Physics (HEP 2011)