July 26, 2011
CERN: No Higgs Boson Until 2012
The scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have been unsuccessful in proving the existence of the so-called "God particle" so far, but they are getting close, according to various media reports on Monday.
According to AFP reporter Marlowe Hood, experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), located at the CERN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, have yet to discover the Higgs boson, a sub-atomic particle believed to have played an important role in the creation of the universe.
However, Hood reports that "experiments at the world's biggest atom smasher have yielded tantalizing hints that a long-sought sub-atomic particle truly exists, with final proof likely by late 2012."
"We know everything about the Higgs boson except whether it exists," CERN Director General Rolf Heuer said on Monday. "We can settle this Shakespearean question--to be or not to be--by the end of next year."
Despite what Robert Evans of Reuters refers to as "intensive scrutiny" of the over 70 million particle collisions at the LHC, Heuer confirmed Monday that the existence of the Higgs boson had not yet been proven during a presentation at the 2011 Europhysics Conference on High-Energy Physics (HEP 2011), which opened last Thursday in Grenoble, France.
Other CERN scientists at the gathering, parts of which were being streamed live over the Internet, reported that they had spotted strange 'fluctuations' in the data gathered from the mega-velocity collisions staged in the oval-shaped LHC," Evans said. "But they cautioned that these could simply be misreadings or passing phenomena that will be explained later. They said it was important to avoid 'discovering' the Higgs before it was found, as one researcher had done earlier this year."
According to Tom Espiner of CNET, "The Higgs boson has enormous importance in the Standard Model of physics, a collection of theories about how the universe works. The Higgs boson explains mass in the Standard Model and could indicate why some particles have mass and others do not."
"Physicists at CERN have established that the particle, if it exists, has a mass of between 115 and around 140 giga electron volts (GeV), according to Heuer. This means that the particle could be a Standard Model Higgs, or could be a Supersymmetry Higgs. If the mass was beyond 450 GeV, that would rule out a Supersymmetry Higgs," Espiner added in a July 25 article.
Hood also reported that researchers at the US Department of Energy's Fermilab have also reported signs of the so-called "God particle", with Fermilab spokesman Stefan Soldner-Rembold releasing a statement last week reporting that the "search for the Higgs boson is entering its most exciting, final stage."
The AFP notes that the scientists who can first claim discovery of the Higgs boson "could easily earn a Nobel Prize"¦ for the breakthrough."
According to the official website, CERN, which was founded in 1954, is one of the largest and most respected science centers in the world. By conducting their experiments in the LHC, scientists at the European organization is hoping to not only prove or disprove the existence of the "God particle" but are also seeking evidence of dark matter and a greater understanding of anti-matter.
On the Net:
- European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
- Europhysics Conference on High-Energy Physics (HEP 2011)
- US Department of Energy - Fermilab