New vigour in quest for Higgs boson

Aug 01, 2012 by Veronique Martinache
A person stands in front of the huge ATLAS detector, one of six detectors that are part of the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva. (Credit: Maximilien Brice, CERN)

Heartened by a glimpse of what may be the Higgs boson, scientists at the CERN physics lab are smashing particles with new vigour in a quest to understand why matter has mass and other riddles of the natural universe.

Rather than the end of the line, the July 4 unveiling of a boson with Higgs-like characteristics opens new scientific frontiers, enthuse researchers at the near Geneva.

The first step is to find irrefutable proof that the particle they found is indeed the Higgs -- known as the and believed to confer mass.

This would "open a fascinating new field of research", Higgs hunter Bernard Ille told AFP at the LHC, housed in a ring-shaped tunnel 27 kilometres (16.9 miles) long and up to 175 metres (568 feet) below ground.

A project of the European Organisation for (), the is employed in a needle-in-a-haystack quest for the and solving other riddles of .

"The LHC is made to last another twenty-odd years, exactly to allow us to immerse ourselves in this field of research, of which we have barely scratched the surface," said Ille, research director of France's CNRS institute.

Earlier this month, a 50-year search resulted in physicists announcing they found a particle "consistent" with the Higgs -- a milestone in Man's understanding of the natural world.

Confirming the existence of Higgs would validate the of physics, a theory that identifies the building blocks of matter and the particles that convey .

The LHC comprises four huge labs along the Swiss-French border, two of which focus on the Higgs search -- CMS and Atlas.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (left) visits the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), near Geneva, on July 30. Heartened by a glimpse of what may be the Higgs boson, scientists at the CERN physics lab are smashing particles with new vigour in a quest to understand why matter has mass and other riddles of the natural universe.

The grand scale of the CMS, 15 metres in diameter and weighing 14,000 tons, contrasts sharply with the objects of its experiments -- the fundamental and smallest elements of all matter.

Hard to imagine when one is confronted by what appears to be a simple though very large tube, that inside beams of hydrogen protons can shoot at nearly the speed of light in a void similar to that found in outer space.

The CMS and its sister labs detect head-on collisions between the protons which then disintegrate into smaller particles.

The LHC can only be entered when it is in sleep mode, for risk of exposure to radiation emitted by the high-energy bursts.

The final prize for scientists involved in this quest: nothing less than Man's understanding of the Universe.

Today, physicists at the LHC are piling up collisions and statistics they hope will confirm the Higgs' existence and shed some light on its nature.

"Once we understand this, there are many other avenues that open up because the boson itself posed a serious theoretical problem," said Yves Sirois, one of the CMS' directors.

"Truly, it opens the door to a new level of physics" -- understanding such physics mind-benders as supersymmetry.

"It is likely that by raising the energy levels in the LHC in a few years we shall be capable of discovering dark matter," said Sirois.

Dark matter is believed to comprise 83 percent of matter in the Universe but cannot be detected by the naked eye.

The four labs are used by some 10,000 scientists from around the world.

Explore further: How cloud chambers revealed subatomic particles

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hints fade of elusive physics 'God particle'

Aug 22, 2011

International scientists searching to solve the greatest riddle in all of physics said Monday that signs are fading of the elusive Higgs-Boson particle, which is believed to give objects mass.

Is the Vacuum Empty? -- the Higgs Field and the Dark Energy

May 10, 2007

The problems in understanding the true nature of the “vacuum” of space were discussed by theoretical physicist Alvaro de Rújula from CERN (the European Council for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, Switzerland, and a professor ...

LHC experiments eliminate more Higgs hiding spots (Update)

Aug 22, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Two experimental collaborations at the Large Hadron Collider, located at CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, announced today that they have significantly narrowed the mass region in which the Higgs ...

Recommended for you

How cloud chambers revealed subatomic particles

8 hours ago

Atoms are made of electrons, protons and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are in turn made up of quarks. These are just some of the elementary particles that make up the foundation of modern particle physics. ...

When a doughnut becomes an apple

8 hours ago

In experiments using the wonder material graphene, ETH researchers have been able to demonstrate a phenomenon predicted by a Russian physicist more than 50 years ago. They analyzed a layer structure that ...

Uncovering the forbidden side of molecules

Sep 21, 2014

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have succeeded in observing the "forbidden" infrared spectrum of a charged molecule for the first time. These extremely weak spectra offer perspectives ...

User comments : 11

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Eoprime
4.6 / 5 (7) Aug 01, 2012
The article compressed in one sentence:
"We are still working and dont sit on our hands"

100 Internetpoints for one who can find the news.

Unfortunatly it would be news if they wouldn't mention the term Godparticle in every god damn article about the higgs boson.
Tseihta
4.5 / 5 (6) Aug 01, 2012
As soon as I read an article that mentions 'God Particle' I stop reading because the author obviously doesn't know what they are talking about and chances are it's just regurgitated old news anyway.
IronhorseA
4 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2012
"The first step is to find irrefutable proof that the particle they found is indeed the Higgs ..."
Steven Hawking may want to hang onto his money a bit longer. ;P
Satene
1.7 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2012
Actually CERN released a new data about Higgs boson related search recently. The existence of new particle is now confirmed with statistical significance 5.9 sigma, which is essentially a certainty for both laymans, both most of experts.

You should note though, that the CERN is careful to not to talk about Higgs boson or "higgson". Which is somewhat strange in the light of recent ceremonial announcement of Higgs boson finding. But IMO CERN knows very well, what he does in this matter.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (8) Aug 01, 2012
You should note though, that the CERN is careful to not to talk about Higgs boson or "higgson". Which is somewhat strange in the light of recent ceremonial announcement of Higgs boson finding.

They talk about a particle which fits with the energy range where the Higgs boson is to be expected. This is the standard, guarded way of making such an announcement. Now it's all about producing these bosons and measuring their properties. (Theoretically it still could be something else entirely different. The Higgs boson shoule have characteristic spin and interaction properties - which some of the other channels are still in the process of studying).
Only the simplest Higgs theory predicts just one boson. There could be many types - and this is the reason why they haven't gone out of their way to proclaim that they have found THE Higgs boson.

The (almost) 6 sigma means its definitely a discovery of smoething. What it is a discovery of is still being explored.
El_Nose
1.8 / 5 (6) Aug 01, 2012
"It is likely that by raising the energy levels in the LHC in a few years we shall be capable of discovering dark matter," said Sirois.


really based on what evidence... This is the holy grail of cosmology and astrophysics... and you are just now suggesting this is true -- or are you trying to keep the hype alive like a boxing promoter? Don King is less specualtive

El_Nose
2.8 / 5 (4) Aug 01, 2012
my above comment made sense -- why the 1 -- did you not understand it ?

the LHC has been around for a while now and no one has suggested that it might be able to create Dark matter -- until now - it feels like hype
jsdarkdestruction
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 01, 2012
eric96
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 01, 2012
@Eoprime

Dead on man, dead on.
These narcissist and or incompetent journalists I tell ya they are a plague. News is suppose to present new facts. Who in their right mind writes an article that says: "Yes, researchers are still hard at work to verify higgs" Are you on drugs?
vacuum-mechanics
1 / 5 (4) Aug 02, 2012
The first step is to find irrefutable proof that the particle they found is indeed the Higgs -- known as the God Particle and believed to confer mass.
.
"It is likely that by raising the energy levels in the LHC in a few years we shall be capable of discovering dark matter," said Sirois.

By the way, up to now it seems that (almost) all of us are sick with conventional interpretation of Higgs field/boson and dark energy/matter. May be this unconventional explanation could tell that both of them are the same thing vacuum medium.
http://www.vacuum...mid=9=en
higgs_boson
1 / 5 (4) Aug 31, 2012
Higgs Boson / "God Particle" -2012 Science validates a 150+ year old discovery ……............Infinite Intelligence….Steve Meyer / New Thought Movement / HolisticDNA

The Sixth Sense Activation Sequence – GROUNDBREAKING New Book in 2012!

"New Thought promotes the ideas that "Infinite Intelligence" or "God" is ubiquitous, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and "right thinking" has a healing effect..." Wikipedia