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Higgs Boson … all you need to know

5 July 2012

Expectation preceding the wednesday announcement led to a raft of online pieces – for example see http://phys.org/print260590156.html … where, it seems, finding the Higgs Boson would vindicate the Standard Model, Big Bang and all. It is considered a successful theory but in spite of this there are some gaps, one of which is why some particles have mass and others do not.

At www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/341993 … we learn the Higgs has been found, emerging in the shards of particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider. We have found the lasting missing cornerstone of the Standar Model, CERNs director-general proclaimed.

There are, of course, alternate versions of the Standard Model but strangely in none of the offerings online is the actual Big Bang a focus of attention. Supersymmetry is mentioned on several occasions. At www.dailygalaxy.com July 4th … CERN confirms new particle – we know it must be a boson. In this report the director-general is said to have said, 'I think we have it …' which is not exactly definitive, but confident never the less, adding that more time is required preparing the results for publication.

At www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/341991/title/Essay_natures_secrets_f… … in this the new particle has a mass of roughly 11 dozen protons – and everybody has assumed it is the elusive Higgs Boson. This particle if thought to be responsible for the structure of the universe as we know it. Indeed, it makes physical reality the way it is, on the atoms, chemical reactions, and life. Without Higgs there would be no molecules, no planets and no people. It is that fundamental. British physicist Peter Higgs, based at Edinburgh University but born in Newcastle, conceived the Higgs field in 1964 and predicted the existence of the partilce by mathematical deduction. Humans fiddling with squiggles on pieces of paper have in effect figured out what you would find it you spend billions of dollars on an accelerator to create temperatures of a million billion degrees.

At www.io9.com/cern/ July 4th … an attempt is made to explain what the discovery means. Have physicists found the elusive particle? Short answer – yes, but Long answer – well, …. The director-general is quoted as saying, 'As a layman, I think we have it …. but as a scientist I have to say what do we have? That is a huge question, one that won't be answered today and maybe not this year …' It carries on to explain that even if it is the Higgs Boson, a lot depends on how the particle behaves and whether it leads on to more exotic physics beyond that predicted by the Standard Model. However, see the day after and the post www.io9.com/5919963/have-we-really-found-the-god-particle-cern-physicist…

At http://phys.org/print260606701.html … the new findings also involve India. The Higgs bit comes from Peter Higgs but the Boson comes from Satyendra Noth Bose. In a 1924 paper he laid out the basis for describing two fundamental parts of sub atomic particles – thereafter known as bosons (after Bose) and fermions, after Italian physicist Emilio Fermi. At http://phys.org/print260610795.html … is basically a catalogue of quotes on the subject from scientists from around the world while at http://phys.org/print260622161.html … Stephen Hawking said the discovery had cost him $100 in a bet. At http://phys.org/print260622221.html … there is a picture of Peter Higgs congratulating Fabiola Gianotti and at http://phys.org/print260625756.html … there is a closer look at the Higgs Boson – what is it? and at http://phys.org/print260602332.html … it's Eureka while at http://phys.org/print260604219.html … the focus is on the shy Peter Higgs – who looks a spot like the hen packed husband of TVs Mrs Bouquet. Interestingly, his first paper on the boson was rejected in the journal Physics Letters, edited at the time by CERN, the same organisation which later embarked on the multi-billion poind quest to find it. He came to the conclusion the reviewers did not understand what he was saying and set about a re-write which was published in the journal Physical Review Letters in the US. Others credited with contributing to the Higgs theory include Americans Gerard Gurdnik and Carl Hagen and Tom Kibble from the UK. American Nobel prizewinner Philip Anderson has also claimed to have come up with the concept two years before Higgs – but of course, there is also Bose.

Cosmos magazine (News) has a piece on exotic physics worth reading (see yesterday) while at http://phys.org/print260689024.html … Christoph Paus discusses the new particle – and its implications, and at http://phys.org/print260679543.html … the Higgs is the gateway to a new vison of the universe and at http://phys.org/print260692934.html … the question is, Particle Physics – why does it matter?

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