Stephen Hawking says that the discovery of the Higgs boson particle makes the physics field less interesting. While the legendary physicist’s peers have hailed the discovery of the so-called “god particle” as a major milestone for modern science, Hawking does not seem as thrilled. He says physics would be more exciting if the particle remained a mystery.
The Higgs boson particle was discovered in 2012, thanks to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. The finding revealed answers to a long-standing mystery in physics: Why do particles have mass at all? The seemingly fundamental question has hounded scientists for ages, but now has a solution. Researchers Francois Englert of Belgium and the United Kingdom’s Peter Higgs were recently awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their roles in the particle’s discovery.
Stephen Hawking had doubts about the particle’s existence and he was among those physicists who remained skeptical that the Higgs boson had been detected. As Huffington Post reports, Hawking was so sure that the particle did not exist that he placed a wager with his friend, Gordon Kane. As he says, “The Nobel prize cost me $100.”
Hawking’s comments about the Higgs boson came during a presentation commemorating a new exhibit about the Large Hadron Collider at the Science Museum in London. The famous physicist says that had the mass-giving particle not been discovered, researchers would have been forced to look at more “interesting” physics questions.
One of these involves a popular theory called supersymmetry, according to The Guardian. Supersymmetry suggests that all subatomic particles have counterparts called “superpartners.” These particles could be the key to understanding the mysterious dark matter, believed to make up at least a quarter of the universe.
Stephen Hawking hopes that researchers will work on such theories, saying that “the discovery of supersymmetric partners for the known particles would revolutionize our understanding of the universe.”
[Image via Wikimedia Commons / Doug Wheller]