The presumed existence of the Higgs boson particle- or as it is known colloquially and much to the chagrin of proper scientists, the God particle- promises to bestow upon humanity a huge level up when it comes to understanding the origins of the very universe in which we live.
Particle physicists- the men and women who work tirelessly over the course of decades to make these small advances- developed theories that would eventually support the existence of the hypothetical elementary particle Higgs boson as early as 1962. (Which is kind of sad when you think of all the physicists from back then that would have been thrilled to pieces by how far the research has come but have obviously not lived to see it.) Long story short, Higgs boson is an essential building block in particle physics, and its confirmation would support some of what is known as the Standard Model- the basic building blocks of the visible universe.
Experiments to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson particle are currently being performed with CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, with the natural outgrowth of the discovery being super symmetry- or SUSY- something particle physicists believe is the next big thing in physics. Howard Baer is a Professor of High Energy Physics at the Oklahoma University Department of Physics and Astronomy, and he’s been looking for SUSY for 25 years. Baer explains:
“Finding the Higgs boson is like looking for a needle in a haystack, but the Higgs boson is only the tip of the iceberg of SUSY matter. With SUSY, we are talking about the next level of the laws of physics. If there is SUSY, then we will find super partners, which will provide a new perspective for the origin and evolution of the universe. At that point, we can say we are on the road to a much deeper comprehension of nature.”
Robert Cailliau, formerly of CERN, explained to Al Jazeera why the research needs to be so exhaustive:
“The particle can only be seen by its tracks, like footprints in the snow. If you see a single print that looks like it was made by the paw of a cat, you should consider that it could have been something else that made the print: a falling leaf, the wind, whatever … It’s only after seeing many prints of cat paws one after the other in related circumstances that you would be justified to say ‘there was a cat here.'”
Have you been following news about Higgs boson and the Large Hadron Collider? Do you think 2012 will bring a lot of new scientific breakthroughs?