The Higgs Boson is the hot item to chase for members of the scientific community. To put that in simpler terms, if scientists can “find” the so-called “God particle” then they can explain why matter has mass and essentially prove that the standard model of physics is correct.
An early July glimpse of what might have been the Higgs Boson by a team called Atlas has researchers that much more motivated to find it, and another team at the Large Hadron Collider has some results to share.
BBC reports that the Higgs-hunting team called CMS claimed 4.9 and 5 sigma levels. The formal threshold for claiming the discovery of a particle is a 5-sigma level — equivalent to a one-in-3.5 million chance that the particle doesn’t exist. Atlas reported numbers also above the threshold.
But to the non-physics person, understanding all that jargon can be a challenge. Suffice it to say, those findings, which have now been published in peer-reviewed journals mostly show what many scientists have believed for some time — that the Higgs Boson does exist, meaning the standard model of physics has been validated.
But, finding a one-in-3.5-million chance a particle doesn’t exist still isn’t the same as finding it conclusively. A 5-sigma level is roughly the same likelihood as tossing a coin and landing on heads 20 times in a row, but such anomalies can happen. The Higgs Boson may not be directly observable, but scientists haven’t given up.
ChanelNewsAsia.com explains that the CMS and other labs observe head-on, high-speed collisions at the Large Hadron Collider between protons which then disintegrate.
So let’s say scientists do find conclusive evidence of the Higgs Boson. What then? What are the practical applications of this knowledge?
Nothing — save the understanding of the universe.
“Truly, it opens the door to a new level of physics,” Yves Sirois, one of the CMS’ directors, told ChannelNewsAsia.com.
And so, the search for the Higgs Boson continues.