July 5, 2012 - Higgs Boson Discovery Signficant in Physics World: Scientists said they found a subatomic particle resembling the long-elusive Higgs boson, a landmark discovery that could explain why particles have mass and, by extension, why stars, planets and all other objects in the universe exist at all. Pictured above, a representation of the sort of subatomic collisions researchers initiated to look for the Higgs particle.
On Wednesday morning, hundreds of scientists assembled at the European laboratory CERN in Geneva, and many more tuned in to a live webcast to hear how fresh data from the Large Hadron Collider had conclusively revealed the existence of a Higgs-like particle. Pictured above, the three-story, 6,000-ton CDF detector that records snapshots of particles at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Tevatron collider near Chicago. Scientists at the facility released fresh data bolstering the case for the existence of the Higgs boson.
“We have observed a new boson,” said Joe Incandela of the University of California, Santa Barbara, a member of one the groups reporting the new data. His colleague Rolf-Dieter Heuer, director general of CERN, put it in simpler terms: “I think we have it,” he said. Pictured above, top physicists and theorists in Melbourne, Australia, watch via a weblink as the finding of a Higgslike particle is reported Wednesday from Switzerland.
The CERN announcement follows one made on Monday by physicists at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or Fermilab, near Chicago, which independently bolstered the case for the existence of the Higgs boson. However, the U.S. data didn’t offer anywhere near the high level of statistical certainty required by physicists to claim a formal discovery. Pictured above, the particle’s namesake, British physicist Peter Higgs was one of several theorists in the 1960s to predict its existence. ‘It is an incredible thing that it has happened in my lifetime,’ he said.
It’s been a tough quest, involving thousands of scientists in dozens of countries. No one could predict the mass of the Higgs boson, so they had to hunt for it indirectly. This was done at CERN by propelling particles to near-light speed and then smashing them together to generate an array of other subatomic particles. Click the link below for the complete story, including videos, comments and links to additional similar articles.
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