Jul 04

Particle’s Discovery Points to a Firmer Grasp of Physics (The New York Times, July 4, 2012):

ASPEN, Colo. — Physicists working at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider said Wednesday that they had discovered a new subatomic particle that looks for all the world like the Higgs boson, a potential key to an understanding of why elementary particles have mass and indeed to the existence of diversity and life in the universe.

“I think we have it,” Rolf-Dieter Heuer, the director general of CERN, said in an interview from his office outside Geneva, calling the discovery “a historic milestone.” His words signaled what is probably the beginning of the end for one of the longest, most expensive searches in the history of science. If scientists are lucky, the discovery could lead to a new understanding of how the universe began.

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Jul 04

Higgs Boson VIDEO: A Metaphor To Explain The Particle, Or Further Confuse You (Huffington Post, July 4, 2012)

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Jul 04

God particle is ‘found’: Scientists at Cern expected to announce on Wednesday Higgs boson particle has been discovered (Daily Mail, July 1, 2012):

  • Scientists ‘will say they are 99.99% certain’ the particle has been found
  • Leading physicists have been invited to event – sparking speculation that Higgs boson particle has been found
  • ‘God Particle’ gives particles that make up atoms their mass
  • Fermi Lab in Chicago also ‘closing in’ on proof of Higgs boson

Scientists at Cern will announce that the elusive Higgs boson ‘God Particle’ has been found at a press conference next week, it is believed.

Five leading theoretical physicists have been invited to the event on Wednesday – sparking speculation that the particle has been discovered.

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider are expected to say they are 99.99 per cent certain it has been found – which is known as ‘four sigma’ level.

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Sep 10

GENEVA (Reuters) – International scientists celebrated the successful start of a huge particle-smashing machine on Wednesday which aims to simulate the conditions of the “Big Bang” that created the universe.

Experiments using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the biggest and most complex machine ever made, could revamp modern physics and unlock secrets about the universe and its origins.

The project has had to work hard to deny suggestions by some critics that the experiment could create tiny black holes of intense gravity that could suck in the whole planet.

Such fears spurred huge public interest in advanced physics ahead of the start up of the 10 billion Swiss franc ($9 billion) machine, which proceeded smoothly on Wednesday morning.

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Sep 05

Scientists working on the world’s biggest machine are being besieged by phone calls and emails from people who fear the world will end next Wednesday, when the gigantic atom smasher starts up.

The Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, where particles will begin to circulate around its 17 mile circumference tunnel next week, will recreate energies not seen since the universe was very young, when particles smash together at near the speed of light.


Hadron Collider: The final pieces slot into place

Such is the angst that the American Nobel prize winning physicist Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has even had death threats, said Prof Brian Cox of Manchester University, adding: “Anyone who thinks the LHC will destroy the world is a t—.”

The head of public relations, James Gillies, says he gets tearful phone calls, pleading for the £4.5 billion machine to stop.

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Aug 17

British scientist Peter Higgs dreamt up a theory explaining the tiny particles that make up everything, including you, decades ago. At last he’s set to be proved right.

Peter Higgs remembers the day everything suddenly began to make sense. “It was July 16, 1964, when some new research papers arrived. I looked at one, realised what it meant and then jumped up and shouted out loud: ‘Oh shit’.”

For years his colleagues had been working on theories about the building blocks of the universe – and Higgs had disagreed with them all. The trouble was, he’d had no better suggestions.

Now he had an idea and spent the weekend mulling it over. “When I came back to work on Monday, I sat down and wrote a new paper as fast as I could,” he recalled in an interview last week.

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May 28

European particle physics laboratory CERN is set to launch its gigantic experiment which hopes to throw light on the origins of the universe within a month, the laboratory’s head said Tuesday.

If things go according to plan, the greatest experiment in the history of particle physics could unveil a sub-atomic component, the Higgs Boson, known as “the God Particle.”

The “Higgs,” named after the eminent British physicist, Peter Higgs, who first proposed it in 1964, would fill a gaping hole in the benchmark theory for understanding the physical cosmos.

Other work on the so-called Large Hadron Collider (LHC) could explain dark matter and dark energy — strange phenomena that, stunned astrophysicists discovered a few years ago, account for 96 percent of the universe.

The LHC device “will be in working order by the end of June,” CERN director general Robert Aymar told journalists.

A gamble costing six billion Swiss francs (almost six billion dollars, 3.9 billion euros) that has harnessed the labours of more than 2,000 physicists from nearly three dozen countries, the LHC is the biggest, most powerful high-energy particle accelerator ever built.

Beams of hydrogen protons will whizz around at near-light speed in opposite directions until, bent by powerful superconducting magnets, they will smash together in four bus-sized detector chambers, where they will be annihilated at temperatures hotter than the sun.

But Aymar played down hopes of any immediate discoveries once the LHC is set in motion.

“We will accumulate data for two years and it will take a lot of time to interpret,” he said.

He also scoffed at fears that the massive experiment could create a black hole with potentially devastating consequences for life on Earth.

“The system is totally safe. There is nothing to fear,” he said.

May 27 02:29 PM US/Eastern

Source: AFP

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