Friday, April 29, 2011

The LHC & Rumors of The Higgs Boson

Searching for the Higgs Boson, or "god particle", as it has been unfortunately dubbed by some, is one of the primary functions of the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC (Some of you may remember the LHC as the device that nuts everywhere warned could potentially destroy the earth by creating a black hole once it was powered up in 2008- that didn't happen BTW.). This massive particle accelerator, the largest ever built, smashes protons into one another at a speed of 99.99999 % the speed of light. These collisions result in the release of energy, which in turn, generates a variety of sub-atomic particles including, potentially, the Higgs Boson; which is a theoretical particle predicted by the standard model of particle physics that is believed to impart particles with mass.

So last week, when rumors began circulating that the LHC had potentially caught it's first glimpse of the Higgs, geeks everywhere were understandably excited.

The rumors began last Thursday after a memo authored by several physicists working on the project was leaked to the public, having been anonymously posted in the comments section of physicist Peter Woit’s blog, “Not Even Wrong.” While the memo itself has been confirmed as legitimate, officials from CERN, the organization which operates the LHC, were quick to point out that this was not an official release;

“It’s way, way too early to say if there’s anything in it or not,” said CERN spokesman James Gillies. “The vast majority of these notes get knocked down before they ever see the light of day.”

A member of the ATLAS team, the name given to one of the LHC's particle hunting experiments, also pointed out that results like these are fairly common place, and typically turn out to be the result of errors or biases upon further examination. Which seems both logical and likely, especially given that this isn't the first time that rumors of an accelerator having found evidence of the Higgs have made their way onto the web.

Though this newest set of rumors will likely turn out to be nothing, like most rumors started by anonymous posters on the Internet, there is always the potential that this could in fact be the confirmation of the Higgs Boson that physicists have been waiting for. It might even be an entirely new particle that no one's ever predicted, but it's far more likely it's just an anomaly.


Source:Wired Science

For More about the world of particle physics, I encourage you to visit SciTechUK's channel on Youtube, to watch all 15 parts ( don't worry, most of them are less than 3 minutes) of the following program, on particle physics, "In Search of Giants", presented by Professor Brian Cox. You could also visit My Channel, where I have arranged them in order via a playlist.

Posted by Youtube user: SciTechUK

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