IS THE so-called “God particle” the missing piece of the complex puzzle of how the universe and the human beings came into existence?

Physicists confirmed that they have found a subatomic particle consistent with the mysterious Higgs boson last July 4 at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Bosons, like the Higgs particle, are subatomic particles that often interact and mediate with other particles being referred to as force carriers. Meanwhile, fermions—composed of quarks, which combine to make other necessary particles like protons and neutrons, and leptons, like electrons—usually join together to form atom and eventually, matter, or anything that occupies space and has mass.

Named after Peter Higgs, the person who proposed its existence in 1964, the Higgs boson is part of a bigger picture of his theory, the Higgs mechanism.

After three decades, Leon Lederman published a book about the Higgs boson, calling it the “God particle” despite his frustration, a feeling shared by other scientists, of not being able to discover the particle.

“[It is] central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive,” Lederman said in his book, If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?

Joseph Vermont Bandoy, physics professor of the College of Science, said Higgs boson confirms the existence of the Higgs field, which explains “why the weak nuclear force, or interaction, is so weak and why particles have mass at all.”

“The Higgs field prevents the particles from achieving the speed of light and gives particle its mass,” he added.

Health Service holds wellness caravan

Following the theory, all subatomic particles, particularly the quarks and leptons like electrons, are “massless” and their interaction with the permeable energy field gives them their mass, which in turn slows them down and puts them to stop. These fermions then assemble to create matter. Meanwhile, photons, or the light particles, remain to be in their “speed of light” because they are constantly massless and are not affected by the Higgs field.

The Higgs boson appears as the one responsible for the interaction to the particles, everywhere and all the time, as it drags them to form a rest mass of matter.

The Microsoft and the National Broadcasting Company’s Cosmic Log, the news agency’s science section, gave an analogy of the Higgs field.

“Imagine looking down from a balcony in a ballroom, watching a cocktail party below. When just plain folks try to go from one end of the room to the other, they can walk through easily, with no resistance from the party crowd. But when a celebrity like Justin Bieber shows up, other partygoers press around him so tightly that he can hardly move, and once he moves, the crowd moves with him in such a way that the whole group is harder to stop,” the article stated.

It showed the crowd as the field. The plain folks that can easily pass the crowd are the photons, while the partygoers are the Higgs bosons. When a celebrity, which is the massless particle, comes, it attracts the partygoers and slows him down as he moves, just as the particle is given mass by the Higgs bosons.

Stupid Customs

While physicists consider it as their own version of the theory of evolution and would further develop–or overhaul–the Standard Model, Bandoy said this discovery is important as it “helps us understand why there is life.”

“Without the Higgs field and bosons that imbue particles with mass, every particle would be moving at the speed of light, and thus, neither atoms nor life would exist,” he said.

‘Smashing protons’

Two teams of physicists with 3,000 scientists each—ATLAS led by Fabiola Gianotti and CMS led by Joe Incandela—had conducted separate experiments since 2010 to find if the particle exists or not, using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator.

Earlier this month, each team reported to have recorded an unknown particle with 126.5 billion electron volts (GeV), or the equivalent of mass in physics, for ATLAS and 125.3 GeV for CMS, which they both identified as the Higgs particle after smashing proton beams approximately 40 million times a day to gather enough data.

“[The scientists] were able to detect it based on their decay type,” Bandoy said. “It’s like identifying a fingerprint.”

In process of proton collision, a particle is formed but will instantaneously decay faster than a nanosecond. The decays act as the products, which is used to trace the particle formed. In the experiment, the Higgs particle usually produced quarks or photons.

The Higgs boson is the missing piece of the Standard Model of particle physics, equivalent of Chemistry’s Periodic Table and contains the subatomic particles, describes the fundamental make-up of the universe. It is currently composed of six quarks, six leptons, and four other bosons.

The toxic's comeback

“[The Higgs boson] is the last piece of the Standard Model to be discovered experimentally. They (scientists) really found it because the Standard Model has very specific properties,” Bandoy said.

However, physicists know little about the new boson and are currently continuing research to see if the properties will match the ones in the Standard model, or other possibilities like it is another variant of the Higgs boson or a completely new particle, to which Bandoy affirmed, adding that it may give way to more discoveries.

Neal Weiner, a theorist at the New York University, said a different story will unfold if it is not the Higgs boson.

“If the boson really is not acting standard, then that will imply that there are more to the story—more particles or more forces around the corner,” he said.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.