Prior to the progress outlined in the NYTimes article Dr. Tara Shears at the University of Liverpool gave this fascinating lecture on the elusive Higgs Particle first named “that Goddamn particle.” This is explained in her lecture in Manchester. We think this lecture was given in April. Becki
From the New York Times
excerpts from the NYTimes article:
- …the new particle, which weighs in at 125 billion electron volts, one of the heaviest subatomic particles yet, fits the simplest description given by the Standard Model, the theory that has ruled physics for the last half century, or whether it is an imposter, a single particle or even the first of many particles yet to be discovered . The latter possibilities are particularly exciting to physicists since they could point the way to new deeper ideas, beyond the Standard Model, about the nature of reality.
- [B]leary-eyed physicists (at the Aspen Center for Physics) watched their colleagues read off the results in a Webcast from CERN. It was a scene duplicated in Melbourne, Australia, where physicists had gathered for a major conference, as well as in Los Angeles, Chicago, Princeton, New York, London, and beyond — everywhere that members of a curious species have dedicated their lives and fortunes to the search for their origins in a dark universe.
- [I]t reaffirms a grand view of a universe ruled by simple and elegant and symmetrical laws, but in which everything interesting in it, such as ourselves, is due to flaws or breaks in that symmetry.
- [A] cosmic molasses that permeates space and imbues elementary particles that would otherwise be massless with mass.
- Without this Higgs field…There would be neither atoms nor life.
the discovery, “very, very significant. It’s something that may, in the end, be one of the biggest observations of any new phenomena in our field in the last 30 or 40 years, going way back to the discovery of quarks, for example.”
- Questions that could be answered by understanding the boson What, for example, is the dark matter that provides the gravitational scaffolding of galaxies? And why is the universe made of matter instead of antimatter?
- The new particle has a mass of about 125.3 billion electron volts, in the units of mass and energy —Einstein showed they are the same
- In quantum theory, which is the language of particle physicists, elementary particles are divided into two rough categories: fermions, which are bits of matter like electrons; and bosons, which are bits of energy and can transmit forces, like the photon that transmits light.
- Dr. Higgs of the University of Edinburgh, was one of six physicists, working in three independent groups, who in 1964 invented the notion of the cosmic molasses, or Higgs field. The others were Tom Kibble of Imperial College, London, Carl Hagen of University of Rochester, Dr. Guralnik of Brown University, and Francois Englert and the late Robert Brout, both of Université Libre de Bruxelles.
- [Understanding this particle could reveal] the secret of the dark energy that now seems to be speeding up the expansion of the universe.