Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Discovering the God Particle

The God particle, also known as the Higgs boson, is the Moby Dick of science. It is a hypothetical particle with zero spin. Named after the physicist Peter Higgs who proposed the theory in 1964, it is neutral and may be responsible for giving other particles mass.

The standard model in particle physics depends on the existence of the Higgs boson. Based on the standard model, none of the subatomic particles have mass, so they must acquire it from interacting with the Higgs field.

Scientists in France hoping to figure out how the Universe began will find a long-sought theoretical particle or prove that it exists by the end of 2012, the director of the world's largest atom smasher predicted Monday. The competition to discover the Higgs boson has always been intense, but it is now reaching a turbulent state as both the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) vie to be the first to find the particle.