Higgs Boson

15 Mar

It's Science Monday. While the biggest science news this week as far as I am concerned is the potential saving of the Hubble telescope by robots. They might be mean overlords, but they do have their priorities straight (unlike NASA). However, another interesting non-robot science story came across my virtual desk last week. Researchers in Switzerland have reported that the 'God particle' may have been seen:

A scientist says one of the most sought after particles in physics – the Higgs boson – may have been found, but the evidence is still relatively weak.

Peter Renton, of the University of Oxford, says the particle may have been detected by researchers at an atom-smashing facility in Switzerland.

The Higgs boson explains why all other particles have mass and is fundamental to a complete understanding of matter.

Dr Renton's assessment of the Higgs hunt is published in Nature magazine.

"There's certainly evidence for something, whether it's the Higgs boson is questionable," Dr Renton, a particle physicist at Oxford, told BBC News Online.

"It's compatible with the Higgs boson certainly, but only a direct observation would show that."

While it has an exciting name, the god particle isn't really all that holy. It just happens to be the last major subatomic particle that hasn't been detected but whose existence is absolutely necessary for our understanding of modern physics. Let's hope that the sighting turns out to be more reliable then one for bigfoot.

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