New evidence strengthens the case that scientists have discovered a Higgs boson, or "God particle." The new particle discovered at experiments at the Large Hadron Collider last summer is looking more like a Higgs boson than ever before.
Researcher Kyle Cranmer says, "When we discovered the particle, we knew we found something significant. Now, we’re just trying to establish the properties."
On July 4, physicists announced the discovery of a particle with a close resemblance to a Higgs, a particle thought to give mass to other elementary particles. The discovery of such a particle could finish a job almost five decades in the making.
Fermilab’s Patty McBride says, "Clear evidence that the new particle is the Standard Model Higgs boson still would not complete our understanding of the universe. We still wouldn’t understand why gravity is so weak and we would have the mysteries of dark matter (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show) to confront. But it is satisfying to come a step closer to validating a 48-year-old theory."
Researchers look for the Higgs boson by accelerating protons and crashing them into one another. The energy of those colliding protons can briefly convert into mass, bringing into being heavier particles such as the Higgs bosons. The heavy particles are unstable and decay almost immediately into pairs of less massive particles.
The recent analysis included data from about 500 trillion proton-proton collisions collected in 2011 and from about 1,500 trillion collisions in 2012. Most of the researchers access and analyze the data remotely on their computers.
After further analysis, scientists will be able to say whether this new particle is the Standard Model Higgs boson or "something more surprising."
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