Scientists May Have Found 'God Particle'
Posted on July 04, 2012 at 08:07:34 am
The European Organisation for Nuclear Research or CERN said the discovery was a milestone in the understanding of nature.
Physicists stressed the results presented at a joint conference in Melbourne and Geneva were preliminary.
-ADVERTISEMENT-They were unsure if the particle was the long sought-after Higgs boson, or God particle, or something more "exotic".
"The next step will be to determine the precise nature of the particle and its significance for our understanding of the universe," a CERN statement said.
CERN director general Rolf Heuer said it was a milestone.
"We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature," he said.
"The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle's properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe."
A spokesman for one of two teams involved in the experiment said the preliminary results were dramatic.
"This is indeed a new particle," CMS experiment spokesperson Joe Incandela said.
"We know it must be a boson and it's the heaviest boson ever found.
"The implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks."
CERN said positive identification of the new particle's characteristics would take considerable time and data.
The standard model of particle physics described the fundamental particles from which we, and every visible thing in the universe, are made, and the forces acting between them, CERN said.
"All the matter that we can see, however, appears to be no more than about four per cent of the total.
"A more exotic version of the Higgs particle could be a bridge to understanding the 96 per cent of the universe that remains obscure."
Physicists have been trying for 30 years to find evidence that the theoretical subatomic particle exists, leading to the CERN experiments using the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator, 100 metres underground near Geneva.
A summary of experiments conducted by one of the two teams at the Large Hadron Collider said further analysis of the particle was needed.
"More data are necessary to establish whether this new particle has all the properties of the SM Higgs boson or whether some do not match, implying physics beyond the standard model," a statement on the CMS results said.
A spokesman for the second team ATLAS, Fabiola Gianotti, said they observed clear signs of a new particle.
"More data and more study will be needed to determine the new particle's properties."
The Higgs boson is the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle, an Australian scientist said.
Professor Anthony Thomas, based at the University of Adelaide, said it was the most important and profound discovery in particle physics in almost 30 years.
"The Higgs represents the key missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is the famous standard model of nuclear and particle physics," Prof Thomas said.
"It has been anticipated for more than four decades and were it not there theorists all over the world would have been back to their drawing boards in desperation."