The Hunt For Higgs

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The Hunt For Higgs
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From: silichip
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Added: 01-03-2012 16:58:14
Anticipation is building in the run-up to presentations of the best-yet evidence for - or against - the existence of the Higgs boson. The famed particle is a missing link in current theories of physics, used to explain how things gains their mass. Rumours have been swirling about the findings for weeks, ahead of the announcement on Tuesday afternoon. It is likely to yield only tantalising hints, as the teams do not have enough data to claim a formal discovery. However, most physicists concede that not finding the Higgs boson is as exciting a prospect as finding it in the place where existing theory predicts it should be. "If we wouldn't find it it would be even - in a way - more exciting, but you know, both ways, it's a win-win situation," said Prof Stefan Soldner-Rembold, a particle physicist from the University of Manchester. "[If] we find it, we know this theory's complete, but there's still more things to look for. If we don't find it, we know there must be something else which we haven't understood yet." Field day Finding the Higgs was a key goal for the $10bn (£6bn) Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - a 27km (17-mile) circumference accelerator ring of superconducting magnets, designed to re-create the conditions just after the Big Bang in an attempt to answer fundamental questions of science and the Universe itself. The collider hosts two experiments - Atlas and CMS - that are searching for the particle independently. There is intense excitement among physicists working at Cern, the Geneva-based organisation which operates the collider, over hints that the hunters have cornered their quarry. "It is a fantastic time at the moment, you can feel people are enthusiastic," Dr Christoph Rembser, a senior scientist on the Atlas experiment, told BBC News. "It is really very lively." Continue reading the main story "Start Quote If the Universe really is like that, I find it really quite breathtaking and humbling that we can understand it" Dr Tara Shears University of Liverpool, UK Prof Soldner-Rembold called the quality of the LHC's results "exceptional", adding: "Within one year we will probably know whether the Higgs particle exists, but it is likely not going to be a Christmas present." He told me: "The Higgs particle would, of course, be a great discovery, but it would be an even greater discovery if it didn't exist where theory predicts it to be." The Higgs boson is a "fundamental" particle; one of the basic building blocks of the Universe. It is also the last missing piece in the leading theory of particle physics - known as the Standard Model - which describes how particles and forces interact. The Higgs explains why other particles have mass. As the Universe cooled after the Big Bang, an invisible force known as the Higgs field formed together with its associated boson particle. It is this field (and not the boson) that imparts mass to the fundamental particles that make up atoms. Without it, these particles would zip through the cosmos at the speed of light.
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