Today in the morning I was not quite with it at work. Like a hawk I was following my twitterfeed. Specifically Prof. Brian Cox. Plus several highly geeky physics liveblogs and Guardian. Why? Well today it was the day of days. CERN had a press conference.
Everybody expected them to have more news about the Higgs Boson – the god particle. For physics this particle is the absolute bees knees. The elusive grail underpinning our current knowledge on physics. Higgs was one of the reasons why the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)was built. Both CMS and ATLAS two separate groups chasing this thing. Those that follow it knew that they are well aware that CERN was seeing shadows of this thing. They told us this last year. It was also said that 2012 would either confirm or deny Higgs Boson. The race for Higgs Boson was on. High speed under mountains, small particles were made to collide to see if the grail could be found in its debris. A ‘simple’ explaination can be seen in this video.
Discovery is only called at 5.0 sigma certainty. Everybody hoped, and wished, but would it? Early leaks in the conference said yes, but was this a smokescreen? This morning we heard the news. Something was found exactly where they expect Higgs boson. Certainty for CMS at 4,9 sigma, but ATLAS is claiming 5,0 sigma!
As Brian Cox tweeted So, in very simple language. ATLAS and CMS have independently discovered a new particle mass ~ 126 GeV which behaves like SM Higgs Mr Heurer (the boss at CERN) says , in layman’s terms, they have “got it”. But as a scientist I say ‘what do we have?’ We have a boson. Now we have to discover what kind of boson it is.
A case of it walks like a duck, it talks like a duck it even swims like a duck, but to be certain we want to see the eggs. It is a boson, but is it Higgs? Some interesting explantions can be found on the guardian site where they ask how to explain to a 7-year old. One of my favourites om the site isegorulz4 July 2012 11:22AM Guardian pick
Fermions were famous for their peculiar half spin dance. Electrons, protons and quarks were all Fermions.
The Bosons however were into full spinning though and despised half spin. Photons and Gluons were Bosons. It was rumored that Bosons had a long lost elder brother called Higgs Boson who had been missing for a long long time. One day a wise old man came to the land of the feuding families. He told them they should stop quaerlling over half spin and full spin, since they all used to be the same, and that they all used to be massless.
The old man said that, in the beginning of time when the universe was created, everyone was born the same, but then they were immersed in a mysterious field called the higgs field making each of them different except for Photons who remained the same.
He said this mysterious field was made up of the Higgs Boson – the long lost Boson brother. The families ofcourse refused to believe all this hogwash, and so the old man set about trying to prove his story and bring the Higgs Boson out of his hiding place.
To do this he asked for help from the scientists at CERN. The family feud is coming to an end, at last.
SO and I are excited. This sort of thing is right up our geek streak. So we decided to take this down to our level and make a bet. Peter Higgs is still alive at 83. The man is legend, most certainly now. He was spotted dabbing a tear from his eye. His theory, his lifework (almost) confirmed like this. Our bet; This year’s Nobel Prize for physics for Peter Higgs (Nobel Prize is never awarded posthumously). If yes; then a two Michelin star restaurant dinner, if not one star, but celebrate this new we shall
We’re proud geeks, we also love good food!
Some links I found:
- some fun on havewefoundthehiggsbosonyet.org
- trending topics on twitter this morning
- the press conference
- how the higgs boson explains the universe
- CERN discovers Higgs-like boson (physicsworld.com)
- What Finding the Higgs-Boson Means (wired.com)
- Higgs boson: it’s unofficial! Cern scientists discover missing particle (guardian.co.uk)
- LHC claims new particle discovery (bbc.co.uk)