It’s a Boson, and Quite Possibly a Higgs

I’m sure most of you have heard by now that CERN has finally officially announced it may have found (a) Higgs boson particle.  The new particle discovered by scientists in Geneva at the Large Hadron Collider announced this morning that they have indeed found a new boson, the parameters of which quite perfectly fit the Higgs boson particle, which was mathematically predicted by the otherwise perfect standard model of particle physics.  At the press conference this morning, however, CERN scientists were quick to make clear that while this may very well be a Higgs, they don’t know yet if this is the Higgs boson predicted by the standard model, or one of the Higgs bosons predicted by Supersymmetry.

Either way, this is exciting news.  Yet, it brings about a somewhat damp Independence Day for those of us here in the states, being reminded yet again just how far surpassed we are by the rest of the world in science.

This discovery is huge for reasons I’ve always had difficulty explaining.  In short, the Higgs boson particle has long been thought to be the particle/field that lends mass to other particles that mathematically should not have mass.  The Higgs boson is responsible for the mass of some of the most fundamental constituents of matter that are known to science today, ranging from gluons (particles that hold quarks together) to quarks (particles that bond together with the help of gluons to form matter such as electrons, neutrons, protons, and other particles, allowing for atoms to be formed).  For more information, you can watch the press conference from this morning at this link, or you can read the interesting article posted on i09 this morning regarding the pet name many use for the Higgs boson, The God Particle (a name I’ve never personally liked, but it’s really just a name after all).

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