CERN to reveal updates on Higgs boson, or ‘God particle’

12 Dec 2011

Large Hadron Collider tunnel. Image courtesy of CERN

Scientists and physicists around the world are awaiting what CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, will be revealing tomorrow in Geneva on its updated findings into its search for the Standard Model Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

CERN will be holding a conference tomorrow, where it will reveal its updated findings on the particle, often described as the ‘God particle’ that so far has eluded scientists.

If this particle is finally pinpointed, it will be pivotal to our understanding of the universe, as it will help us understand how elementary particles acquire mass.

However, CERN has already indicated it has not yet recorded enough data at the LHC to announce a formal discovery of the Higgs boson.

Tomorrow’s announcement at CERN, however, does seem to be destined to be a major stepping stone in the quest for the Higgs boson, according to scientists at the LHC.

Up to now, the Higgs boson has been a ‘hypothetical’ massive elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. It has never been observed in experiments.

But, if found, the Higgs boson would be the final piece of the jigsaw as part of the Standard Model, revealing how particles and forces interact and explaining how most of the known elementary particles obtain their mass.

Large Hadron Collider

The LHC gigantic scientific instrument spans the border between Switzerland and France about 100m underground. It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest-known particles, with the aim of revolutionising our understanding of the universe’s vastness.

Two beams of subatomic particles called ‘hadrons’ travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator.

Physicists use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy.

Physicist Peter Higgs in the 1960s postulated the Higgs mechanism. The theory hypothesises that a sort of lattice, referred to as the Higgs field, fills the universe.

Via its ATLAS and CMS experiments, CERN scientists will tomorrow present the status of their searches for the Higgs boson.

According to CERN, these results will be based on the analysis of considerably more data than that presented at the summer conferences, sufficient to make significant progress in the search for the Higgs boson.

However, it said its updates won’t be enough to make any conclusive statement on the existence or non-existence of the Higgs boson.

The seminar will begin at 2pm CET tomorrow.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic