Higgs boson find is as significant as DNA discovery, claims physicist

4 Jul 2012

The Large Hadron Collider b cavern in 2008. Image by CERN

Following this morning’s news which has captured people’s attention across the globe, when physicists at CERN presented evidence of a new subatomic particle they believe could be consistent with the Higgs boson, British physicist Prof Sir Peter Knight has asserted that the discovery of the Higgs is as significant to physics as the discovery of DNA was to biology.

This morning physicists at CERN revealed that the elusive Higgs boson particle – also known as the ‘God particle’ – is within reach.

Scientists from the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, presented their latest preliminary results in the search for the Higgs boson particle.

CERN said that results from both experiments show strong indications for the presence of a new particle in the mass region around 125-126 GeV.

“This is the physics version of the discovery of DNA. It sets the course for a brand new adventure in our efforts to understand the fabric of our universe,” said Knight, who is president of the Institute of Physics, in response to this morning’s briefing at the European particle physics laboratory CERN.

Professor Sir Peter Knight

Prof Sir Peter Knight. Image by IOP

“This is a remarkable achievement. Fifteen years of international collaboration and hard work constructing the Large Hadron Collider has paid off,” added Knight.

He went on to say that CERN’s announcement is an assurance that the Standard Model of particle physics is correct. He gave the analogy of like testing that your spacecraft is capable of reaching the moon.

“We can now start to explore where the spacecraft takes us, delving deeper and deeper into the Standard Model. Akin to a moon mission, one of the most remarkable things about the hunt for the Higgs is how the effort has caught the public imagination.”
Knight said there hasn’t been such a sense of popular excitement around scientific discovery since the Apollo space missions 40 years ago.

“Long may this continue to inspire the next generation of scientists,” he said.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic