A seminar was held at CERN to announce the preliminary results of research in 2011 on the Higgs boson.
The Higgs boson, so named because the physicist Peter Higgs (photo ©Gert-Martin Greuel) was the first to explicitly theorize its possible existence, is predicted by the Standard Model, a quantum field theory describing strong interaction, weak interaction and electromagnetism, three of the four fundamental forces.
Evidence for the existence of the Higgs boson would be a very important confirmation for the Standard Model, so its research became a priority in the world of physics. The problem is that the experiments needed to verify its existence require enormous levels of energy. Consequently, only the most modern particle accelerators may allow this type of research.
The Tevatron, the particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, was shut down since September 2011 but the data obtained from the experiments are still under study. However, the most important research is carried out by the largest particle accelerator in the world, the LHC at CERN, where today the preliminary results were presented.
Two experiments at CERN investigated the Higgs boson, CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) and ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus). During the seminar, the preliminary results of those two experiments were presented separately.
Many data have been presented but obviously those are only the really important ones for the purposes of this research. The work done by the many people involved in the various experiments has been enormous. The conclusions, from a very technical point of view, are that the CMS experiment detected the existence of a boson which has a mass of around 125 GeV while the ATLAS experiment detected the existence of a boson which has a mass around 126.5 GeV.
In simple words, there is very high probability that there’s a boson that has the features expected for the Higgs boson. More detailed data analysis will be carried out in the coming months to eliminate any possibility of error, however, the preliminary results seem to really lead to the long awaited discovery of the Higgs boson.
Obviously, the universe will continue to operate as it always has, regardless of whether the Higgs boson exists or not. The important thing is that the billions of Euros spent on its research were spent well because they’are bringing us to a new level of knowledge of the secrets of the universe.