Scientists and physicists are ready to test the God Particle at the world’s largest atom smasher by the end of 2012. The particle, also known as the Higgs boson, is the missing link that helped create the Big Bang 14 billion years ago under the laws of God. Researchers are preparing to test the theory.
Rolf Heuer, director of the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, said his confidence was based on the latest findings from the $10 billion proton collider under the Swiss-French border.
“We know everything about the Higgs boson except whether it exists,” said Heuer. “I would say we can settle the question, the Shakespearean question, ‘to be or not to be’, end of next year,” he told reporters at a major physics conference in Grenoble.
The long-postulated particle, first proposed in 1964, is the missing cornerstone of an otherwise well-tested theory, called the Standard Model, which explains how known sub-atomic elements in the universe interact. Without the ‘God particle’, however, that whole edifice falls apart because the Standard Model fails to answer one fundamental question: why do most elementary particles have mass? British theoretical physicist Peter Higgs proposed a mechanism that would “save” the theory — if the particle named for him truly exists.
“If you find the Boson Higgs, the Standard Model is complete. If you don’t find it, then the Model has a serious problem. Both outcomes are discoveries,” Heuer said.
Physicists also hope the collider will help them see and understand other suspected phenomena, such as dark matter, antimatter and supersymmetry. Dark matter has been theorized by scientists to account for missing mass and bent light in faraway galaxies. Scientists believe it makes galaxies spin faster. Physicists once thought protons and neutrons were the smallest components of the atom’s nucleus, but colliders showed they are made of quarks and gluons and that there are other forces and particles.By: Pat Prescott
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