The search has been forty five years in the making. When the Large Hadron Collider was built, the whole world shook in fear that their experiments might go awry and we would all be swept into a black hole, providing fodder for comedy shows and news agencies everywhere for quite some time as we got sucked up in the mania over the event. Experiments failed, and the hype died down, but the LHC has been working away quietly behind the scenes – and now at last we may be seeing some results.
Scientists claim that they think they have found evidence of the Higgs-Boson particle, though they will need to carry out further tests in order to be absolutely certain (attaining the five-sigma standard of scientific certainty before the discovery can be accepted). It seems almost definite at this point that they will be able to do so, although there is some doubt as to whether they have found it at its most simple form or something a little more complicated. The interesting point will come if the results are not what they expect, as it could indicate some new physics and a few recalculations of existing theories.
At CERN (the European organisation for nuclear research), the results were revealed by Joe Incandela and Fabiola Gianotti, representatives of the two teams carrying out simultaneous research, and thunderous applause met their announcements. Professor Peter Higgs, one of the group of six who predicted the existence of the particle in 1964, was there to hear the announcement. “It’s really an incredible thing its happened in my lifetime,” he said, and as the eyes of the world focus on the LHC once more he and everyone else will be hoping for some concrete proof of their findings. This will justify the $10bn cost of the particle accelerator, which is the most powerful ever built.