When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

REUTERS, NEW SCIENTIST, CERN(Switzerland)

Worldcrunch

GENEVA - Physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva have announced that they have observed a new subatomic particle that may well be the crucial Higgs boson, a.k.a. the "God particle," thus potentially putting an end to an almost 50-year-long game of hide-and-seek with the elusive particle.

"The results are preliminary but the 5 sigma signal at around 125 GeV we're seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it's the heaviest boson ever found," said spokesperson Joe Incandela in a press release published on the CERN website.

A little rusty on your particle physics? Here are three attempts at helping the rest of us to understand what all the fuss is about:

-David J. Miller, a physicist at University College London used the following analogy in 1993: Imagine a cocktail party in a ballroom. Regular people can walk around freely, encountering no resistance from other members of the crowd. But when a celebrity – say, Justin Bieber -- shows up, everybody gathers around so tightly that he can hardly move... The partygoers are like Higgs bosons, giving mass to the whole cluster. Bieber represents basically anything in the universe. For once.

-The Higgs field has also been described as an all-pervading "cosmic treacle," a kind of sticky syrup (see image below) spread throughout the universe. Particles moving through the treacle stick to it, slow down, lose energy, and become heavier. Not to mention yummier.

Peter Higgs, the British physicist after whom the particle is named, called this step a great achievement for the Large Hadron Collider, the 27-km (17-mile) long particle accelerator built in a tunnel underneath the French-Swiss border where experiments to search for the boson have taken place, Reuters reports. Higgs added: "I never expected this to happen in my lifetime and shall be asking my family to put some champagne in the fridge."

If confirmed, the discovery would have virtually illimited implications. One of them being that British physicist Stephen Hawking would owe University of Michigan physicist Gordon Kane $100: Back in 2000, Hawking bet Kane that the Higgs boson would never be found, as reported in the magazine New Scientist.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Dottoré!

Of Rats And Men

Our Naples-based psychiatrist remembers a 2019 conversation with a patient on the geopolitics of pest control.

Street rat street art

Mariateresa Fichele

"Carmela, how long did you have to fight rats entering your house?"

"Eh, Dottoré, for years!"

"And how did end up solving it?"

"I adopted three cats that were in my street!"

"And then what happened?"

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ