Geneva, 4 July 2012. At a seminar held at CERN today as a curtain raiser to the year’s major particle physics conference, ICHEP2012 in Melbourne, the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented their latest preliminary results in the search for the long sought Higgs particle. Both experiments observe a new particle in the mass region around 125–126 GeV.
“We observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of 5 sigma, in the mass region around 126 GeV. The outstanding performance of the LHC and ATLAS and the huge efforts of many people have brought us to this exciting stage,” said ATLAS experiment spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti, “but a little more time is needed to prepare these results for publication.”
“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 CMS experiment spokesperson Joe Incandela. “The implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks.”
The Higgs boson’s existence would clue us in to how particles acquire mass. It’s believed that all of reality is awash in something called the Higgs field, and as particles move through it, they take on mass. Once the Higgs boson is confirmed it will put the Higgs field on solid ground for further study.
Also if confirmed, it would probably translate into an era of great scientific advancement and lots of new fascinating discoveries introduced into every day life in the not too far future. However fascinating it might seem, we mere mortals struggle to understand any of it, but there is no other choice than to keep on trying, so if you are lost like me about what this might really mean, I invite you to watch the following documentary to put things in perspective.