The search is all but over for a subatomic particle that is a crucial building block of the universe. Physicists announced on Thursday that they believe they have discovered the subatomic particle predicted nearly a half-century ago, which will go a long way toward explaining what gives electrons and all matter in the universe size and shape.
The elusive particle, called a Higgs Boson, was predicted in 1964 to help fill in our understanding of the creation of the universe, which many theorise occurred in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang.
The particle was named for Peter Higgs, one of the physicists who proposed its existence, but it later became popularly known as the ‘God particle’. The discovery would be a strong contender for the Nobel Prize.
Last July, scientists at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, or CERN, announced finding a particle they described as Higgs-like, but they stopped short of saying conclusively that it was the same particle or was some version of it.
Scientists have now finished going through the entire set of data.“The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs Boson, though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs Boson it is,” said Joe Incandela, a physicist who heads one of the two main teams at CERN, each involving several thousand scientists.
Whether or not it is a Higgs boson is demonstrated by how it interacts with other particles and its quantum properties, CERN said in the statement. After checking, scientists said the data ‘strongly indicates that it is a Higgs Boson.’ The results were announced in a statement by CERN and released at a physics conference.
The Indian connect
What is largely unknown, at least to non-specialists, is that the term ‘Boson’ owes its name to the pioneering work of the late Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose. In 1924, he sent a paper to Albert Einstein describing a statistical model that eventually led to the discovery of what became known as the Bose-Einstein condensate phenomenon. The paper laid the basis for describing the two fundamental classes of sub-atomic particles — bosons and fermions