CERN scientists say they have found a 'God particle'

Mar 14, 2013, 22:15 IST | PTI

Scientists said on Thursday that the subatomic particle discovered last year by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is indeed a Higgs boson or the elusive 'God particle' - a key building block of our universe.

It remains an open question, however, whether this is the Higgs boson of the Standard Model of particle physics, or possibly the lightest of several bosons predicted in some theories that go beyond the Standard Model, The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said. 

"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 CERN physicist Joe Incandela.

At the Moriond Conference in Italy today, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at the LHC presented preliminary new results that further elucidate the particle discovered last year.

Having analysed two and a half times more data than was available for the discovery announcement in July, they found that the new particle is looking more and more like a Higgs boson, the particle linked to the mechanism that gives mass to elementary particles.

Whether or not it is a Higgs boson is demonstrated by how it interacts with other particles, and its quantum properties.

For example, a Higgs boson is postulated to have no spin, and in the Standard Model its parity a measure of how its mirror image behaves should be positive.

CMS and ATLAS have compared a number of options for the spin-parity of this particle, and these all prefer no spin and positive parity.

This, coupled with the measured interactions of the new particle with other particles, strongly indicates that it is a Higgs boson.

"The beautiful new results represent a huge effort by many dedicated people. They point to the new particle having the spin-parity of a Higgs boson as in the Standard Model. We are now well started on the measurement programme in the Higgs sector," ATLAS spokesperson Dave Charlton said in a statement.

To determine if this is the Standard Model Higgs boson, the collaborations have, for example, to measure precisely the rate at which the boson decays into other particles and compare the results to the predictions. The detection of the boson is a very rare event - it takes around 1 trillion (1012) proton-proton collisions for each observed event.

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