This post is about the Higgs-Boson. If you don’t know what that is, you may want to read on, cause I’ll explain it (within my bounds of understanding). But first, some exposition.
Let’s get this out of the way right now. I’m a nerd. Always have been. Always will be. I like all things science. I think most people do. Whether you are passionate about it or just like knowing that you can power your clock with an orange instead of batteries and don’t really care why, all people are drawn to science.Now, I am a software developer and I personally believe that writing software is more akin to art than science. But that’s a post for another day. In my space time, you know, the kind we all have for that first 30mins of work everyday where you religious click through the same set of websites to see what has changed since yesterday, I like to follow some tech/science websites to keep myself up to date on the latest happenings in the World O’Geekdom.
Today I came across this little tidbit: Possible Higgs-Boson Discovery. Now, this is very interesting for a few reasons, but let’s start at the basics. Most of us know that everything is made up of atoms and atoms are made up of electrons, protons, and neutrons. But that’s generally where most of us stop
caring learning. That’s ok. for 99.9999% of the population, you will never have a conversation that includes the following words: fermions, boson, leptons, and quarks.
Now, just atoms are made up of electrons, protons, and neutrons; Protons and neutrons are made up of those other things (electrons themselves are an elementary particle, as far as we know). Physicists have long been working on a thing called the Standard Model . It basically predicts how everything is what it is. It is the ABC’s of the universe; not including gravity, because it’s like the evil-red-headed step-child in the family.
Most of the Standard Model has been proven via experimentation. These experiments usually take place at high power particle accelerators. Inside these devices, matter is sped up to near the speed of light and then crashed together. The resulting of explosion breaks the matter up into its smaller pieces we don’t normally see and then we detect these things.
This is where the Higgs-Boson comes into play. So far, we haven’t figured out what gives matter it’s mass. The Standard Model predicts there is a particle – The Higgs-Boson (or God particle) – that gives all matter it’s mass. But as of yet, we haven’t seen it in experiments.
Finding the Higgs-Boson is one of the reasons why some people got together and spent $9 billion building the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The biggest, badest, mo-fo of a particle accelerator that will smash matter together at 14x the energy than anything we’ve previously built.
Ok, lesson over. So that article I found states that (this is pure rumor), that an internal memo at CERN is circulating that they MAY have detected a Higgs-Boson. If it turns out to be true, then the LHC will have fulfilled its purpose in less than 3 years since the first beams were fired inside it and humanity would take a huge step forward in understanding physics.