If confirmed next week, this will be the biggest news in the history of physics since the birth of the Theory of Relativity: CERN scientists may have already found evidence of the existence of the elusive Higgs boson. THE FORCE, dudes:
A respected scientist from the Cern particle physics laboratory has told the BBC he expects to see "the first glimpse" of the Higgs boson next week.
That's next Tuesday, when two Large Hadron Collider teams would reveal the results of their research, highlighting 10 candidates that show evidence of Higgs. Those 10 candidates were found from the remains of about 350 trillion collisions using the ATLAS and CMS detectors.
What's the Higgs boson?
According to most physicists, there's a Higgs field that is everywhere. The elusive Higgs particle would be the carrier of that field, interacting with all the other particles, "sort of the way a Jedi knight in Star Wars is the carrier of the "force", as National Geographic eloquently put it when the Large Hadron Collider was being built.
Why is it important?
The Higgs boson is a pivotal part of the standard model of particle physics but nobody has ever found evidence of its existence. It's one of the main reasons of why the Large Hadron Collider was built. Other than time travel and opening portals to alternate dimensions, that is.
The discovery of this particle is fundamental for our understanding of how the Universe works. So important that — according to the former theoretical physics lead at CERN, John Ellis — "we've been living with Higgs theory now for almost 50 years... it's become our Holy Grail." Ellis said the excitement among all scientist at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. That may not sound impressive, given that Switzerland is the most boring country on Earth after Belgium, but if they call it God's Particle, you know it has to be important.
When would we get a photo of God's particle?
Not yet. Tuesday's data will not be confirmed until they are able to produce repeated evidence in future experiments. Scientists expect this to happen sometime around mid 2012.
As Sergio Bertolucci — director of research at CERN — puts it: "It's too early to say… I think we may get indications that are not consistent with its non-existence [but] we are on a good path to the discovery."