Well, that went even better than we had dared hope. CERN has confirmed that its experiments so far have demonstrated the existence of the Higgs boson, which in turn suggests that the fundamental model of physics is accurate. Suck on that, science deniers!
Australian scientists joined a global chorus of welcome for the news. Here’s Professor Anthony Thomas from the University of Adelaide:
Today’s announcement that the Higgs boson has been discovered at CERN represents the most important and profound discovery in particle physics in almost 30 years. The Higgs represents the key missing piece of the jig-saw puzzle that is the famous Standard Model of nuclear and particle physics. It has been anticipated for more than four decades and were it not there theorists all over the world would have been back to their drawing boards in desperation. Now that it has been found, there is not only a palpable sense of relief but a great deal of excitement as we begin to pore over the details of the various experimental results to see what hints they may have for completely new physics which goes beyond the Standard Model.
His colleague Dr Paul Jackson can tell us more:
The Higgs boson gives each type of particle its own mass. Its existence is required to explain several features of our current model of particle physics, and evidence for the Higgs will further validate this model. Hints from data at the Large Hadron Collider collected in 2011 pointed to a region in mass at about 125 GeV (equivalent to about 125 proton masses) where some anomalous activity may be occurring. The data collected in 2012 so far have been analysed and are demonstrating excesses consistent with a signal which at first glance looks consistent with the expectation of a Standard Model Higgs Boson. If confirmed to be the Standard Model Higgs this will provide a crucial piece in our understanding of how particles in the Universe are assigned masses. Its measurement could have far reaching effects on research in fundamental particle physics.
As that comment confirms, there’s much more to learn. But in an era where acting like science is irrelevant or a con is a common media trick (think carbon change! think NBN!), the fact that the world is excited by this development is so pleasing it’s hard to describe.
Not up on why the Higgs-Boson is important? We’ve got that covered.