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CERN scientists set to announce outcome of 'God particle' experiment

Scientists will today announce that they have caught their first glimpse of the ‘Higgs boson’ – changing physics as we know it.

An example of a simulated experiment carried out by CERN, which may potentially give the first evidence for the existence of the
An example of a simulated experiment carried out by CERN, which may potentially give the first evidence for the existence of the "God particle".
Image: Wikimedia Commons

THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY is today awaiting the announcement of results at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva – which could provide the first proof for the existence of the so-called “God particle”.

Researchers will release the results of their latest round of experiments this afternoon – amid wild internet speculation that the results will provide some hints, albeit not conclusive evidence, that the Higgs boson particle exists.

Discovering the particle has been an ideal goal of physicists working at the Swiss supercollider since it was first fired up in 2008.

Evidence for the particle’s existence would also fill a longstanding gap in physics theory – a gap which the Guardian points out was hypothesised by six different physicists within months of each other in 1964.

Their theory – first noted by Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh – supposes the existence of an invisible energy field which fills all empty space in the universe.

This field must exist, they believe, in order to ‘drag’ some particles and give them a weight they would not otherwise have.

Otherwise, all particles would act just as if they were particles of light itself – having no weight whatsoever – and wander aimlessly around at the speed of light, making it impossible for particles to form atoms.

Put simply: they theorise that without the Higgs boson to add weight to these particles, life itself simply could not exist.

To try and find the particle, physicists have been splatting protons at each other in the Large Hadron Collider – firing them into each other at close to the speed of light – and examining the subatomic debris left behind.

The discovery of the boson may not precisely fill the gap in this theory, one particle physicist told the BBC – but if it shows up in an unexpected place, it could open up further new branches of physics theory.

Today’s results are likely only offer a brief hint at whether the particle exists, with more conclusive results expected next year.

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Gavan Reilly

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