The Matter Before Physics


Due to highly unstable nature of Higgs Boson, an elaborate experiment was designed. The experiment basically involves collision of protons in a particle accelerator. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), as the name suggests, is such a particle accelerator operated by CERN, near Geneva.  It is built in a massive circular tunnel which is 27 kilometers in circumference. It is the world’s largest particle accelerator and it took a team of 10,000 scientists and engineers nearly 10 years to complete.

 The LHC accelerates protons to stupendous speeds for collision. The debris generated after the collision is recorded by its sensors. The statistical data generated by these sensors is analyzed by two teams comprising of 6000 scientists in all. Since the Higgs Boson exists for only millionth fraction of a second and has never been seen due to this fragility, its existence is based on probability of events. The LHC has executed over 800 trillion collisions over a period of two years, and based on the data, one of the two teams of scientists, the CMS, made the announcement of 4 July. According to them, there is one-in-two million chance that the new entity discovered is not the Higgs Boson. Technically, this corresponds to confidence level of 4.9 “sigma points”. The standard set in particle physics to consider a discovery valid is 5 sigma points -- or one-in-a-3.5-million chance. Currently, the discovery falls just short of this standard.

Higgs or no Higgs, modern physics is on the cusp of a new realization. It is just not the discovery the physicists are after, but they are also interested in behavior of elementary particles which would further guide them towards a better understanding of the universe. “If the Boson really is not acting standard, then that will imply that there is more to the story — more particles, maybe more forces around the corner,” Neal Weiner, a theorist at New York University, wrote in an e-mail to the New York Times. “What that would be is anyone’s guess at the moment.” Such discoveries are pushing the frontier of man’s understanding of nature. Looking deep within will give a perspective of why is without. Although it could take years for the story to come full circle, a well-appointed effort in the right direction is already underway.

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matter , God


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