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The God Particle: What Does the Discovery of the Higgs Boson Mean?

Updated on August 1, 2012
Peter Higgs theorized the existance of the God Particle 50 years ago.
Peter Higgs theorized the existance of the God Particle 50 years ago.


Supercollider scientists at CERN, are claiming that they’ve discovered a the subatomic particle that might be responsible for the formation of everything else in the universe. They’re pretty sure, 99.999 percent sure, in fact, that they’ve found the elusive Higgs boson, named after Peter Higgs, an Edinburgh professor who announced the probability of the existence of the boson half a century ago.

Higgs attended the conference in Geneva, along with dozens of the world’s foremost scientific minds, to hear about the discovery. The scientists are stopping short of claiming that boson they found really is the Higgs boson at this time, but it’s clear that they believe it is.

What is the Higgs Boson?


In 1964, Peter Higgs came up with the idea that a single subatomic particle was most likely responsible for the creation of all other particles in the universe. Nicknamed the God Particle, scientists have been searching for a particle that would act as a carrier particle, a “boson,” on matter, which exerts a force on other particles, creating mass. The Higgs boson must not only transmit electromagnetic force to matter – it must actually transfer mass.

The Atlas Experiment


Scientists have been on a quest to find the God Particle for decades, but until recently, they didn’t have the technology and equipment to do so. In 2008, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was completed, and before it was turned on – naysayers predicted it could lead to the end of the world. Unfortunately, it suffered a major mechanical failure soon after launch, which required months of repair before it was up and running again. Ap

Those months, and the more than 100 scientists required to get the LHC running again, paid off in spades. The multi-billion dollar collider is the catalyst behind the discovery of the Higgs boson. tly named the Atlas experiment, the boson, if it pans out, will figuratively hold the universe of matter on its shoulders. Scientists behind the discovery are naturally excited, but they are also playing their cards close to their chests. Right now, they are saying the subatomic particle is “consistent” with the Higgs boson, leaving themselves a little wiggle room.

What’s Next?


The Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, John Womersley, told reporters at a news briefing in London that, “they have discovered a particle consistent with the Higgs boson” and he added “It’s a momentous for science.”

If the discovery really is the Higgs boson, it will allow scientists to better understand the creation of the universe and according to professor Jim Virdee from Imperial College, it could “change the way we live.” Calling it “…a portal from the 20th century science to 21st century science,” the importance of this discovery isn’t lost on physicists.

What do you think will be the result of the discover of the Higgs boson particle?

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What is your reaction to the discovery of the Higgs boson?

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    • HLPhoenix profile image

      HLPhoenix 4 years ago

      I recently heard that they actually think they found 2 particles...? you seem to be a good person to ask for a little clarification. 2 Higgs... or?

    • My Esoteric profile image

      My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL

      Good hub Howard, I will add it as a link to one I just finished.

      @Sid, that is an interesting take on the level of excitement that should surround the confirmation of the Higgs boson; that hadn't occurred to me. It is, of course, essential that evidence of the Higgs boson be produced, but why the surprise when it is? Good point.

    • profile image

      JesseJNewman 4 years ago

      I think it could be a great step forward, imagin if we could harness the Higgs field for our own perposes. It could hold endless uses and could also usher in a new time for our civilization. Here is hoping it goes to the right hands and is used for good.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      The nickname "God Particle" does not have anything to do with it proving or disproving the existence of God. It was actually casually referred to as the "Goddamned Particle" because of it's elusiveness. The name was cleaned up so as not to offend public sensibilities. Hence, "God Particle".

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 4 years ago from USA

      So I guess another subatomic particle created the newly found subatomic particle that just happened to appear. I will stick with God created the universe and ever particle within.

    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      I have deep respect for physics. (My grandfather was a physicist, and I'm a scientist myself), but I don't see this particular step as a very large one. If this discovery confirms the Higgs boson, then a long-standing theory is confirmed. This discovery is, for subatomic physics, about equal to the discovery of gravitational lenses for astronomical physics. That discovery simply confirmed Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. The discovery of the Higgs Boson simply confirms existing mainstream options for sub-atomic particle theory. The features of the Higgs boson may clarify some details of the theory.

      So, it's good work through great challenges. But it's an expected experimental result, not a great breakthrough. In fact, if the Higgs Boson had been shown *not* to exist, that would have been a major change for particle physics!

      There's a great episode of the National Geographic series Big Fixes that talks about the repair of the Supercollider, and it's available on Netflix.

    • HowardBThiname profile image
      Author

      HowardBThiname 4 years ago from Midwest

      Thanks Mazio. Like you, I'm very interested in the Higgs boson, and I'm thrilled that Peter Higgs was able to see his theory reach this point. I also try to follow the progress and discoveries at LHC and CERN. The son of a friend was involved with the now-defunct Texas super collider and he's the one who got me interested in this line of physics years ago. I only wish I'd have pursued this at university. Thanks for reading my article.

    • MazioCreate profile image

      MazioCreate 4 years ago from Brisbane Queensland Australia

      This experiement was monumentous and the results equally as impressive. I am currently spending some time visiting an elderly gentleman who is obsessed with physics and we only recently discussed the impact of the LHC. I don't have a great understanding of physics, but the impact of this discovery will have an exponential impact on physics. I liked your hub and have shared with my followers.

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