Another Higgs Boson Discovered


Will This Let Scientists Re-create The Big Bang?

The universe is vast. It’s so hugely, mind-bogglingly vast that, despite the tons and tons of sci-fi and alien movies set in it, there’s still so much of it to go around. Interestingly enough, the main question in scientists’ heads these days is: “How did the universe come to be?” The widely accepted theory is that there was a “Big Bang”, and lo and behold, the universe was created. Apart from bible crazy creationists, this is the widely accepted cosmological model for how the universe was created. The “Big Bang theory” postulates that the universe was once in a hot and extremely dense state, before rapidly expanding into the universe we now know. The Higgs-Boson particle is one of the elementary particles in the Standard Model of Physics, thought to be the building blocks of the universe. Its existence was hypothesized in the 1960’s but never proven, until July 2012. The Higgs Boson particle is extremely difficult to detect and create, as it does not exist freely in its natural state. The Standard Model defines the Higgs particle a Boson with no spin, electric charge, or color charge. It is also very unstable, decaying into other particles almost immediately.

The presence of the Higgs Boson particle would help validate the Standard Model of Physics and provide a new insight into various cosmological phenomena, like the expansion of the universe, how certain particles acquire mass, whether or not scalar fields exist, etc. After decades of searching, the Large Hadron Supercollider at CERN (European Council for Nuclear Research), designed to specifically aid in the confirmation of the particle’s existence, finally narrowed down the mass range within which the particle could exist. To produce a Higgs Boson, two particle beams, accelerated to very high velocities are allowed to collide within a particle detector. Because the Higgs Boson decays very quickly, the particle detector reads the decay signature, i.e. the products of the decay, and work backwards from there. The decay process is reconstructed and it is analyzed to see if it matches the possible, theoretical decay process of a Higgs Boson.

Because the creation of a Higgs Boson is a very rare and difficult process, the collisions are repeated multiple times to verify its consistency. To produce a Higgs Boson, a particle collision of high velocity is needed, as well as a powerful particle collider with high luminosity to ensure that the collisions are visible. While the discovered particle needs to be further analyzed to ensure that it is the Higgs Boson, the detection of another particle with a higher mass than the previous particle could signify the existence of more than one Higgs Boson. While this does not actively confirm or deny the existence of the particle, it does narrow the field within which the particle may be found. It will take many more decades of experimentation and analyzing to completely isolate the particle and validate its existence and properties. If proven to exist, this particle would completely revolutionize the world of physics and engineering as we know it. The last great discovery, the Quark, led to the development of electronic technology by leaps and bounds, including the invention of the IC chips, which changed computer technology. Scientists are surely waiting with baited breath to see the developmental results of this discovery.

Varanya Vijaykumar

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