This July 4th, there’s more than just the Independence of the United States that some of us in the U.S. will be celebrating. Scientists from The Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), working on the Large Hadron Collider in Europe, are prepared to announce on July 4th the discovery of the elusive Higgs Boson, also known as the God Particle, with 99.99 percent certainty.
The much-anticipated press conference will take place in Geneva, where scientists are reportedly prepared to announce that the existence of the particle is at a ‘sigma-four’ level, meaning that they are 99.99 percent certain of its existence. A ‘sigma-five’ level of confidence, which is a 99.99995 percent certainty, would be ideal, as it would shed doubt and confirm that the derived data was more than just a fluke.
The existence of the particle has been hypothesized for over forty years when Peter Higgs, Robert Brout, and François Englert suggested that the Higgs Boson gave all other particles mass in the moments following the Big Bang. According to their theory, when the universe cooled, the Higgs Field and Higgs Boson formed. When massless particles pass through the Higgs Field, which is prevalent throughout the universe, the Higgs Boson will cluster around the particle. The more the particle interacts with the field, the more mass it will have.
San Francisco-based museum The Exploratorium explains it this way:
Imagine you’re at a Hollywood party. The crowd is rather thick, and evenly distributed around the room, chatting. When the big star arrives, the people nearest the door gather around her. As she moves through the party, she attracts the people closest to her, and those she moves away from return to their other conversations. By gathering a fawning cluster of people around her, she’s gained momentum, an indication of mass. She’s harder to slow down than she would be without the crowd. Once she’s stopped, it’s harder to get her going again.
The Higgs Boson’s existence is a critical piece that would confirm that the rules of physics which we abide by, known as the Standard Model, are in fact correct. At the same time, the finding of the Higgs Boson would force the revision of many other theorems to reflect the existence of the particle.
“The Standard Model gives an extraordinarily precise picture of the matter that makes up all the visible universe, and the forces that govern its behaviour, but there are good reasons to believe that this is not the end of the story. For example, we know from observation that the visible universe is just 4% of what seems to be out there,” representatives from CERN said in a statement.
The press conference will begin at 9am CEST (2am ET/11pm PT), and will be available online via webcast.
Learn more about the Higgs Boson below: