On March 14th, 2013, researchers operating the Large Hadron Collider tentatively confirmed the existence of the Higgs Boson Particle. The search for the supposed “God Particle” began in 1964, when three papers written by separate teams of scientists theorized about the presence of such a particle to confirm the Standard Model of Particle Physics. The Standard Model is the current, largely accurate depiction of the workings of the universe. It explains how three of the four fundamental forces (It has yet to explain gravity) relate in the spectrum of the universe. One of the theories it explains is how matter is created. This is where the discovery of the Higgs Boson Particle comes into play. The Higgs Boson validates the idea that there is a so-called “Higgs Field” that assigns weight to matter. Theoretically, the Higgs Field would give off Higgs Boson Particles, which signifies that if the Higgs Boson Particle was confirmed to exist, the existence of the Higgs Field would be validated, as well. Acting as one of the fundamental building blocks of the universe, the existence of the Higgs Field is essential in adding more validity to the Standard Model.
Last year, scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, detected an unknown particle that they thought might be the Higgs Boson Particle. After a year of tireless research, utilizing the ATLAS experiment, they finally confirmed that it is most likely the particle in question. CERN had two teams of scientists conduct research separately and blindly, meaning that they could not communicate with each other about their findings, and they both came to the consensus that the particle was the strongest candidate for the Higgs Boson particle. However, the possibility still remains that they discovered a different Boson particle that does not match the Standard Model. Though this is a possibility, the observed behavior, decay, and interaction are characteristic of the Standard Model.
Although the Higgs Boson is often referred to as the “God Particle,” this title is a misnomer, and often contested by scientists. The origin of the nickname actually comes from a book written in 1993 by Nobel Physics prizewinner Leon Lederman. Higgs, himself an atheist, was offended by the mislabeling of the particle. Although the particle explains much in regard to the Standard Model, it does not reveal much else about the nature of the universe or its creation, and actually invites more questions in regard to the nature of the universe. The particle came to be called the Higgs Boson Particle after scientist Peter Higgs, who made tremendous leaps with regard to his predictions and ruminations on the nature of the particle in his 1964 paper on the subject.
Much is still left up to mystery regarding the nature of the Higgs Boson Particle, but its confirmed discovery delineates a tremendous hallmark for particle and theoretical physics. Overall, the discovery of the particle brings science closer to uncovering the secrets of the Universe, and the general hope and consensus is that the Higgs Boson Particle provides a better glimpse into the universe’s inner workings.