Have scientists found the Higgs boson?
Scientists in Switzerland have made a major discovery recently. They claim they might have found a Higgs boson, or the “God particle”, as it is sometimes called. Scientists think that the Higgs boson could explain how matter gets its mass or weight. Such a particle is smaller than an atom. Scientists have been searching for this particle for almost 50 years. Without mass, particles wouldn’t hold together. In the 1960s British physicist Peter Higgs predicted that such a particle existed.
Physicists believe that the Higgs boson existed for a very short time after the Big Bang, which led to the creation of the universe about 13 billion years ago. For some time, scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research, CERN, have been trying to create the energy that existed at that time.
CERN is the home of the Large Hadron Collider, a gigantic machine that produces high energy to smash atoms. Such a machine is used to find out how our universe developed and to look into mysteries we have not yet found an answer to. The LHC lies in a round 26 km long tunnel over a hundred meters below the Earth’s surface. It sends particles around at light speed.
What physicists call the “standard model” describes the buildings blocks of our universe and the way it works. But there are a few missing links in this theoretical model of physics. One of them is how some particles gain their mass, while others are without mass.
The Higgs theory says that an energy field exists everywhere in the universe. As particles fly around such a field they attract Higgs bosons which are around such fields. Certain particles can attract more Higgs bosons and give them a larger mass, while others attract fewer bosons.
Some scientists are skeptical of their discovery. They say they can’t be 100% sure it is the God particle, but it is different than any other particle they have found so far.
- attract = pull
- billion = a thousand million
- boson = a particle that is smaller than an atom
- certain = here: some
- claim = to say officially that something is true
- collide = crash
- creation = making of
- describe = explain
- develop = grow
- discovery = to find something new
- gain = get
- gigantic = very, very big
- light speed = the distance that light travels in a second = 300,000 km
- major = very important
- mass = weight
- missing link = piece of information that you need in order to explain something
- mystery = something that people cannot understand or explain
- particle = very small part of something
- predict = foresee
- physicist = a person who has special knowledge in physics
- recently = a short time ago
- scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a laboratory
- skeptical = not sure, doubtful
- smash = break into pieces
- surface = the top part of something