warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Scientists Find Signs 'God Particle' Exists

Dan Watson |
December 13, 2011 | 11:58 a.m. PST


Scientists have made "significant progress" in the search for the elusive Higgs boson, otherwise known as the "god particle," they announced Tuesday, narrowing the hunt for a basic component of the universe.

However, they'll need a little more time before reaching a conclusion, and hope to prove whether the particle actually exists by next year.

Large Hardon Collider at CERN laboratory in Geneva (Creative Commons)
Large Hardon Collider at CERN laboratory in Geneva (Creative Commons)

Thousands of researchers eagerly awaited the latest data from the CERN laboratory in Geneva on Tuesday, hoping it could explain why there is mass in the universe. Forty years ago, physicist Peter Higgs came up with the theory to explain how fundamental particles have mass.

According to Time:

Many great minds — Democritus, Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, Albert Einstein — took giant steps toward bringing the universe's lost unity out of hiding. In 1964, Peter Higgs, a shy scientist in Edinburgh, added his name to that list by coming up with an ingenious theory that gave scientists the tools to explain how two classes of particles, which now appear to be different, were once one and the same. His theory proposes the existence of a single particle responsible for imparting mass to all things — a speck so precious it has come to be known as the "God particle." The scientific term for it is the Higgs boson, and to find it physicists are counting on the most powerful particle accelerator ever constructed: the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, a 17-mile underground circuit that took 25 years to plan and $6 billion to build.

CERN is home to the behemoth Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC races subatomic protons in opposite directions of an oval-shaped tunnel, until they collide into each other at nearly the speed of light.

The conditions are meant to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang.

The LHC sits 574 feet below the ground at the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. It is 17 miles in circumference. More than 10,000 scientists and engineers from more than 100 countries have worked on it.

Despite the recent work inside the LHC, it operates at half-energy, and will not run at full energy until 2014.

For CERN's announcement and more information, click here.


Best way to find more great content from Neon Tommy?

Or join our email list below to enjoy the weekly Neon Tommy News Highlights.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.