By Nick Batson and Tom Johnson
Anyone who’s been keeping up on the news over the past few weeks has undoubtedly heard of the recent discovery by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) of a subatomic particle that behaves in a manner consistent with how the theorized Higgs boson is said to behave.
The monumental discovery, if correct, will be key in future research regarding how our universe works, as the Higgs boson is the particle that would explain why and how other elementary particles acquire mass. Such a discovery would open doors to whole new worlds of particle physics research.
There were over 1,700 researchers from U.S. institutions working on the project at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, several of which are Stony Brook University’s own. These researchers include Professors of Physics John Hobbs, Robert L. McCarthy and Michael Rijssenbeek, as well as Dmitri Tsybychev, Assistant Professor of Physics.
Until recently, the existence of the Higgs particle was only theorized, but earlier in July scientists believe they witnessed it come to life. And a short life it was for the Higgs particle, as it only exists for one zeptosecond, or one sextillionth of a second.
The Higgs particle is believed to be a fundamental clue in the mystery of how all elementary particles interact with one another, and it is speculated that without the Higgs boson all other particles would move at the speed of light, making it impossible for all matter and life to exist.