Scientists close in on 'god particle'

2011-12-09 07:28

Geneva - Scientists at the world's largest atom smasher have new data that shows with greater certainty where to find a long-sought theoretical particle that would help explain the origins of the universe.

Physicists at Cern, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research near Geneva, said on Thursday that reams of new data will help in the search for the Higgs boson, whose existence is theorised under the main particle physics theory that explains the Big Bang.

Finding it would be an enormous scientific breakthrough for the physics world and would help explain why different particles have different masses. That is because the particle itself is thought to give mass to other particles, and thus to objects and creatures in the Universe.

Scientists say their data from two main experiments using Cern's $10bn Large Hadron Collider under the Swiss-French border will be made public next on Tuesday, but any firm discovery will have to wait until 2012.

They say the data helps narrow the region of the search because it excludes some of the higher energy ranges where the Higgs boson might be found, and shows some intriguing possibilities involving a small number of "events" at the lower energy ranges.

Significant discoveries

"What's exciting is we know we're close to getting something in focus. We know we're close to the stage where we're going to see something," said Joe Incandela, a physicist who will lead one of Cern's two main experiments next year.

"We're really right at the boundary of where you might get a vague hint of something," he said. "But whenever you're talking about that small number of events, there's no real statement you can make."

Thousands of researchers around the world have been poring over the data generated at the collider, and many expect it to produce significant discoveries about the makeup of matter and other mysteries of the universe.

High energy beams of protons are sent crashing into each other though a 27km tunnel to see what happens when they collide. The protons travel at incredible speeds in conditions simulating those one trillionth to two trillionths of a second after the Big Bang.

Physicists once thought protons and neutrons were the smallest components of the atom's nucleus, but colliders showed they are made of quarks and gluons and that there are other forces and particles.

Speculation about progress in the hunt for the precise level of energy where the Higgs boson might be found had the physics world and blogosphere buzzing on Thursday.

An American scientist who's collaborating in the hunt for the Higgs boson said people are really excited about the new Cern data but it will be another year before anything that is definite.

Speed barrier

"There's a lot of drama," said Drew Baden, chair of the physics department at the University of Maryland. "It's not anything anybody can look at and say, 'There it is.'"

The hunt for the Higgs boson is different than the much-publicised research by French and Italian researchers that appeared to show subatomic neutrino particles travelling faster than light.

But scientists at Cern are involved in testing that research, which would show neutrinos breaking what Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein considered the ultimate speed barrier.

  • Zion - 2011-12-09 07:51

    If this particle was found to exist then it automatically vindicates and supports Einsteins theory of relativity. If the partical passes mass to other particles then it implies that both are in motion and any particle gains mass while in motion. At the speed of light the mass is theoretically at infinity.

      anadish - 2011-12-09 08:22

      STR needs modification on the inertial locking of space. Big Bang and STR both are scientific models which talk of a 'singularity' and a 'law' which have no further scientific explanation. Superluminal speed of Neutrinoes and Higgs boson both cannot coexist -- either one has to be wrong. It's DCE research and supeluminal speed which has the potential of breaking current scientific barriers, rather than finding a nebulous statistical dual peak for Higgs, which well could be due to many other anomalies, one that LHC could not decipher is that of the UFOs.

      Zion - 2011-12-10 09:16

      This comment is not aimed at any person or commenter but is my personal interpretation. I believe mankind has not progressed scientifically or mentally to grasp the full implications of what we see and experience in the universe as it appears today. As time moves on, that is if time actually exists outside our frame of reference, new laws and systems are discovered yet no real rationale to accompany those isolated laws. (unification law in particular) When reading the comments on these and other fora it has become clear that our belief system has become schistose and the gap is widening dramatically: On the one side of the divide are the Christians and on the other the Atheists and currently there seems to be no reasonable bilateral unification or compromise whatsoever. An example: Einstein's laws of relativity are inscribed in rock yet today after decades they are seriously questioned by both sides of the divide. The most apt comment I can make here is a paraphrased statement made by Paul Davies: "While we are in the universe and part of that universe we cannot see much of the universe but should we observe the universe from outside the universe then the picture will be much greater and clearer".

  • anadish - 2011-12-09 08:15

    To continue getting funding till 2020, they had no choice but to release some 'indicative' data. Now the challenge for my research is to show practically the real gravitational mechanism not only in action but to find a practical application for my discovery.

  • Spiral - 2011-12-09 08:33

    Keep looking boys... waste more time & money! :)

      mbossenger - 2011-12-09 08:46

      Yes, I agree. what is it with these idiot scientists trying to find out how the universe works? /sarcasm

      Wollie - 2011-12-09 12:39

      So you would also have heckled Edison for tring to invent the light bulb or telephone?

      Modefan - 2011-12-09 14:13

      Damn that guy who said the Earth revolves around the Sun, and not the other way around, no wonder the church wanted to burn him, and that other dude, Newton, apple fell on his head and he thought about gravity, how did he come up with that? must've been the devil's work, blasphemy I tell ya!

  • Fredster69 - 2011-12-09 08:42

    Reason why they have never found a particle from the big bang is because there was no big bang.

      mbossenger - 2011-12-09 08:47

      What scientific research have you done to reach such a conclusion?

      Fredster69 - 2011-12-09 09:06

      mbossenger.I believe that God created the earth and that logic tells me that everything on this earth could not have originated from a bang

      Chrono - 2011-12-09 09:22

      @Fredster, if your argument is based on your religous beliefs, kindly consider that top christian scientists believe in a big-bang as the origin of everything, including time and space. The "big-bang" is not contrary to the Creation idea but part of it. The scientific evidence for it, by the way, is overwhelming. Prof Lotz Strauss, a christian scientist once addressed an audience about creation and explained how, if all the distance between atomic particles could be removed the remaining matter would not even fill a teaspoon. He pointed out how that confirmed the notion that God created everything from "nothing".

      Fredster69 - 2011-12-09 09:41

      Chrono..thanks for your input. However, if you want to call creation a big bang, then its fine, as long as Christians do not believe that the earth is billions of years old, and all of the theories that goes with it.

      modo - 2011-12-09 09:57

      @Fredster. Why can't they believe that? The idea that the earth is 6000 years old is one of the easiest creationist theories to disprove. And although accepting the real age of the earth makes the creation argument even flimsier than it already is, I don't see how a young earth theory is fundamental to Christianity.

      Stephen - 2011-12-09 10:02

      "christian scientist", what an oxymoron.

      poaul - 2011-12-09 10:05

      Are you for real? Do you also believe in the easter bunny?

      coert.welman - 2011-12-09 11:20

      Chrono, you have the Lotz Strauss quote incorrect. He was my physics lecturer and the teaspoon analogy is for the earth, not the universe.

      mbossenger - 2011-12-09 12:38

      Fredster - so none then, thanks for the confirmation.

      mbossenger - 2011-12-09 12:39

      Why don't you believe the earth is billions of years old?

      NrGx - 2011-12-09 12:52

      @Fredster - and i suppose dino bones were put here to test you faith?

      Modefan - 2011-12-09 14:15

      @Fredster69 ...I just love religeous nuts.... so explain the dinosaurs? The bones are there for all to see, its millions of years older than any human work that into your 7 day diary

      zane.zeiler - 2011-12-09 15:17

      Why do you guys insist on feeding the troll? I mean it's pretty obvious that after no valid response to mbossenger's question that Fredster69 has absolutely no intention/capacity for constructive debate but rather just likes fishing for responses by spewing creationist hogwash...

      Victor - 2011-12-10 10:00

      Hondbyt It's hard not to feed the trolls - esp Fredster69 Science threatens him so he has to come and vomit up his creationist bile

      Grant - 2011-12-10 12:29

      Since no self-respecting scientist uses the term "god particle", Fredster doesn't realise news24 has trolled him by using it in the title. Lolerz.

  • Malcolm - 2011-12-09 10:23

    Scientists and the public in general have an overwhelming desire to prove that we are the essence of intelligence and that we have a special insight to explain the origins of the universe. We go to great time and expense to prove our theory so that we can take all the glory. Yet God told us in no uncertain terms that he created and populated the earth and that he formed the stars above and the galaxies beyond for his glory alone. I believe that the elusive long-sought after “theoretical” particle shall never be found, because it simply doesn’t exist. Nor will God allow a cure for aids to be found, until we stop our sexual misconduct.

      Stephen - 2011-12-09 10:46

      What a head full of s@#t, why did we have to call it the God particle, it’s only going to bring the mentally abused as a child Christian nut cases out of the closet.

      Chrono - 2011-12-09 11:45

      @Malcolm, you believe in the punishing God of the old testament. The One I walk with is a forgiving God of love who wants or us to find remedies for our problems and aches. @Stephen, we're not in any closet. You WILL bend your knees to God bro, so, perhaps you start practising how to get of your high horsey (which is yourself).

      Phoenix - 2011-12-09 11:58

      LOL Malcolm keep telling yourself that :) Scientists have an overwhelming desire to find the *real* truth. Keep living in you la-la land fairytale.

      Malcolm - 2011-12-09 12:56

      @Chrono: God is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

      Chrono - 2011-12-09 13:57

      @Malcolm, absolutely!

      jody.beggs - 2011-12-09 14:03

      @Malcom yeah he never changes , because he's not here ! If you have any "evidence" not in a 4 thousand year old , edited , book , please bring it forward. Damn the man , save the Empire.

      Grant - 2011-12-10 12:20

      //@Chrono: God is the same yesterday, today, and forever!// Except between the new testament and old testament. And between affluent nations and poor ones.

      Grant - 2011-12-10 12:22

      //Yet God told us in no uncertain terms that he created and populated the earth and that he formed the stars above and the galaxies beyond for his glory alone.// So your god's narcissistic then? How very human.

      Grant - 2011-12-10 12:31

      //Scientists and the public in general have an overwhelming desire to prove that we are the essence of intelligence and that we have a special insight to explain the origins of the universe// No, we have a thirst for knowledge and are willing to apply ourselves to understand our universe. For someone who proclaims their personal god created the universe, I wonder what he/she/they would think of your willful ignorance and indifference towards their creation?

  • lanie.barnard - 2011-12-09 11:40

    I would just like to know why both theories cn't be correct? Even if the universe started as 2 particles colliding, where did the particles come from?

      Phoenix - 2011-12-09 11:59

      Not from some imaginary guy. Where did he come from so by the way? I love the fact that you refer to religion as a theory though. Thumbs up for you!

      jody.beggs - 2011-12-09 14:05

      A super dense star or black hole exploded. All particles where tightly packed together , then exploded apart . Damn the man , save the Empire.

  • Neville - 2011-12-09 14:01

    If God created the Universe, and He created the earth and the rocks and the trees and every living thing, and a scientist was next created, and that scientist did his experiments on the rocks and organic matter to determine their age, what would he find? How old would a 50m tall giant oak seem to you that was only created the day before? How old would a rock seem to be if it was created the day before? God spoke, bang, and it was there with apparent age.

      jason.lindgren - 2011-12-09 14:51

      Why would a God give age to the rocks, trees and the universe? Just to fool you? Or as you would say, test your faith? @Lanie both theories can fit together, and although I'm an atheist I do believe in the possibility of a God, but I dont see a reason, logic or any forethought for people like Neville or Chrono to say what they are saying. Right now religion is the easy answer to a very hard question mankind has been asking for eons.

      Modefan - 2011-12-09 15:01

      So man was created DUMB IDIOTS, all intelligence was put into apples, when they ate the apples theire eyes opened up, blah blah...So 1: Why not create man with intelligence 2: If not for whatever reason, why put intelligence into an apple 3: in the open, without any fencing around it 4: why create a talking snake that would tempt man to eat the forbidden apple 5: the snake was the devil? I think not, it says snake, so it means snake ( the devil is cast out of heaven and fell to the earth, but that comes later, this all happens in Genesis ) 6: The snake was punished to crawl on its belly ( meaning again that it was a snake and not the devil ) just how did this snake look like? . . . you ask to many questions...thou shalt not question! (the bible's Info Secrecy bill)

      Zion - 2011-12-10 09:43

      Modefan: Dunno where you got your info from but it seems rather cockeyed. The universe is an intelligent place: All apples and peaches and bananas are intelligent even if they cannot speak. Elephants and mice are just as intelligent as Humans are but they never went to school. So funny how oak trees produce acorns instead of hens eggs. So funny how the planets remain in their path and not crash like taxis. So funny how silly cats keep on catching and eating mice when they could eat grass. Yes, the universe is an intelligent place but that intelligence is not open always, to human eyes and brain. Only some have that capacity. Humans do not occupy a special place in the universe. We are nothing special.

      Grant - 2011-12-10 12:25

      //How old would a 50m tall giant oak seem to you that was only created the day before?// It wouldnt display a genetic history linking it to other lifeforms, spanning millions of years. Which is coincidentally what we have now, making your guess incorrect.

  • stevemoss4 - 2011-12-09 16:20

    So when they find the "god particle" what then? will a little Big Bang happen inside the Collider? will it absorb matter like they say it will? how will they contain this particle if they find it? weird how they can waist time and money on that instead of helping the poor countries.

      Carl - 2011-12-09 17:37

      The quest for knowledge is not a waste of time or money. If man never searched for answers then we would all still be living in caves. Funny how people complain about this kind of thing yet they are quite happy with their iPads and iPhones which took man many years of research to develop. And like someone already asked. Who made God? If he was not created then does that mean he is the product of a form of evolution?

  • Otto - 2011-12-09 23:41

    I would like to comment on the probability of a scientific discovery tuesday. Scientists measure their experiments by a term called sigma. There is no scientific discovery about a sigma 2.5 or 3.00 as probably will be the case on tuesday. Maybe even lower. If Newton were sitting under his appletree and made 100 observations, and in one instance the apple didn't hit him in the head, it is a sigma 2.5. A sigma 5.o is EVERY time that the apple falls down, and that includes doing it a million times and more. THAT is a scientific discovery. At sigma 3 the apple fals wrong one out of every 370 times you do the experiment. That is not a scientific discovery either. My prediction is that the Higgs particle never will reach close to a sigma 5. Behind the prediction there is a theory, if you are interested. Google crestroyer theory and find it or visit directly at

      bmpdragon - 2011-12-10 00:17

      Uhm, Otto... nope. You are slightly confused and seemed to have mixed up vague notions of "Motorola's Six Sigma", "Probability Distribution", "Standard Deviation" and "Problem of Induction". One also has to beg the question of how you determined the sample size to be significant. Furthermore, there is always a chance that in the future, the sample will be turned on it's head (the discovery of a black swan, so to speak). Finally, the website you refer to is some dude's bad theological musings on an aspect of physics. It is not a theory but a bad hypothesis. It cannot be tested (and ironically, given your own fallacious stance on evidence, you should not be taking this hypothesis seriously).

  • Marianne - 2011-12-11 20:10

    Interesting article and exciting times! I've just finished reading the book about the Higgs Boson ( and am very curious to know if they have really found this particle!

  • pages:
  • 1