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|2012-07-04 - Weird News|
CERN scientists studying if new subatomic particle produces mass
-- Fourth Estate Cooperative Staff
Geneva, Switzerland (4E) - Physicists at the CERN nuclear research facility in Switzerland are verifying data on a new subatomic particle observed in two independent experiments using the world's largest atom smasher if it is the so-called Higgs boson that gives matter its mass.
Joe Incandela, spokesman for one of two teams of scientists that performed the CMS or Compact Muon Solenoid experiment in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on the Franco-Swiss border, told colleagues in a press conference Wednesday that the new particle observed by smashing protons at high speed on the LHC was the boson predicted in the Standard Model, a widely accepted theory on how particles and forces interact in the universe.
Incandela, however, said further data analysis is being done to make sure that there is less than 1 percent chance that their finding is wrong. Cross-checking is also being done to confirm the specific properties that the Higgs boson is supposed to have as predicted in the Standard Model, like a spin of zero.
Fabiola Gianotti, leader of the other experiment called ATLAS or A Toroidal LHC Apparatus, said the Higgs boson his team observed had a certainty level of five-sigma, meaning they are 99.99 percent sure.
The CERN scientists will complete their analysis by the end of the month.
The Higgs boson, also called God particle, was predicted by British particle physicist Peter Higgs in the mid-1960s. Its existence, if proven, would help explain how particles obtain mass and why some objects in the universe, like the quark, have mass while others, like light, have energy.
"The Higgs boson is the last missing piece of our current understanding of the most fundamental nature of the universe," Martin Archer, a physicist at Imperial College in London, told CNN.
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