Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Update: Higgs Boson and What it Means for Technology

(Washington Post) Scientists in Europe announced Tuesday morning that they have found evidence that the elusive “God particle,” the Higgs boson, actually exists.

The scientists have stopped short of claiming discovery, but in a press conference livestreamed from the European research institute CERN, they said that they’re getting close to finding it.

And what, exactly is it? According to Scientific American’s Kelly Oakes, the Higgs boson is the smallest part of the Higgs field, which physicists believe gives all matter the property of mass. Translated and oversimplified, that means that nothing would have weight without the Higgs field. For academics, finding the particle would complete a puzzle about the universe that’s been bugging them for decades.

What does Tuesday’s announcement mean for technology? Honestly, very little, said University of Maryland physics department chairman Drew Baden. It is “merely a look-see as to where the experiments are in looking for new particles, not seen since the first trillionth of a second after the big bang,” he said. (Read more)