UCSD Professor Leads Search for Famed “God Particle”

The Higgs Boson, if it exists, would be an elementary particle responsible for mass in the universe. 

Scientists announced potential glimpses of the elementary particle during a special seminar at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in mid-December.

“I think we are getting very close,” UCSD physicist and professor Vivek Sharma said in a Dec. 13 msnbc.com article. “We may be getting the first tantalizing hints, but it’s a whiff, it’s a smell, it’s not quite the whole thing.”

Sharma leads a team of 600 scientists from Europe, India, Korea, Brazil and the U.S. at CERN. 

The scientists used the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest high-energy particle accelerator. 

An energy particle accelerator creates a stable acceleration at constant orbital radius in an annual magnetic field.

CERN runs the 17-mile loop buried under Switzerland and France. 

Particles in the LHC travel near the speed of the light and release large amounts of energy created from collision explosions. 

The energy released combines into new particles, which sometimes include species like the Higgs.

In the past two years, the scientists have used the Large Hadron Collider to smash over 500 trillion protons. 

They recorded the findings with a camera capable of capturing 80 million pixels and 1 billion frames per second in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Higgs.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher Sau Lan Wu said the universe would have formed very differently if Higgs Boson was nonexistent. 

Scientists believe that the Higgs Boson is the reason there is mass.

“It is through the interaction with the Higgs Boson that elementary particles acquire their masses,” Wu said. “Therefore, without the Higgs Boson, quarks would be massless, with the consequence that there are no protons, no neutrons, no atoms, no molecules, no bulk matter and of course no humans, no planets, etc. In other words, without the Higgs Boson, the world would be entirely different.”  

English theoretical physicist and professor emeritus Peter Higgs at the University of Edinburgh theorized in the 1960s that a field exists throughout the universe the same way that we experience magnetic fields and gravitational fields. 

However, the Higgs Field cannot be turned off the way an electromagnetic field can. Scientists adapted this theory and now refer to it as the Higgs Field. 

Sharma said if the particle does not exist it will shake the foundations of science because we will have to start from scratch in trying to find the answer of where mass comes from. 

“It will be chaos,” Sharma said. “But science thrives in chaos.”