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Higgs Boson: Missing link in theory of universe discovered?

Monumental discovery of ‘missing link’ in the theory of Universe will only raise more questions, say UAE scientists

  • By Faisal Masudi
, Staff reporter, XPRESS
  • Published: 00:00 July 5, 2012
  • XPRESS

  • Image Credit:
  • Hadron Collider facility: An undated picture of Professor Salah Nasri outside the Large Hadron Collider facility in Switzerland where the Higgs particle has apparently been discovered
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DUBAI: The claimed discovery on Wednesday of what could be the elusive “God particle” will raise as many questions as it answers about the mysteries of universe, UAE scientists said.

Researchers in Switzerland on Wednesday said they have discovered a particle consistent with the Higgs Boson, dubbed the God particle because of its unique properties that could explain why matter has mass.

Scientists have been hunting for it since the 1960s after British physicist Peter Higgs and others proposed matter has mass because of an energy field and particle system which came to be known as Higgs.

Now, the Swiss-based researchers say they have detected data signals in experiments that show such a system exists.

The idea is that matter — essentially a soup of different particles — gains mass as it passes through the Higgs field and Higgs particles crowd around it. The more Higgs particles they attract, the more mass they have.

The Higgs field, meanwhile, is thought to permeate all corners of the universe.

So, what in turn creates Higgs?

“That’s the big open question today — and no one knows the answer to that,” said Salah Nasri, a physics professor at the UAE University.

“This announcement about Higgs is a monumental discovery, it will change physics. The origin of mass is, in a way, closely linked to the origin of the universe.

“But matter is only a small part of the universe, there’s dark matter and dark energy about which we know very little.”

He added even newer particles or phenomena are expected to follow the discovery as scientists now start to probe how Higgs — if indeed that is what has been discovered — decays or changes with time.

“They’re really trying to pin it down… This is not the end, it’ll only point us to look beyond,” Nasri said.

Higgs was believed to be the “missing link” in the Standard Model theory of how the universe works which has held up for decades. But its claimed discovery appears to be only the beginning of a new science, said Nidhal Guessoum, Professor and Interim Head — Physics, American University of Sharjah.

It’s too early to say how the discovery will lead to solutions or new technologies to address problems like pollution or growing energy needs, experts said.

“The discovery of the Higgs Boson will not help society in any direct way, but then again when Einstein came up with his relativity theory a century ago, no one — not even he — could think of any applications for them,” Guesssoum said.

“Now, physics and the rest of our technological world couldn’t possibly exist without that.”

The discovery follows sifting through the wreckage of countless sub-atomic particle collisions in the Large Hadron Collider under the Alps mountain range in a years-long experiment of Cern (European Organization for Nuclear Research) to find evidence of Higgs.

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