Is There Another Higgs Boson Out There?

Posted July 16th, 2012 at 7:27 pm (UTC+0)

Dr. Pierre Savard (Photo: University of Toronto)

Dr. Pierre Savard (Photo: University of Toronto)

Tired, and rushing to meet a looming deadline,  Dr. Pierre Savard and his colleagues didn’t realize what they’d found when they first came across a particle that looked a lot like the long-sought-after Higgs boson.  But it didn’t take long for them to realize their hard work had paid off.

“When we looked at it, we kind of saw it,” Savard says. “It was unbelievable.”

The University of Toronto  professor belongs to ATLAS, one of two teams tasked with finding whether the mystery subatomic particle – which is believed to give all objects mass ­- actually exists.

The team’s excitement about finding the new particle grew when it discovered the second team, CMS, had found virtually the same thing.

“It’s a big thing.  Essentially, it’s as if we discovered a new fundamental force of nature,” Savard says. “So we know about, for instance, electromagnetism, electricity and magnetism. We know about gravity… but now we’ve found something new and it also plays a key role in our current theory for how we understand how matter interacts with particles and forces. It’s a big deal.”

The ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider (Photo: CERN)

The ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider (Photo: CERN)

Despite helping to find the most sought-after particle in modern science, Savard actually hopes the new discovery is not the Higgs boson.

“Many of us are hoping that it’s not exactly the particle that’s predicted by our theory, that it may be something close,” he says.

Since problems have been found with their current theory, if the mystery particle doesn’t turn out to be Higgs boson, Savard hopes the new particle  offers  hints as to “what’s out there.”

“The ‘Standard Model’ of particle physics explains a lot, but there’s a lot that it does not explain,”  Savard says.

Some  suggest there might be more than one Higgs boson and that the same theories contained within the Standard Model, could also  explain dark matter or dark matter particles.

Dark matter particles are a type of matter which cannot be seen directly but are believed to make up a great part of the total mass in the universe.

Physicist Peter Higgs arrives at a seminar at CERN where it was announced that a new subatomic particle, said be consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson, had been discovered. (Photo: AP Photo/Denis Balibouse, Pool)

Physicist Peter Higgs arrives at a seminar, July 4, at CERN where it was announced that a new subatomic particle, said be consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson, had been discovered. (Photo: AP Photo/Denis Balibouse, Pool)

Even if the find is the Higgs boson, “there are still some big questions out there,” says Dr. Savard.

One problem Savard sees with the Standard Model is that it doesn’t explain the asymmetry between matter and antimatter.

“In our colliders, we produce essentially equal amounts of matter and antimatter but the universe is made up matter and the Standard Model really doesn’t explain why there’s such an asymmetry,” he says.

He’d  also like to see more research devoted to exploring dark matter, which he says is “probably carried by a particle that we don’t’ know about.”

With the mysteries of matter, antimatter and dark matter lurking, Savard says  the Standard Model explains only about a fraction of the universe. That’s why he hopes  new phenomena will be found with the LHC – the world’s largest atom smasher – which would help unlock these many mysteries of the universe.

New boson discovered at CERN 07/04/12 – (Video © 2012 CERN)

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5 Responses to “Is There Another Higgs Boson Out There?”

  1. Seo says:

    Yes, maybe we’ll get even more than we bargained for. Imagine we find out about another particle that explains dark energy! Exciting times in particle physics.

  2. Philip de Louraille says:

    Boson, not bosun (used twice.)

  3. Field says:

    Wake up! What you guys think you discovered is not the final say in the story of physics. You may be hoping that it will lead you in new directions but I’m here to lay it to you point blank and abruptly. It won’t! You all are wasting huge amounts of money and it’s time to stop. I am telling you this in advance of you finding out yourself. Eventually what you all will decide you need to do is build a bigger sledgehammer. Don’t do it! Once you build a bigger one, you will find you need a bigger one, and a bigger one, and a bigger one. You are wasting so much money. The experiments you are doing are ridiculously wasteful and inefficient. You are wasting so much time and energy. I already discovered the Theory of Everything. That’s all there is to it. I beat you to the punch. You will never find out what I found out with your million dollar experiment. You are wasting your time. Now you know the truth.

  4. Field says:

    You all are wasting your time. You will never find what you are looking for with your clumsy experiment. You all are wasting your time.

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