The mystery of the origin of matter seems to have been solved. At the middle of last week, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, announced the discovery of a new particle that could be the long sought-after Higgs boson. The particle has a mass of about 126 gigaelectron volts (GeV), roughly that of 126 protons.
The image shows a collision recorded by the ATLAS detector on June 10, 2012 during which a Higgs particle was generated with a high level of probability. This boson immediately decayed to form other elementary particles (muons, represented by red lines). Ill./©: JGU
"Almost half a century has passed since the existence of the Higgs boson was first postulated and now it seems that we at last have the evidence we have been looking for. What we have found perfectly fits the predicted parameters of the Higgs boson," says Professor Dr. Volker Büscher of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU).The Higgs boson is important to our current fundamental theory of physics as it explains why the elementary building blocks of matter have a mass at all. Initial indications that the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) were going to lead to a breakthrough were documented in December 2011. "We have since corroborated the recorded signal, and the new data demonstrate with a high level of significance the presence of a Higgs-like particle in the region we expected," explains Büscher.
The data analyzed by the ATLAS detector, to which the Experimental Particle and Astroparticle Physics (ETAP) working group in Mainz made a significant contribution, found an excess of Higgs-like particles in all of the final states studied. "The rapid and yet careful analysis of the new data required a strong commitment over the recent weeks and months, and so we are especially proud to be able to announce such an exciting finding," says Dr. Christian Schmitt of the ETAP working group.
At the same time, the second large particle detector of the LHC, the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), recorded events consistent with those of ATLAS and which matched precisely the footprint of the postulated Higgs boson. "We have been working towards this moment for years and are amazed that the LHC and its experiments have produced such results in only two and a half years after the first proton-proton collision," states Professor Dr. Stefan Tapprogge of the ETAP working group.
The existence of the Higgs boson was predicted in 1964 and it is named after the British physicist Peter Higgs. It is the last piece of the puzzle that has been missing from the Standard Model of physics and its function is to give other elementary particles their mass. According to the theory, the so-called Higgs field extends throughout the entire universe. The mass of individual elementary particles is determined by the extent to which they interact with the Higgs bosons. "The discovery of the Higgs boson represents a milestone in the exploration of the fundamental interactions of elementary particles," states Professor Dr. Matthias Neubert, Professor for Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics and spokesman for the Cluster of Excellence PRISMA at JGU.
On the one hand, the Higgs particle is the last component missing from the Standard Model of particle physics. On the other hand, physicists are struggling to understand the detected mass of the Higgs boson. "Using our theory as it currently stands, the mass of the Higgs boson can only be explained as the result of a random fine-tuning of the physical constants of the universe at a level of accuracy of one in one quadrillion," explains Neubert.
Thus, physicists hope that the "new physics" will provide a more straightforward explanation for the characteristics of the Higgs boson than that derived from the current Standard Model. This new physics is sorely needed to find solutions to a series of yet unresolved problems, as presently only the visible universe is explained, which constitutes just four percent of total matter. "The Standard Model has no explanation for the so-called dark matter, so it does not describe the entire universe – there is a lot that remains to be understood," Büscher summarizes.
The work of the Mainz physicists is integrated in the Cluster of Excellence "Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter" (PRISMA), which achieved an impressive success in this year’s Excellence Initiative by the German federal and state governments.Weitere Informationen:
http://www.uni-mainz.de/magazin/98_ENG_HTML.php - JGU MAGAZINE: "Higgs boson electrifies Mainz physicists" (27 Dec. 2011)
Petra Giegerich | idw
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy