Science!: Higgs Bosons and Romance

Lauren Admire | 21 Jun 2010 17:00

Scientists have been searching for the elusive "god particle" - a particle believed to be responsible for all of the mass in the world. The LHC smashes subatomic particles together in hopes of creating the theoretical Higgs boson, which is thought to be the prime candidate for the god particle. But new theories have surfaced indicating that the "god particle" may not be just one particle, but five.

During an experiment dubbed "Dzero" at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, researchers found that collisions of protons and antiprotons were more likely to create matter, instead of anti-matter. The Standard Model, which is based on the existence of a single Higgs boson particle, can't explain the results. The Standard model assumes a little bit of asymmetry in the creation of matter to antimatter, but the ratio of matter to antimatter in Dzero is too significant to be explained without the inclusion of additional Higgs bosons. The additional Higgs bosons would have different charges; three with a neutral charge, one with a negative charge, and the other with a positive electric charge.

"It's a really small effect, but it's still much bigger than if you turn all the cranks with all the original rules in the standard model," Adam Martin, a theoretical physicist at Fermilab said. "The standard model with just the one Higgs particle is too minimal to explain the Dzero result."

However, if they alter the standard model to account for five particles, the Fermilab results make sense.

Though he deemed the discovery "quite provocative," Chris Quigg, another physicist at Fermilab stressed that the results were still preliminary.

"I know of nothing to make me explicitly doubt the result, but when something is so unexpected and yet so subtle it bears taking time and taking a deep breath. It's important not to jump up and down too soon about this," explain Quigg.

Further tests at the LHC are required in order to determine if there are multiple Higgs boson particles.

Source: National Geographic

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