Scientists discover ‘God particle,’ will announce this week

Jul 2, 2012

Just a little light, casual news fare for you this Monday morning: Scientists have proved the existence of a “God particle” that confirms the mathematical order of the universe and helps explain the nature of existence. No big whoop.

Scientists have been searching for the Higgs boson, or the “God particle,” for years, and embarked on a new series of tests last year using CERN’s Large Hadron Collider that they said would confirm or disconfirm the particle’s existence this year. AP reports that on Wednesday they’ll officially announce they’ve found proof it exists.

Just about. They haven’t actually observed it. According to the AP:

Instead, experts familiar with the research at CERN’s vast complex on the Swiss-French border say that the massive data they have obtained will essentially show the footprint of the key particle known as the Higgs boson — all but proving it exists — but doesn’t allow them to say it has actually been glimpsed.

AP goes on to note scientists compare their discovery to the fossilized imprint of dinosaur bones: “You see the footprints and the shadow of the object, but you don’t actually see it.”

It’s a momentous discovery with equally large philosophical implications. It’s called the “God particle” because its absence in our knowledge set left critical room for doubt: without it, scientific models from Newtonian physics to Relativity can’t quite explain basic questions, like why matter has mass. If scientists had proved it didn’t exist, we’d have to acknowledge that we don’t truly understand what makes the universe tick. And where you can’t understand, you find faith.

But scientists just made a big leap toward proving we’re not nuts—that the last few hundred years of scientific advancement were based on correct observations of how the universe actually works, and that we’re getting closer to understanding how it all began.

Last year Frank Wilczek, a Nobel laureate and physics professor at MIT, said finding the “God particle” would be “a vindication of the equations we’ve been using all these years.”

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