If you hang out with any physicists, you may have noticed them seeming anxious, distracted, or excitable recently. That’s because scientists are narrowing in on the Higgs boson, a subatomic building block that’s so important it’s also called the “God particle.” It’s been theorized for years, but never definitively been “found.”
Enter the Large Hadron Collider, that terrifying science experiment where trillions of protons are being run through the world’s largest high-energy particle accelerator (and that some people worried would create a black hole that would kill us all instantly — nice to know that that part didn’t work out). So what happens if the Higgs boson is found? Oh, it’d just “answer fundamental questions about the nature of existence,” that’s all.
Teams of researchers from both Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland are helping crunch data, and some of that data seems to indicate that the Higgs boson has been sighted, or found, or proven, or something. (Check out a more thorough explanation here.) The physicists are so excited they’re watching live broadcasts of experimental results. The tension in the air is palpable.
And although the scientists are all atwitter, it’s still all very preliminary — but watch out for next year, when even more (and even more definitive) conclusions will happen.