Tag: higgs boson

Johns Hopkins Scientists Didn’t Win Nobel, But They Know Some Guys Who Did

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So the actual recipients of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics — the ones who get to get up on stage and shake the King of Sweden’s hand and collect that big check — are Francois Englert of the  Université Libre de Bruxelles and Peter Higgs of the University of Edinburgh. But that doesn’t mean that Johns Hopkins scientists don’t get at least a little credit for the discovery that snagged Englert and Higgs their prize; call it a partial Nobel, perhaps.

The Higgs boson Is Confirmed (Again)! Who Wants to Throw a Theme Party?

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This image of a particle collision from CERN should give you some  costume inspiration.
This image of a particle collision from CERN should give you some costume inspiration.

How embarrassing:  I threw my Higgs boson party last year, when physicists (including a number of Johns Hopkinites) determined that the so-called “God particle” existed. But apparently I was way too early. This week, CERN finally announced a “tentative confirmation” of the particle in question. In scientist-speak, that counts as extreme enthusiasm. So now we can throw a party.

What is This “God Particle,” Anyway?

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So the Higgs boson (probably) exists. But, um, what does that mean exactly? When talk at your weekend barbecues turns to the God Particle, you could always mutter something about dark matter before escaping to get some more cole slaw — or you could listen to Johns Hopkins physicist David Kaplan‘s seven-minute nutshell explanation of particle physics’ newest family member below the jump, and have at least three smart things to say to impress your friends and neighbors.

Local Physicists Help Find the Answer to, Oh, Everything

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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.

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