Higgs boson virtually discovered

This is one of the cases where the circumstantial evidence is overwhelmingly convincing – the gun has smoke and fingerprints, we saw the murderer buy it, we saw him take it with him, we know he was at the scene, and we know he wanted to pull the trigger, but we didn’t actually see him fire the gun:

To the layman, the Higgs boson is the “God particle” and a key puzzle piece in the scientific explanation of the origin of the universe. Physicists around the globe—and perhaps elsewhere, given the size of the universe—have invested billions of dollars in research and have been hunting for the Higgs boson for decades.

Researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (or CERN) are expected to announce Wednesday that they have proof of its existence, reports The Associated Press.

The Higgs boson appeared 13.7 billion years ago in the chaos of the Big Bang and turned the flying debris into galaxies, stars and planets.

Its formal discovery, according to a broad scientific consensus, would be the greatest advance in knowledge of the universe in decades and a key to confirming the standard model of physics that explains what gives mass to matter and, by extension, how the universe was formed, according to the AP…

[S]cientists are in a bit of a quagmire, according to the AP. While they appear to have enough evidence to report the existence of the “God particle,” they still hedge on whether to report “a discovery.” It’s a fine line, indeed, but one that scientists will likely continue to debate.

“I agree that any reasonable outside observer would say, ‘It looks like a discovery,'” British theoretical physicist John Ellis, a professor at King’s College London who has worked at CERN since the 1970s, told The Associated Press. “We’ve discovered something which is consistent with being a Higgs.”

I’m actually not sure if my analogy does all this justice. They may be closer than any layman really knows. And since my whole thing is biology, I’m not going to bother trying to dissect it all. I will, however, be ready to post whatever great explanations I do find on this. (I’m look at you, Ethan Siegel.)

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Starts With A Bang

Starts With A Bang is yet another great offering from Scienceblogs.com. Its author’s posts are always excellent and easily worth my time. (That author being Ethan Siegel, by the way.) I added the link to my blogroll last week and that turned out to be a very good decision. I’ve been going to his site more frequently as a result and learning quite a bit in a short period of time. Definitely check it out.