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'Higgs boson' discovery could mark new frontier in physics

Scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) believe they have found a Higgs boson-like particle, which could help explain how matter gets its mass.

Sinead Farrington

The discovery is major news in the physics world.

The announcement of the find was met with applause and cheers from physicists at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), where the LHC is based in Geneva.

University of Warwick physics lecturer Dr Sinead Farrington, who has been researching the Higgs boson particle said:

The latest LHC results indicate the observation of a new particle which is very exciting news whatever the particle turns out to be.

This is a great achievement of experimental particle physics, enabled by the Large Hadron Collider and the ATLAS and CMS experiments which comprise thousands of physicists searching in the data for new phenomena.

Warwick physicists collaborate in the ATLAS experiment where we are working on the search for the Higgs boson decaying to tau particles.

From what we can tell so far the new particle is certainly compatible with a Higgs boson but careful studies of how the particle is produced and decays will reveal whether this is the case.

It may be that this particle is exactly the one that Peter Higgs and his collaborators predicted, the so-called Standard Model Higgs boson, or it may be from a more exotic theory such as Supersymmetry in which case there would be at least four more such particles to discover.

So there is plenty of work still to be done by all of us - this is just the beginning of uncovering this new phenomenon.

Daniel Scully

Particle physicist Daniel Scully, also from the University of Warwick, is excited by the potential of the find, which is a major step in solving a conundrum that has existed for four decades.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN collides particles together at energies higher then we've ever produced before, replicating conditions last seen seconds after the Big Bang. It's probing a new frontier of physics, looking where no one has seen before and we don't know what we will find.

Today's result is the first discovery from that new frontier, hopefully one of many, which will shed new light on how our Universe works.

If today's discovery is the Higgs boson as expected, it will complete our current theory of particle physics and culminate over 40 years of work since it was first proposed as a way of giving particles mass.

But don't worry, there are still many unanswered questions in physics, and so many new and fascinating phenomena to be found both at the LHC and beyond!

Read more on this story from Daniel Scully and other Warwick scientists on the Knowledge Centre.

See also

Daniel Scully on Twitter @discully

Related Knowledge Centre article

Official CERN website

More information on Warwick's Elementary Particle Physics Group

More information on Warwick's Department of Physics

For media queries or to talk to Daniel Scully please contact Internatioanl Press Officer Anna Blackaby