The first solid results are in from the Large Hadron Collider. And while the physicists say they haven’t yet found the Higgs Boson – the so-called God particle – they have found strong supporting data for its existence.
So far, they say, the results reaffirm the Standard Model of physics, which has has formed the basis of theoretical particle physics for more than 30 years.
The team examined over 200 million proton-proton collisions, looking for collisions that produced particles hundreds of times heavier than ordinary matter. Some theories predict the existence of such objects, known as ‘excited quarks’.
But if excited quarks were observed, it would turn the Standard Model on its head.
Finding no evidence of such particles, the team was able to exclude their existence below a mass of 1,290 GcV/c2 and so reconfirm allegiance to the Standard Model.
The next step is to find the elusive Higgs Boson itself. The particle is demanded by the Standard Model theory, and is the only such particule to remain undiscovered. Its existence would explain why all other known particles exhibit the mass they do and how all existing matter came to be.
The scientists are also hoping to find an explanation for the mysterious dark matter that dominates the universe.
“This means that we can discard a host of theoretical models,” says team member Pekka Sinervo of the University of Toronto. “Perhaps most importantly, it means that the LHC is now the discovery machine for the next decade.”
Rival physicists at the Tevatron particle collider in Chicago recently denied rumors that they had discovered the Higgs Boson.