On December 13, 2011, physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) will announce their most recent findings regarding the Higgs Boson. Often referred to as the God Particle, the Higgs Boson is “the last elementary particle still unaccounted for in the Standard Model” of physics, and is assumed to give all other particles their mass.
Even if an earth-shattering discovery of the Higgs isn’t announced on Tuesday, the data may still narrow the search, and bring us that much closer to finally completing this subatomic puzzle.
But there’s an even more interesting question when it comes to the Higgs Boson: Does it want to be found?
Sabotage From The Future?
Leading up to the construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and during its subsequent false starts, there were a lot of theories floating around — proposed by actual physicists — that perhaps the Higgs Boson was evading discovery. How?
By time-traveling from the future and sabotaging any efforts to detect it in the past.
The evidence lined up: CERN’s LHC had originally been scheduled to begin operations in 2008, but was held back due to an electrical fault. Vacuum leaks were also detected the following year and, all told, the LHC was benched for about 14 months before finally beginning experiments at half energy in March 2010.
Also consider the fate of the Superconducting Super Collider, which would have been “the world’s largest and most energetic” particle accelerator, even more powerful than the LHC. Its construction was cancelled due to a lack of funding in 1993.
Today, while the LHC has moved beyond its initial hiccups, things still aren’t going perfectly.
Results From The Press Conference
Update 12/13/11 – During the conference on Tuesday, physicists shared their results. From the press release:
The main conclusion is that the Standard Model Higgs boson, if it exists, is most likely to have a mass constrained to the range 116-130 GeV by the ATLAS experiment, and 115-127 GeV by CMS. Tantalising hints have been seen by both experiments in this mass region, but these are not yet strong enough to claim a discovery.
The conference confirmed the standing rumor that they may have “glimpsed” the Higgs Boson, but not outright discovered it.