One of the most exciting scientific discoveries of the last year was the Higgs Boson particle, which confirmed the underlying theories of physics and our understanding of the universe. But some scientists actually hoped the Higgs Boson, sometimes called the "God particle," wouldn't be discovered. Finding the particle meant scientists' theories were more even more accurate than most people thought and left little room for hypothesis.
Briefly, the Higgs is an elementary particle predicted 50 years ago during the development of the standard model of particle physics. The standard model beautifully describes three of the four fundamental forces in nature and is one of the most remarkable theoretical constructions in the history of science. Specifically, the Higgs was predicted in order to provide a natural mechanism to explain what now appears to be an amazing cosmic accident: the fact that some particles have mass and others don't.
On The Daily Circuit Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, we'll discuss the future of physics with Maggie Koerth-Baker, science editor for Boing Boing, and Harvard University physics department chair Melissa Franklin.
"The Higgs was the final piece of the puzzle," Franklin said in the Harvard Gazette. "Now that we have identified a particle that appears to be the Higgs, we have a self-consistent Standard Model that should allow us to 'write down' the universe. There are some things that make us think this may not be the final theory -- it doesn't include gravity, for one -- but this is an incredibly good description of the universe."
READ MORE ABOUT THE GOD PARTICLE:
The Higgs Boson hangover (Slate)
How the discovery of the Higgs Boson could break physics (Wired)
American physics dreams deferred (New York Times)
Higgs boson discovery may signal the world's last physics experiment (National Post)