Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Nigerian web users call for end to violence

Read more

FOCUS

Bitcoin in the US: A monetary revolution?

Read more

ENCORE!

Fast cars and slow trains

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

FACE-OFF

François Hollande: France's most unpopular president

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Mansouria Mokhefi, Middle East and North Africa specialist

Read more

LIFESTYLES

Sustainable cuisine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Google Was Making A Space Elevator And A Hoverboard, But Couldn't Get Them To Work

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bitter pill to swallow

Read more

  • Wheelchair-bound Bouteflika votes in Algerian election

    Read more

  • Films by four French directors short-listed for Cannes' top prize

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • Frantic search for survivors of sunken South Korea ferry

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

Earth

‘If this is the Higgs boson, the quest is over’

©

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by Sébastian SEIBT

Latest update : 2012-07-05

The European Organization for Nuclear Research has never been as close to discovering the long-sought Higgs boson, or so-called "God Particle". A major page in the history of science could soon be turned.

The quest for physics’ holy grail may be nearing its end after more than twenty years of research. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced Wednesday that it had identified a new subatomic particle, or boson, that is “consistent” with the Higgs boson, the so-called “God Particle”.

However, CERN scientists stopped short of claiming they discovered the much sought-after boson.

Instead they explained they had either isolated the Higgs boson, the missing link in the standard model of particle physics that explains the structure of the universe, or a completely unknown particle.

CERN - a research centre that stradles the French-Swiss border and is home to the world’s largest atom smasher – announced it would conduct further experiments to refine results.

But in both scenarios, a scientific milestone has been reached, physicist Anne-Isabelle Etienvre told FRANCE 24 on Wednesday. Etienvre, who works at ATLAS, one of the two particle detectors involved in the discovery, explained its implications.

FRANCE 24: Can you please summarize what the CERN announced Wednesday?

Anne-Isabelle Etienvre: We can now say, with a margin of error smaller than one in one million, that a new particle was discovered. It is consistent with what we know, in theory, about the Higgs boson. Two independent experiments conducted at CERN have shown the same excess mass that allows us to reach this conclusion.

F24: So did you pop the champagne bottles to celebrate the discovery of the Higgs boson?

Etienvre: Let’s just say they are chilling for now, and not far from reach. In fact, either this is the Higgs boson, or it’s one that is consistent with other theories that go beyond the standard model, such as supersymmetry theory [that states that each boson has a supersymmetrical partner]. We must now further reduce the margin of error to be able to say if this is indeed the Higgs boson.

F24: So this is not the famous missing link in standard model of particle physics?

Etienvre: Yes and no. We have isolated a particle that helps explain why other particles have mass. In this sense, the chain is now closed in the standard model. Except that in the standard theory, this link is called the Higgs boson, and today I cannot tell you with absolute certainty we discovered the Higgs boson. If it’s a different particle, it opens completely new perspectives.

F24: You seem almost hopeful that this is not the Higgs boson?

Etienvre: You could say that. Finding the Higgs boson would of course be a major discovery that we could rightly be proud of. But then the quest would be over. Its discovery validates once and for all the standard model. If, however, it is another particle, it allows us to explore new avenues, to conduct years of new research to understand its implications.

F24: Does this discovery have practical implications?

Etienvre: This is above all a leap forward in pure research. Sure, it has no direct practical application, but it helps us understanding the infinitely small, as well as the structure of life, and even the origin of the universe. That’s nothing to sneeze at!

Date created : 2012-07-04

  • Earth

    Scientists reveal findings on 'God particle'

    Read more

  • SCIENCE

    Clues to 'God particle' discovered

    Read more

  • SCIENCE

    CERN centre begins colliding particles for mini 'Big Bang'

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)