The beginning of the universe revealed

The discovery of this particle is an important step to understanding how the universe works.

The beginning of the universe revealed, Melbourne, Geneva, Melbourne Convention Centre, History of modern science, Standard Model, particle physics, Higgs boson, Australia, god particile

On Wednesday evening in Melbourne, physicists from around the world packed the Melbourne Convention Centre, while hundreds also gathered in Geneva. They were there to witness one of the most significant announcements in the history of modern science: a new particle had been discovered, with properties appearing consistent with the long sought Higgs boson predicted by the ‘Standard Model’ of particle physics. The announcement was made to sustained applause from some of the world’s greatest minds. In Geneva, retired British physicist, Peter Higgs, now 83, said “it is just an incredible thing that it [the discovery] happened in my lifetime”. Higgs first postulated the existence of the particle in the 1960s.

In recent years, modern technology finally made it possible to replicate the conditions just seconds after the Big Bang. At a cost of almost $10 billion, and running for 27 km underground, the Large Hadron Collider was built 100 m below the Swiss-French border. The world’s biggest particle accelerator collides billions of particles at fantastically high speed within a vacuum, with scientists observing and analysing the results.

What exactly is the Higgs boson? Standard Model theory describes a relatively large subatomic particle which provides the interaction by which all other particles acquire mass. Without mass, particles wouldn’t even form into atoms, let alone planets or galaxies. Scientists believe that for a tiny moment after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, particles had no mass, but almost instantaneously acquired it due to the invisible Higgs energy field, which has been described as a ‘cosmic molasses’. The discovery of this particle is an important step to understanding how the universe works.

And what does it actually mean for us? At this stage, it could mean anything. Just as when electricity was first discovered people asked what use it was, the Higgs Field has potential at which we can only guess. The way humans have learned to manipulate the electromagnetic field to utterly transform our way of life, hints at the potential importance of proving the existence of an energy field previously only theorised about.

Comment - Higgs boson: does anyone really care?

If you are strongly religious or a total scientific nerd, please do not read on. I know I am about to offend you. And probably many others. The scientific appreciation section of my brain simply doesn’t exist. And I know this is my failing, but as I saw the news about the Higgs boson filtering through, my eyes glazed over and I turned to the sports section. This is an appalling admission of guilt. As described above, this is one of the biggest ‘finds’ in the scientific world, and apparently, this ‘cosmic molasses’ may change everything about the way we understand our universe. It may also challenge those whose religious beliefs assert that (their) God created the universe. So this scientific discovery has potentially huge ramifications.

But as I said, I do not have a great appreciation of the Big Bang theory or much of what followed. And I do not believe in a God of creation. What I do believe in is working hard to ensure the improvement of conditions for the vast proportion of humans who, for the ‘have not’ sector of our society, whether they are marginalised by economic circumstance, lack of opportunity, age or disability. So in my world, this much applauded discovery will pass by, barely noticed. I am much more interested in the here and now and what we can do to help those in need.

Follow Kaye on Twitter: @Kaye_YLC

Does this discovery really matter?
Yes
No
 




    COMMENTS

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    6th Jul 2012
    12:37pm
    When Albert Einstein postulated the special theory of realitivity, most people including many scientists considered it a curiousity of no practical application. Yet without it GPS would not exist. Quantum physics is an area of research most would consider irrelevant but thanks to this research with have smaller mobile phones, smaller faster computers, faster more reliable comunications etc.
    Who knows what this discovery will lead to.
    workingoldie
    6th Jul 2012
    12:46pm
    Looking at the world today I really question whether or not computers ,mobile phones etc have done us any good - to a certain extent they have destroyed family life and a lot of the gentler pursuits are no more or going out - eg writing letters by hand, sewing,knitting,reading books ,painting etc etc
    aquatrek
    7th Jul 2012
    10:13pm
    Would you say the same about cars and planes ? At the turn of the 1900 horses were the norm - thousands and thousands of them in Oz. They have disappeared from the streets totally. Historical events abound - i.e. smelting metals - all altering societies forever. Yet human societies are adaptable and change to suit - the main issue with electronics is the high rate of change.
    workingoldie
    6th Jul 2012
    12:41pm
    I believe I am of slightly above average intelligence but I have not a clue what the fantastic significance of this is , nor have many millions of others around the world as we know it.Maybe if they spoke in language we all understood we might have more interest but as it stands we can only take their word for it and tell them all what a clever discovery it is ! As far as I can see it does not tell us how we all began or if there are other lifeforms out there -much more interesting .The money spent on this would have been far better spent on helping the here and now.
    Michael
    6th Jul 2012
    4:20pm
    Even people slightly above average intelligence would surely 'clue' themselves up on matters such as this, possibly you should go back to your sewing and knitting!
    jarraby
    6th Jul 2012
    12:50pm
    I disagree with you, Kaye, as strongly as I possibly can. This is a tremendously exciting discovery which should lead to a much greater understanding of the world, past present and future.

    It doesn't however, impact at all on the "here and now and what we can do to help those in need", The only thing that will change that is the discovery of an "anti-apathy" particle.

    I do, however, have a confession of my own to make - I was born without a "sports bone" (similar to a funny bone), that is, I have little or no interest in most sport. That's an offence punishable by death, I realise, but it probably explains my interest in things scientific.
    Multidisab
    6th Jul 2012
    12:50pm
    All my life I have been interested in physics - I gained a 100% exam grade.
    In the sixties it was all about DNA and RNA interactions.
    Today it is about the 'magic field' that forces/causes atoms to form.
    It is indescribably important and beautiful IF I can trust the picture.
    So much is possible today in graphics, that this image seems to be an artist
    Impression.

    Yet, before gravity existed, there must have been something to set it off.
    And now we know, if this news release is true and real.

    God is everything we love, whether it is football or 'something out there'
    or something within each person where many know - Light is - which brings
    change when love is lacking.

    I am not sure that photons have mass,
    I am not a qualified physicist.
    Atoms switch on and off, at their own frequency,
    become smaller over time (long range)
    and eventually disintegrate.
    That makes atoms a temporal particle.
    The Higgs Bosun gives me the new insight that the universe cannot die.
    It will revive through forming new galaxies.

    I am so glad that the huge investvent in all of our long-term future
    is making a difference, and I hope for multiple on multiple generations to come.
    Smee
    6th Jul 2012
    1:10pm
    Will this discovery rid us of Gillard? Sorry, out of context. Seriously though, I wasn't here when it started and I just hope I'm not here when it ends.
    41Alpha
    7th Jul 2012
    7:34pm
    Ha, ha I enjoyed that. Unfortunately only our vote will rid us of her.
    Only 18 months to go.
    talofa
    6th Jul 2012
    1:29pm
    how sad that so many people are only interested in science when they
    can something out of it...this is very ..very intersting to me much more
    than sport or who kills who or the silly antics of most of our polititicans ...at last some beautiful .news. talofa
    textappa
    6th Jul 2012
    1:45pm
    I wouldn't worry about offending creationists Kaye - it's a blood sport in rational circles.

    And why would they be upset - just possible the Higgs boson IS god revealing his/her/it's cards. LOL
    Multidisab
    6th Jul 2012
    2:04pm
    What we cannot see we cannot define and therefore must believe, either, or.
    Maybe this is the rule: either, or, OR both!
    Thanks textpappa, may I say:
    I love this open-mindedness, given in so few words! :)
    And I need to remember that the boson is not a bosun, ok?
    textappa
    7th Jul 2012
    10:41am
    Thanks Multi xxx :-))

    6th Jul 2012
    2:42pm
    Have you ever had a CAT scan or MRI with out computers these would not exist. With out hispeed comunications medical collabration would be slower. In truth I think TV has done more to divert people from family and the "gentler pursuits".
    As for mobile phones I do not own one as I have no need for one. This I think is the trick to modern life adopt the tech you need and the rest well it's all a matter of personal choice. If you don't want , don't use it.
    Technology does not stop us writing letters by hand, sewing,knitting,reading books ,painting etc. It just gives us more options, more choices.
    Research creates understanding. Understand feeds invention. Invention gives choice.
    As for discovering where we all began this is one small step in that process in that process.If we know more about what the universe is made of we have more chance of understanding how it came to be.
    The Higgs boson is believed to give things mass if it were possible to access these particles directly we may end up with an unlimited safe energy source (E=MCC?) or we may be able to reduce an objects mass while keeping its other properties the same; leading to truly light weight materials. Both of which would be really handy in exploring the universe may be finding out what and possibly who is out there.


    No one knows what this disovery will lead to. Who would have thought studying mold would lead to antibiotics but it did.

    Thats the problem with research you don't know the answer till you ask the question. Some answers just create more questions others lead to advances. You never know which.
    HalloWeenQueen
    6th Jul 2012
    3:22pm
    Thank you Rat: firstly, I had the need for an MRI recently as I had a stroke and believe me when I say, that most of us would be worse off with out these fantastic machines. Secondly, I was raised a Catholic Christian, but my believe has been severely shaken by the priests in my religion and by the harrowing tactics used by the Muslims and the Jewish people who all claim to be doing their horrible deeds in the name of 'religion', and thirdly, of course we need to worry about the here and now, but how many of you volunteer of give up a portion of 'your' money for the poor???
    JJ
    6th Jul 2012
    3:31pm
    I listened to Dr Karl on Conversations about a week ago, and he was talking about the Big Bang and the origin of the universe. He made mention of the Higgs boson particle, and this was before the announcement of it's discovery. I also watched the series on ABC TV about the origin of the universe presented by Professor Brian Cox. Despite the enthusiasm with which both men presented their subject, and their use of simple terminology, I remain pretty much in the dark about it all - lol! The questions about the universe and it's size, origins and physics has fascinated and frustrated me since I was a child, but I have to accept the fact that I will never know any of the answers. I don't believe that our brains are large enough to be capable of comprehending any but the smallest part of the universe - it's all just too big.
    seth
    6th Jul 2012
    3:32pm
    We all have the right to believe or disbelieve, as we may, in Creation.
    if the "God's Stone' exists, where did it come from?
    It may even be another part of creation, Who knows???
    Aloysius
    6th Jul 2012
    4:01pm
    I don't believe this discovery either proves or disproves the existence of God. The true God of creation could use any method he likes to create the Universe. Science has yet to address the unknown dimensions in which supernatural events occur.
    Multidisab
    6th Jul 2012
    4:36pm
    The picture - photo or otherwise - looks to me like a miniature universe.
    From schools I had the insight as a child - the same as the continents are like a jig saw puzzle with some pieces forced into place - that there is a relationship between the tiniest of particles and the huge particles we call the universe.
    In my sense of thinking, we are still at the beginning of great learning and means to bring that learning into practical application.
    I just hope it won't be too profit-only oriented...

    6th Jul 2012
    4:06pm
    "The time has come," the Walrus said,
    "To talk of many things:
    Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
    Of cabbages—and kings—
    And why the sea is boiling hot—
    And whether pigs have wings."

    —Through the Looking-Glass (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
    jarraby
    6th Jul 2012
    4:32pm
    Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

    6th Jul 2012
    5:08pm
    "don't give yourself airs!
    Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
    Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!"
    textappa
    6th Jul 2012
    5:16pm
    The continent of Atlantis was an island which lay before the great flood
    in the area we now call the Atlantic Ocean.
    So great an area of land, that from her western shores
    those beautiful sailors journeyed to the South and the North Americas with ease,
    in their ships with painted sails.
    To the East Africa was a neighbour, across a short strait of sea miles.
    The great Egyptian age is but a remnant of The Atlantian culture.
    The antediluvian kings colonised the world
    All the Gods who play in the mythological dramas
    In all legends from all lands were from fair Atlantis.
    Knowing her fate, Atlantis sent out ships to all corners of the Earth.
    On board were the Twelve:
    The poet, the physician, the farmer, the scientist,
    The magician and the other so-called Gods of our legends.
    Though Gods they were -
    And as the elders of our time choose to remain blind
    Let us rejoice and let us sing and dance and ring in the new

    "Atlantis" - Donovan Leitch

    6th Jul 2012
    6:09pm
    Strange nobody twiged to the connection between Lewis Carroll and the Higgs Boson. In spite of my using his correct name.
    textappa
    6th Jul 2012
    6:38pm
    Soooo Ratty.......does Carroll's real name contain a secret message, a codex, an anagram or summit.
    The best I could do is :- 'HEARD CULT SOWS GOD GIDE'
    Is there a prize ? how do I confirm and collect ?

    6th Jul 2012
    7:38pm
    textappa no prizes, secret messages etc
    just a couple of interesting if a little obscure connections.
    Dodgson wasn't just an author and the first quote appears in a rather unexpected place.
    Ill give it a few days may be someone will get it .
    Boof
    6th Jul 2012
    4:19pm
    JJ. Higgs Boson has been around for a long time, but it hasn't been proved, until now. It was a theory. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think the reason they couldn't prove it, was that it has no mass. I haven't read the proof, as yet, but would like to, so I'm not sure how they actually proved it to be so.
    Porthos
    7th Jul 2012
    10:10am
    The reason it was so elusive is that it is a fleeting particle that only existed for a fraction of a second after the big bang. It is detected not by "seeing" the particle itself but by measuring the particles it decays into. Once it had existed then it created the concept of mass: but, it's not needed anymore which is why the scientists had to re-create the conditions of the Big Bang to prove it had once existed.

    6th Jul 2012
    4:39pm
    Boof
    Wikipedia has a nice article on the Higgs Boson It has a nice timeline of the research and is reasonably accurate. The explanations are a little simplistic though.
    tango18
    6th Jul 2012
    5:02pm
    This isn't really about religious beliefs at all. I watched a scientist being interviewed and he said the origin of the name "God particle" wasn't about religion but that scientists knowing it existed used to say "where is that god damn particle". So it got called the god damn particle. Then a book was written and they wanted to use it in the title, but thought god damn appearing on the cover unsuitable so changed to "god particle". Of such small things are great debates/arguments made!
    Multidisab
    7th Jul 2012
    10:36am
    Even Einstein knew there is a God. He realized, as a mathematician, that there is much more than our human minds can encompass.
    There are such stereotyped complainers in these postings, all conditioned by the media and a tendency to complain... how sad!
    Real thinkers learn to look beyond the surface - and what's in a name, or a word,
    that would limit the unlimited mind?
    jan5
    6th Jul 2012
    5:58pm
    before they collided these particles the were worried that they would start a chain reaction that could destroy our world.they almost did it with the atomic bomb in the cold war.
    now they want to spend billions going to other planets that we can't live on,why they dont spend the money making the earth a more habitable place for all people
    Olivia
    6th Jul 2012
    7:32pm
    I am not a physicist, so I don't pretend to understand this, but I know enough about it to realise that it is a highly significant discovery. True science is always fascinating, and indeed humbling. And this comment is from an age pensioner who is struggling, yet I am still in awe of the universe.
    Multidisab
    7th Jul 2012
    10:41am
    Thanks olivia, the struggle is mostly superficial, unless the penny pinches...
    I am in awe of life, such a miracle that we live at all...
    particolor
    6th Jul 2012
    8:12pm
    I dont care if Hibbs Boson was in Love with the Cabin Boy too !!
    Abe
    6th Jul 2012
    10:14pm
    If the Big Bang was the beginning, what was before it ? I would imagine time had no start and no end. Also time is a constant, so anyone who flew through space at hyper speed could not arrive back at their starting place and be any older or younger than someone who was the same age as the traveller and who never left .
    Multidisab
    7th Jul 2012
    10:57am
    Time is not a constant, because it seems to repond to matter as does gravity, which is curved, and changes. To call time a constant in mathematical equations is utter nonsense, unless one needs to simplify the simple. Any equations that reflect the outer universe are based on mass. Is there now a thinker who thinks in mass as a form of latent energy? Our real universe is made up of energy, not matter.

    What happens to super-dense matter - or 'black hole' - a nerdish name - except to escape through the plumes of radiation and sound at the north and south poles?
    Abe
    6th Jul 2012
    10:31pm
    And where are the Friday Funnies, Rachel ? Is your body back at work but your mind still on holiday location ? Miss my Jokes section.
    Abe
    6th Jul 2012
    11:23pm
    Rachel, Rachel, Rachel....please accept my most abject apologies. I am afraid I did not check my later emails. Sorry, dearie. Will try not to repeat my mistake, and sincerely hope you enjoyed your holiday. Slap my face and call me Nora.
    Abe
    6th Jul 2012
    11:39pm
    Scientists reveal that all the stars are still moving away from the origin of the big bang, but eventually they will stop and reverse direction and all come together again. How many times has this happened ? Was ours Big Bang No.94476204 ? You never know, do you ? Mind-boggling......
    aquatrek
    7th Jul 2012
    10:23pm
    42
    AlbertC
    7th Jul 2012
    6:51am
    maybe it has something to do with the recent discovery that the word will end on December 22 2012 very strange? mmmm have a nice day.
    paquicamus
    7th Jul 2012
    12:35pm
    It's just the beginning, none knows where it will go or end. Every generation leaves something for the next to continue in that SEARCH. Just read any history of anything and you will find that curiosity to know what is there behind that wall?
    Multidisab
    7th Jul 2012
    1:04pm
    It's such a pity that science separates according to pockets of specialities - including the medical world. Pax.
    paquicamus
    7th Jul 2012
    2:02pm
    Nowadays, science is just like a big puzzle and to solve you need to star from just from 1 piece at time then see how it would fit in the whole picture. I know, someone has already said "spececialisation kill creativity"?????
    Multidisab
    7th Jul 2012
    4:01pm
    And that's why our civilisation is failing, relying on bureaucracy, protocols and mad laws of 'control'.
    I am thinking about a world-wide tribunal that cannot be corrupted, that would maintain some simple principles of crative reality:
    No religion is permitten to subdue others against their will
    No business is allowed to profiteer without considering the effects of its nature of business to affect all aspects of live negatively.
    No individual is allowed to take power over millions (no more Hitlers, dictators of any kind) unless with with real election procedures that forbid the presence of military personnel to instill fear in voters
    I'm sure the is more? Any ideas, anyone?
    aquatrek
    7th Jul 2012
    10:27pm
    Certainly not HAL: "Dave, I cant let you in".
    seth
    7th Jul 2012
    4:32pm
    Multidisab There is already one,I think most know, but choose to ignore, which covers all your points, Treat others as you would want them to treat you.
    Multidisab
    7th Jul 2012
    4:36pm
    And who follows this as a Way of Life?
    Are Muslim women treated well?
    aquatrek
    7th Jul 2012
    10:30pm
    Buddhism:
    (1) to lead a moral life
    (2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions
    (3) to develop [sic - and apply] wisdom and understanding
    Abe
    7th Jul 2012
    10:28pm
    There will never, ever be a world wide tribunal to see fair play whilst there is money, power and religion in this world !!!
    aquatrek
    7th Jul 2012
    10:32pm
    and humans as we know the species today - yet will we have or have reached a "use by date" ?


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