From the Wall Street Journal: MICHIO KAKU – “The ‘God Particle’ and the Origins of the Universe”


This is copyright protected, so just enough to get you interested.

“Physicists around the world have something to celebrate this Christmas. Two groups of them, using the particle accelerator in Switzerland, have announced that they are tantalizingly close to bagging the biggest prize in physics (and a possible Nobel): the elusive Higgs particle, which the media have dubbed the “God particle.” Perhaps next year, physicists will pop open the champagne bottles and proclaim they have found this particle.

Finding this missing Higgs particle, or boson, is big business. The European machine searching for it, the Large Hadron Collider, has cost many billions so far and is so huge it straddles the French-Swiss border, near Geneva. At 17 miles in circumference, the colossal structure is the largest machine of science ever built and consists of a gigantic ring in which two beams of protons are sent in opposite directions using powerful magnetic fields.

The collider’s purpose is to recreate, on a tiny scale, the instant of genesis. It accelerates protons to 99.999999% the speed of light. When the two beams collide, they release a titanic energy of 14 trillion electron volts and a shower of subatomic particles shooting out in all directions. Huge detectors, the size of large apartment buildings, are needed to record the image of this particle spray.”

See the full article here.

Unfortunately, there is little background information about the U.S. contribution to the work at the LHC, or what preceded it here in the U.S.

What preceded it is forty years of Higgs hunting by the Tevatron at Fermilab, Batavia Illinois.
In fact, at the range now left for study, 115-130GeV, Fermilab, with tons of data still to sift, might just come up with Higgs before the LHC.

There are some 1600 U.S. scientists attached in some way to the LHC. Approximately 1000 scientists are attached top the CMS Collaboration remote location at Fermilab, one of only three such remote locations in the world. Another approximately 600 scientists are attached to ATLAS at Brookhaven Lab on Long Island, NY. These numbers are approximate. These are doctoral candidates and “post-docs” also affiliated with universities, and other U.S. D.O.E. labs.

Both Fermilab and Brookhaven Lab made significant contributions to the design, engineering, and construction of the LHC.

Please do read Michio Kaku’s piece.

About these ads