Monday, July 2, 2012

The Trenches of Discovery: On its own, a Higgs discovery would be grim

If rumours are to be believed, then, in two days time, CERN will announce the discovery of a new particle and it will be called Higgs. To the degree that the discovery of any new particle is a pretty big deal, this will be a pretty big deal.

To put things into perspective, not only will this be the discovery of an entirely new particle, if the standard model of particle physics is correct, this will also be the discovery of an entirely new fundamental particle. That is, it won't be made up of any constituent pieces. Also, the field that it will be excited from will not have been directly detected ever before. And that's not even it. Other aspects of the Higgs are also completely new. For example, the way it behaves when you rotate it will be unique amongst all the fundamental particles we've discovered so far, which is quite curious because its rotational properties will be the simplest (i.e. it has no spin at all).

Read the rest at The Trenches of Discovery