CERN physicist Professor Dan Tovey from the University of Sheffield spoke at the Showroom Cinema today about the emerging evidence supporting the existence of the Higgs Boson particle.
The evidence has been accumulated by a tracking detector inside the Large Hadron Collider, which is located near Geneva in Switzerland.
The detector was partly built by the University of Sheffield and can take up to 40 million ‘snapshots’ of the experiment per second.
Hints of the particle
The Higgs Boson isn’t detected directly. Its existence is inferred from examining the debris left after collisions between protons travelling at close to the speed of light.
The mass of the Higgs Boson is unknown, but certain ranges of mass have been ruled out.
Experiments have been run to detect a Higgs Boson with a mass below 120 GeV (gigaelectronvolts) and above 130 GeV, with no indication of the particle’s existence.
Hints of the Higgs Boson are starting to surface within the remaining range of mass at around 125 GeV.
At the end of 2011, two particles known as Z-bosons were observed during a collision.
The Z-bosons have now been observed emerging in pairs from collisions on three separate occasions.
Professor Tovey explained that seeing these particles in pairs is the “smoking gun” for the Higgs Boson.
“It’s getting very exciting,” he said.
“We may be on the brink of discovering the Higgs Boson.”