Almost half a century ago, Scottish physicist Peter Higgs put forward a hypothesis about the existence of some subatomic elementary unit, the last in a series of elementary particles, named after the scientist Higgs boson.
How and why they searched for the boson
For a long time, the particle did not let go of the minds of researchers. Considered the last link in the Modern Theory of Elementary Particles, it was supposed to help explain the presence of gravity and the mass of other elementary models. However, the mass of the Higgs boson has remained a mystery, defying exact calculations, but approximately equal to 26 gigaelectronvolts or 133 protons.
The discovery of the particle was necessary to substantiate the theory of the existence of a certain Higgs field, which, according to the assumptions of physicists, fills all the space in the Universe, it is within this field and due to interaction with it that all fundamental particles acquire mass or remain weightless.
The mysterious boson was discovered by scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research on June 4, 2012 inside the Hadron Collider after decades of intense experiments and searches. The installation, worth more than 6 billion dollars, was located in a 27-kilometer tunnel underground and consists of numerous rings and boosters.
The Higgs boson in simple terms: clear as twice two
For 50 years, the "ephemeral" particle was given great importance. Its importance was determined to be so significant that, according to Higgs, without substantiating the existence of the boson, it was impossible to correctly and accurately interpret the theory of the interaction of other elementary particles with each other. What is the Higgs boson in simple terms? The creator of the theory was inclined to define it as a "divine particle", and the American and Nobel Prize winner Leon Lederman agreed with him.
There are several hadron colliders, but it was the large one that took part in the Higgs experiments. This setup is truly unique.
- the tunnel passes under France and Switzerland;
- the depth of the collider underground varies from 50 to 175 meters;
- more than 10 thousand talented scientists from a hundred countries, including Russia, took part in the design;
- the length of the most significant part of the invention – the main accelerating ring is 26258 meters;
- the design includes 4 detectors for the main load and 3 for the auxiliary;
- construction was started in 2001, but the first projects were developed already in 1984, and it took about 15 years for the final calculations and preparation of documentation;
- one of the main instruments – an electromagnetic calorimeter – is a wall measuring 6 by 7 meters, consisting of 3300 blocks;
- The device got its name because of the ability to accelerate hadrons – heavy quark particles.
The main purpose of building the facility was to confirm the hypothesis and search for the boson, but it is also needed to study the fundamental interactions between particles.
The Higgs boson: simple words about the complex
Why else was research designed to find the Higgs boson needed? In simple words, the theory of the existence of elementary particles and their interaction would allow scientists to explain the so-called Big Bang theory, namely, not only to understand the mechanism of the emergence of the Universe from one molecule, but also to advance in resolving the problem of the existence of antimatter, which fits in one question: “if there is matter, then why is there no opposite?
Numerous experiments, crowned with success in the end, revealed that although the boson exists, it is extremely unstable and decays into several more stable particles in a split second. But the likelihood that the Higgs boson is just a fantasy is only one in 3.45 million.
How they searched for the Higgs boson, video: