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  (Source: Stephen van Vuuren)
The world of physics takes a bold leap forward with a single laborious finding

The world's two most advanced particle detector experiments -- ATLAS and CMS -- have both detected signs of a particle that eluded physicists for almost a half century -- a particle researchers suspect is the Higgs boson.

I. Hunting for Higgs -- Inside the Most Expensive Machine Created by Man

The two detectors are housed within a 17 mile in circumference underground tunnel in the Alps, a tunnel which is chilled to temperatures colder then outer space.  The particle accelerator and attached detection apparatus is a triumph of engineering, and at $10B USD is the single most expensive piece of laboratory equipment in the history of mankind.

Brought online in 2008, the collider suffered from early hiccups, typical of large particle accelerators.  But before long it was setting records and gathering data which led to the discovery of new exotic particles.
LHC Track
The LHC track stretchs 17 miles and is colder than space. [Image Source: Entropy Bound]

But the biggest payoff for the high cost and years of effort came when the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced that they had detected signs of the Higgs-like boson, a particle whose operation necessitates a super-powerful collider and world class detection equipment.

Just a couple days before U.S. Department of Energy's FermiLab published data from their now-defunct Tevatron indicating that they were 99.8 percent (roughly 3σ) sure that they had detected a Higgs-like boson.  That level of confidence is called an "observation" in particle physics.

II. From "Observation" to "Discovery"

By contrast the threshold of confidence for a "discovery" is 5σ -- and CERN delivered precisely that on Wednesday.

Using data gleaned from record 7 TeV and 8 TeV proton collisions, the CMS and ATLAS teams jointly pinpointed a Higgs boson or similar particle to within the 125-126 GeV mass region, with the requisite 5σ confidence.

That result is strengthened by the fact that the observation at the Tevatron predicted a mass between 115 and 135 GeV.

The CMS experiment spokesperson Joe Incandela comments:

The results are preliminary but the 5 sigma signal at around 125 GeV we’re seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found.  The implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks.

Higgs boson observation
A CMS detector view of a Higgs boson creation from a 8 TeV collision. [Image Source: CERN]

ATLAS experiment spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti comments:

We observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of 5 sigma, in the mass region around 126 GeV. The outstanding performance of the LHC and ATLAS and the huge efforts of many people have brought us to this exciting stage, but a little more time is needed to prepare these results for publication.

Atlas Higgs
An ATLAS detector view of a Higgs boson creation from a 8 TeV collision. [Image Source: CERN]

III. The Hunt is Over, But the Discoveries Have Just Begun

The discovery of the new boson is a momentous day for particle physics, and one that comes despite wise caution on the parts of the men and women involved.  Physicists were wary of jumping the gun and announcing the discovery, lest they make a mistake and alienate a public who already is less than highly interested in taking a trip into the cerebral land of modern particle physics.

The Higgs boson is theorized to give rise to the so-called Higgs mechanism, a form of electroweak symmetry breaking.  A simple analogy of this complex effect is to think of a sort of "sticky field" that coats particles like a spoon dipping through a jar of honey.  This "sticky" effect is thought to give protons, neutrons, and electrons -- the building blocks of matter that most of us are familiar with -- their mass.

To summarize in the simplest terms, researchers are now have detected a particle which they believe may give all standard particles their mass.

 Nebula wide
Finding the Higgs boson is a major step on the road to discovering the secrets of the universe.
[Image Source: NASA]

The discovery takes researchers a step closer to confirming the "Standard Model of particle physics", a theory which in turn opens the door to more advanced applications, such as string theory.

Much work remains to be done, though.  The particle, while observed with a high measure of confidence, was poorly quantified, aside from its mass.  By further probing observed Higgs-like bosons, researchers will be able to tune, accept, or reject certain compenents of Standard Model theory.  These changes could help researchers better understand mysterious components that make up much of the non-visible universe -- such as dark matter and energy.

In short, Higgs boson -- also nicknamed the "Goddamn particle" or "God Particle", for short, by a famous Nobel laureate -- is only the first step in a bold journey for mankind, a journey which will take humans, quite literally where no man has gone before.

Sources: CERN, Atlas Team, CMS Team

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By Joshflighter on 7/4/2012 3:43:17 PM , Rating: 5
The media has to get over the usage of "God" particle. The implication of the Higgs Boson, in a very small nutshell, explains how other elementary particles gain their mass. It is not Science's way of saying Religion is irrelevant, or even that God doesn't exist.
Those who believe that only material things exist cannot use material arguments to prove that immaterial things don't exist. Those who believe that immaterial things exist can't deny the findings of the scientific community. If you are someone who believes that God made the universe, then you shouldn't feel threatened by anything that can be discovered or observed in it.

By ShaolinSoccer on 7/4/2012 3:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
I don't believe God made the universe. I believe God IS the universe. Including all the matter that makes up you and me. Some episodes of Through The Wormhole go hand in hand with my belief. And that evidence comes from scientists.

By EricMartello on 7/4/2012 4:09:33 PM , Rating: 1
You can believe what you want to believe, but thankfully there are a small group of people who prefer to investigate the unknown rather than simply relegating it to the realm of being some kind of ethereal deity.

Faith is synonymous with ignorance because you cling to unproven beliefs out of desire while actively rejecting the possibility that your beliefs are flawed or simply incorrect (as a matter of ego), and people who share that mindset are a detriment to the human species as a whole.

We as humans don't know everything but we do know enough to not need to rely on using fairy tales and imaginary beings to explain the things we don't know.

By runutz on 7/4/2012 4:25:15 PM , Rating: 4
EricMartello wrote:

Faith is synonymous with ignorance because you cling to unproven beliefs out of desire while actively rejecting the possibility that your beliefs are flawed or simply incorrect (as a matter of ego), and people who share that mindset are a detriment to the human species as a whole.

Any possibility your beliefs are flawed? just askng

By EricMartello on 7/4/2012 4:35:52 PM , Rating: 3
Any possibility your beliefs are flawed? just askng

Regardless of what my beliefs are, I would not be opposed to dismissing them or changing them in light of new data.

By Amedean on 7/4/2012 10:00:16 PM , Rating: 5
Faith is synonymous with ignorance because you cling to unproven beliefs out of desire

As a member of the science community I acknowledge that discoveries are not only made by accident but also from faith.

while actively rejecting the possibility that your beliefs are flawed or simply incorrect (as a matter of ego), and people who share that mindset are a detriment to the human species as a whole.

I separated this because it should not have been used in the same sentence. Lets not confuse bigotry from faith.

By polishvendetta on 7/5/2012 10:08:55 AM , Rating: 2
Here here!

There is a large difference between faith/belief and religion.

I'm sure all the scientists the devote their many many years of research have faith that their research will mean something. Some people only need firth of their abilities in order to be happy, and that faith can be stronger then any religion.

By knutjb on 7/5/2012 2:28:11 PM , Rating: 2
Newton was all but an ordained priest who used his scientific knowledge to better understand God.

Like anything it is how you use those beliefs.

By Moishe on 7/5/2012 4:54:57 PM , Rating: 2
But wait... are you saying that humans are more than just cells and "facts?"

Yes. I think that's what most of these religion bashers fail to realize. I see comments like "religion is for the weak-minded and stupid..." It dismisses the whole psyche and soul parts of a human.

It's this same attitude that wants to accept only what is proven and reject all else. Science has to allow for the fuzziness, inconsistency, variablity of human nature.

There is no science versus religion. They are simply apples and oranges.

By AntDX316 on 7/10/2012 2:25:21 AM , Rating: 2
So scientist have discovered a new layer of how science works. There could be more than thousands of undiscovered major layers of how science works. Now, what's the scientific explaination of how spirits work? While people try to figure out and ponder how life is, the one's that know the spirit world and the science world 100% are running parallel to our lack of required information to truly manipulate the future of how they are due to the inferior processing capable to do the astronomical calculations at 5000000000000000x the speed of light at the minimum.

By EricMartello on 7/4/2012 11:51:03 PM , Rating: 1
Then your beliefs are no more meaningful than a man who wants to quit drinking, sees a squirrel, and says that as long as the squirrel comes around, he won't drink.

That's not really a belief so much as it is a condition. A belief is something you consider true and/or accurate without any real evidence to the fact.

By muy on 7/5/2012 5:31:23 AM , Rating: 3
"Any possibility your beliefs are flawed? just askng"

yes, some of the beliefs in the scientific might be flawed, but they are the best shot we have at understanding the truth of reality. and unlike religion, science is EAGER to discard any theory that proves incorrect or incomplete
the things i believe are tried and tested and verifiable. the things i believe in hold predictive power towards the future. what i believe are not the ramblings from deluded stone age primitives.

All it takes is one exception to make me doubt/discard a belief i hold.

what does it take for you to doubt/discard your beliefs ?

prove anything scientific wrong that i accept as a truth and i will thank for broadening my scientific knowledge ;)

By dotpoz on 7/5/2012 9:33:22 AM , Rating: 2
Christian do not hate science, they just hate some of science results

By knutjb on 7/5/2012 2:44:19 PM , Rating: 2
they just hate some of science results
First, it's not hate, it's disagree with. Second, it's not the science, it's how the science is presented, i.e. most news reports "God particle" or Jason's "Goddamn particle."

When science is used to denigrate God most religions take a dim view on such presentations. Context and insult, if a third of all news said dotpoz is a clueless fool you would have a problem with how the news is portrayed.

Unfortunately, there is always a fringe of fools on both sides who get their feathers in a ruffle just because everything ruffles their feathers and I discount them first.

By SlyNine on 7/5/2012 2:37:45 PM , Rating: 1
Notice how much we advanced after 1800....

By Captain Orgazmo on 7/5/2012 11:28:11 PM , Rating: 2
Science is not eager to discard theories by any stretch, because scientists are human. Human concerns or attributes like money, ego, bias, and the limits of imagination slow down scientific discovery and technological evolution constantly. Many theories are stubbornly held on to well past their deserved expiry, or unintentionally shaped by our need for meaning and order in things and the way in which we experience existence. It could be said that science is a more advanced religion, as both have the same goal: to explain the universe.

For example, the big bang theory derives from the theme common to all religions, that all things must have a beginning and an end. It would be difficult for humans to believe or comprehend the possibility that the universe just is. Or, take the theory that human-released CO2 is causing catastrophic global warming. You'd think that anyone with a basic understanding of geology (the history of this planet) would see the flaws, but it is believed like dogma.

By MethylONE on 7/4/2012 5:00:51 PM , Rating: 3
Anyways... scientists had unproven beliefs in the higgs boson but faith that it existed.

That is incorrect. They had EVIDENCE that it existed not faith, huge difference.

By Reclaimer77 on 7/4/2012 7:16:28 PM , Rating: 1
Not weighing in on the stupid religious Internet debate #20,000,000,000, but there was no "evidence" Higgs Boson existed when the theory was formed 48 years ago. There was a theory that it might exist to explain certain particle phenomenon.

What is it with you guys anyway? This is the second stupid religious war on Daily Tech this week. This is a discovery of such massive proportions, I believe it's true implications won't even be fully understood in our lifetimes. And I click on this article and see the same old Daily Tech religious bashing and evangelicals going at it. Can't that wait just once in favor of much more relevant discussion?

I wanted Star Trek and I got Jerry Springer. Sigh...

By inighthawki on 7/4/2012 8:31:10 PM , Rating: 5
No, they had a theory formed by data and mathematical proofs that predict its existence, and as a result they believed it MAY exist. Those are several fundamental differences to faith.

By morob05 on 7/5/2012 2:43:22 AM , Rating: 2
Well, there were plenty of other higgles theories that might aswell have been true...

By MrBlastman on 7/5/2012 10:42:50 AM , Rating: 2
Why on earth do discoveries like this always have to revert into Athiests and Christians bashing each other in the head? Seriously?

Can't we all just step back and clear the air for a moment while absorbing the implications of this discovery. The higgs boson, the single most elusive boson we have been searching for has finally been found--well, all evidence points towards it. We might not know much more than that but just knowing that finally, we might be able to fill the standard model is amazing.

That isn't even considering what we might someday learn to do with the higgs boson. The manipulation of matter at its core is tantalizing. I'm titillated to think what we might be able to tweak with it as it not only could lead to advances in material sciences but also holds the potential for letting us manipulate general relativity and more specificly gravity along with spacetime itself.

By SlyNine on 7/5/2012 2:42:35 PM , Rating: 1
Because the fundamentals of science dictate that any theory's must undergo tough scrutiny to decide weather the evidence pointing to them are valid..

Religion doesn't even come close to having valid conclusions. It's pretty much an insult to science.

By vanionBB on 7/4/2012 5:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” ? Werner Heisenberg

By SPOOFE on 7/4/2012 5:36:48 PM , Rating: 1
Faith is synonymous with ignorance

Only if one ignores subtleties; the implication of "ignorance" is that the ignorant in question SHOULD be capable of knowing better, whereas the implication of "faith" is that there is a limit to what humans can physically understand, yet their desire to understand doesn't stop.

Faith is merely the crossroads of two human compulsions: The insecure need to discover new aspects about their environment, and the powerful creative engines that drive their development as they learn about their environment. Where actual human understanding fails, imagination invariably - and essentially uncontrollably - takes over.

By morob05 on 7/5/2012 2:37:15 AM , Rating: 2
Well, he didn't really claim to believe in any fairy-tales or unprovable superstition now did he. He just claimed to have a slightly different definition of the word god than the standard theistic definition. Basically he just said that he believes in the universe and the laws of physics, don't see what's so ignorant about that. Have you never heard of Spinoza's god??

By NellyFromMA on 7/5/2012 8:35:41 AM , Rating: 1
Wow. You DO realize not THAT long ago it would be unthinkable to say that right? Yopu're totally entitled to your own opinion, but why put down others by dictating to us all that religion is synonymous to ignorance.

Further, science doesn't really define much. We define science based on our observations. Thinking that we know EVERYTHING and putting down others for having THEIR OWN opinion is weak science at its worst if you really think about it.

Actually, your perspective on faith and people's choice to interact with it is, well.. synonomous with ignorance. Maybe respect others before covering them in blanket statements?

By Boze on 7/5/2012 3:25:19 PM , Rating: 2

It really is.

Having "faith" that the Sun will rise tomorrow is a pointless thing to say you have faith in, for several reasons. One, the Sun isn't really rising. Your particular point on Earth just happens to be coming back around to face the Sun again in 12 hours or so. Two, we've been able to prove how and why the Sun "rises" without the aid of mystic books from the ancient past.

Additionally, since you mention the Bible, and I assume the Holy Bible, its gullibility to believe in Heaven, that Jesus walked on water, came back to life after three days, etc. Why is it gullibility? I've never met or heard from anyone who went to Heaven. I've never seen, or heard a report, about someone who walked on water. I've never once met anyone, or heard about someone, who came back to life after three days.

If you believe these things, you're gullible. You're not only gullible, you're doublely gullible. A lot of people 2,000 years ago thought Jesus was full of crap when he was alive. Nothing the Bible has foretold has been true. Most, if not all, of its "history" is incorrect.

There is no reason to believe any of the claims it makes. Anyone who wants to believe its claims should talk to me about some oceanfront property I have for sale in Arizona. I'll cut them a great deal.

By Starcub on 7/5/2012 10:49:49 AM , Rating: 2
Faith is synonymous with ignorance because you cling to unproven beliefs out of
desire while actively rejecting the possibility that your beliefs are flawed or simply
incorrect (as a matter of ego), and people who share that mindset are a detriment to
the human species as a whole.

The Christian definition of "Faith" is the evidence of things unseen. You could say that Christian belief is the eternal science of Faith. Most people use the contemporary and religious definitions of faith interchangeably, but they really reffer to two very different things.

People who have no experience of Faith often equate Christian belief with what would be more accurately described as blind faith.

By cliffa3 on 7/5/2012 12:18:06 PM , Rating: 2
investigate the unknown rather than simply relegating it to the realm of being some kind of ethereal deity

Belief in God does not mean that one relegates the unknown as unknowable nor does it mean that one has no interest in the investigation of the unknown.

Faith is synonymous with ignorance because you cling to unproven beliefs out of desire...

Faith is not belief in something despite what your brain tells you.

people who share that mindset are a detriment to the human species as a whole

I believe a small amount of research into who you would hold as a 'detriment' if you were to cling to that statement would provide evidence sufficient to overturn that belief.

We as humans don't know everything but we do know enough to not need to rely on using fairy tales and imaginary beings to explain the things we don't know.

Understandable that you view it this way. Unfortunate, but understandable. I encourage you to investigate why you view it this way and if your view is accurate. If you are unwilling, you are no better than the religious person who is unwilling to investigate. Fact is, you're comfortable in your comfortable that you attack anyone or anything that appears to challenge your views or holds different ones.

By Moishe on 7/5/2012 4:50:37 PM , Rating: 2
This black and white "science is true and religion is not" notion is just garbage.

Since we're speaking in terms of things that cannot be proven, let me repeat your words back to you.

You can believe what you want to believe, but thankfully, there are a small group of people that accept some ideas that are unproven.

See, I watch all this stupid arguing over faith, and I think it's so foolish. Clearly there are smart people making the arguments, but they prove themselves to be as blind as those they bash.

There are a subset of religious people who ignore science because they have faith.
There are also a small subset of people who ignore all thought of faith because they believe in science.

Frankly, when you ignore the thought that you could be wrong, you're acting on faith and you're no better than them. We can't go around labeling unproven theories as "fact" just because the word "science" carries more social weight than the word "religion."

Some scientific theories ARE a religion for some people because they find something they want to believe and ignore the other (scientific) facts that disprove their belief.

On the other hand, religion is not the "explanation of everything" for some religious people. Religion and science play nice together quite frequently and plenty of religion folks are die-hard scientists and love knowledge.

By crazy1 on 7/12/2012 12:13:37 AM , Rating: 2
Faith is synonymous with ignorance because you cling to unproven beliefs out of desire while actively rejecting the possibility that your beliefs are flawed or simply incorrect (as a matter of ego), and people who share that mindset are a detriment to the human species as a whole.

We as humans don't know everything but we do know enough to not need to rely on using fairy tales and imaginary beings to explain the things we don't know.

Rene Decarte had it right, "I think therefore I am." He really added, "and God," at the end, but that's when Christians were killing scholars that influenced religious doubt, so his religious faith is questionable.

In any case, the quote means that I cannot prove my senses are not being deceived by myself or another being. Things like eating lunch, having sex, going to work, playing sports, and reading science articles could all be an hallucination of sorts. Essentially, I can only prove that my own conscious mind exists.

If you are real, you can only prove that your mind exists. Science has no ground to stand on until you can prove to yourself without a doubt that what you believe to be real is actually real. Otherwise, you are relying on "using fairy tales and imaginary beings to explain the things [you] don't know."

In my religion, I believe that my senses function properly... at least most of the time. I have complete faith that the people in my life have their own unique minds. I also accept that I am ignorant. It's not a bad religion to be in.

By albus on 7/4/2012 4:56:50 PM , Rating: 1
The process is thus:

God => Thoughts => Energy => Mass

So, God, thoughts, energy & mass are interchangeable. Science is yet to acknowledge it.

By SPOOFE on 7/4/2012 5:37:48 PM , Rating: 3
No, I don't think anything you just wrote is accurate.

By muy on 7/5/2012 5:35:48 AM , Rating: 2
nice theory, how can i test it ?

By masamasa on 7/4/2012 7:41:47 PM , Rating: 4
Religious people tend be 'unstable'.

By Amedean on 7/4/2012 10:03:47 PM , Rating: 3
Religious people tend be 'unstable'.

Humans tend to be unstable. Being nonreligious has no correlation to personality dysfunction.

By Donovan on 7/5/2012 12:31:16 PM , Rating: 2
Do they decay into atheists?

By Moishe on 7/5/2012 4:57:12 PM , Rating: 2

Human nature is unstable.

By Visual on 7/5/2012 10:42:41 AM , Rating: 2
Going with your definition, everyone will agree what God exists. But not that God is sentient, listening or caring for our prayers, or performing any miracles in response to them or for whatever other reason. Also, there is no reason to believe in an afterlife, divine justice or much anything else that constitutes a religion.

So, then why not just use the word "Universe" instead of confusing people, and yourself, with the much more ill-defined "God"? And admit that you are not truly religious.

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