'God Particle' glimpsed at Hadron

Just to get a healthy discussion going this morning, we have news from the BBC that scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider in Bern, Switzerland can barely contain their excitement over the prospect of discovering the elusive Higgs-Boson particle one of the fundamental building blocks of matter.

Sometimes irreverently - and inaccurately - referred to as the "God Particle," the physicists at LHC believe they are on the cusp of confirming the particle's existence.

There is intense excitement among physicists working at Cern, the Geneva-based organisation which operates the collider, over hints that the hunters have cornered their quarry.

"It is a fantastic time at the moment, you can feel people are enthusiastic," Dr Christoph Rembser, a senior scientist on the Atlas experiment, told BBC News. "It is really very lively."

Prof Stefan Soldner-Rembold, from the University of Manchester, called the quality of the LHC's results "exceptional", adding: "Within one year we will probably know whether the Higgs particle exists, but it is likely not going to be a Christmas present."

He told me: "The Higgs particle would, of course, be a great discovery, but it would be an even greater discovery if it didn't exist where theory predicts it to be."

The Higgs boson is a "fundamental" particle; one of the basic building blocks of the Universe. It is also the last missing piece in the leading theory of particle physics - known as the Standard Model - which describes how particles and forces interact.

What exactly is Higgs-Boson?

The way the Higgs field works has been likened to the way photographers and reporters congregate around a celebrity. The cluster of people are strongly attracted to the celebrity and create resistance to his or her movement across a room. In other words, they give the celebrity "mass".

"The thing about the Higgs is that we always say we need it to explain mass. But the real importance of it is that we need it to make sense of the Universe," said Dr Tara Shears, a particle physicist at Liverpool University.

She told BBC News: "Discovering the Higgs confirms that the approach we have been taking to understand the Universe is correct."

With the Webb space telescope being built and a possible launch set for 2018 - a space telescope that will aid us in understanding the macro universe - and the LHC that helps us understand the micro universe, the strides being made to answer fundamental questions of our existence (at least from a scientific point of view) have never been more rapid or as large in the history of civilization.

Finding Higgs-Boson will be a remarkable achievement - one of the truly monumental discoveries in the history of science.