Cern prepares for further discoveries 10 years after the discovery of the “particle of God.”

It has been 10 years since evidence of the Higgs boson, the elusive particle associated with an invisible field that gives too much, was announced. But for Professor Daniela Bortoletto the memories are as fresh as ever.

“I just remember the joy. I remember everyone being very happy. And what surprised me [was] As I was interested in everyone, it seemed like the whole world was celebrating us, ”he said.

Now, as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the proton-destroying monster at European particle lab Cern, prepares to begin its third data collection period on Tuesday, experts hope to discover more secrets of the components fundamentals of the universe.

Bortoletto, now head of particle physics at Oxford University and part of the team that discovered the Higgs boson, said his main memory of the events a decade ago was the time two weeks before the announcement in which the researchers unveiled the analysis of the data. and saw unequivocal signs of the boson.

“Still, thinking [about] at that moment, putting the butterflies in the stomach, “he said.” It was amazing. It’s really a unique moment in the scientist’s life. “

The media fury when the discovery was announced was huge, with newspapers, radio and television focused on a particle as fleeting as it was important.

Called the “particle of God” and named after the physicist Peter Higgs, the Higgs boson is the characteristic particle of the Higgs field, an invisible energy field that permeates the universe. Simply put, it is the interaction of the fundamental particles with this field, the interactions that were thought to have occurred shortly after the big bang when the universe expanded and cooled, which gives them too much.

The existence of the Higgs boson was predicted by the standard model, a key theory that explains three of nature’s four fundamental forces, but it was not until seminal experiments at the LHC that scientists found the crucial evidence. .

Thanks to the discovery of the Higgs boson, scientists can now explain a number of phenomena: why electrons have mass and can therefore create a cloud around a nucleus, giving rise to atoms; why a neutron is more massive than a proton and therefore why the former disintegrates but the latter is stable.

“The Higgs field explains why atoms exist, why we exist. And the fact that we can put it in a context that we think we understand, I think is great,” Bortoletto said.

But the story is far from over. Since the announcement in 2012, there have been more revelations, including ideas about how the Higgs boson is born and decays, and its interactions with heavy particles such as the upper and lower quarks. And the work continues at a good pace.

Among other efforts, scientists hope to study the interactions between the Higgs boson and muons (fundamental and negatively charged subatomic particles) and explore the coupling of the Higgs boson with itself.

“Understanding, for example, Higgs self – coupling could [help us] understand the shape of the Higgs potential and better understand what happened at the beginning of the universe, ”Bortoletto said.

The key to this work is the third march of the LHC, which will begin on Tuesday. This time, the atomic breaker will operate at 13.6 trillion electrons (TeV), more than 13 TeV, with Bortoletto revealing that the Atlas and CMS experiments are expected to double their data sets.

“More data and a little more energy opens up new opportunities,” Bortoletto said. He said scientists could study the Higgs boson in more detail and that the work could also provide new insights into the mass of the W boson. Another key particle, the W boson, was the center of a sensation in the early days. ‘year when researchers at Fermilab’s Collision Detector in the US revealed that their data suggested that the particle has a much larger mass than predicted by the standard model.

Bortoletto added that there was room for more fundamental discoveries.

“There’s a lot of scope in the Higgs sector,” he said. “Again, we have a little more energy, we could discover something new, some new particle; we have the opportunity, every time we increase the energy to discover maybe a new physics.”

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