A refitted Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is being readied to delve deeper into the secrets of the Universe’s structure, a new British scientists’ model considering Higgs boson data claims the Universe should have collapsed immediately after the Big Bang.
Confirmation of the Higgs boson’s existence in July 2012 did not actually add clarity to the general picture of our Universe after all. The information acquired raised new, even more complex, questions.
Physicists at King’s College in London claim they have recreated the conditions following the Big Bang, but this time using the new information acquired with the help of the LHC. British scientists maintain now that the new data related to the so-called ‘God particle’ suggests the universe should have expanded excessively fast after the Big Bang and collapsed billions of years ago.
“During the early universe, we expected cosmic inflation — this is a rapid expansion of the universe right after the Big Bang,” co-author of the King’s College study Robert Hogan, a Ph.D. student in physics, told Live Science. “This expansion causes lots of stuff to shake around, and if we shake it too much, we could go into this new energy space, which could cause the universe to collapse.”
Such a conclusion could mean only one thing: if the universe we see around us is real while it shouldn’t be, then we don’t know something critically important about our 13.8-billion-year home and must move forward to learn it better.
“We have to extend our theories to explain why this didn’t happen,” Hogan said.
The scientist shared with Live Science the super-symmetry theory, which says that presently-known particles might have super-partner particles. So the Higgs boson could coexist with four other sibling particles that have similar masses, but different electrical charges.
This could serve as a partial explanation to universe’s stability. And just like the Higgs boson, they could be discovered one day, but that would imply the construction of particle accelerators even more powerful than the LHC.
So far the stability of the universe is also under scrutiny by another scientific experiment, a Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP-2) telescope in the Antarctic, has reportedly managed to register the echo of the cosmic inflation as background microwave radiation permeating our Universe.
Higgs boson opened new horizons
The experiments held in 2012 managed to register the elusive ‘God particle’, without which matter as such would fail to exist because the particles would not ‘hold together’.
For that discovery, the author of the now-proven theory, British scientist Peter Higgs, won the Nobel Prize in Physics – along with François Englert and Robert Brout, because back in 1964 they independently proposed a theory about the existence of a yet-undiscovered particle that gives mass to other particles.
With the Higgs boson existence proven, it became the final ‘brick’ required to verify the Standard Model of particle physics.
“In nature, there are two types of particles: fermions and bosons,” a research associate at Fermilab, Ketino Kaadze, shared in a news release. “Fermions, quarks and leptons make up all the matter around us. Bosons are responsible for mediating interaction between the elementary particles.”
“We think that the Higgs boson is responsible for the generation of mass of fundamental particles,” Kaadze said, explaining that the electrons acquire their mass by interacting with the ‘God particle’, “the centerpiece that ties it all together.”
The $10 billion LHC will be fully ready in early 2015, when it will push two proton beams at a speed nearly that of light in order to collide them, creating conditions similar to those a mere split second after the Big Bang.
“The machine is coming out of a long sleep after undergoing an important surgical operation,” Frederick Bordry, director for accelerators and technology at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, told AP.
Yet creating Higgs bosons at the European Organization for Nuclear Research required the experts to amplify the center-of-mass energy in the LHC.
This time the largest ‘atom smasher’ in the world will get twice as much energy, which would make the proton beam inside a 27km-long underground construction circle it 11,000 times in a matter of a second.
“It’s effectively a new machine, poised to set us on the path to new discoveries,” CERN Director General Rolf Heuer said.
According to Fabiola Gianotti, a particle physicist and former spokesperson for the ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus) Experiment, which found the Higgs boson, finding the Higgs was only a “starting point,” National Geographic reported.
Having found Higgs boson, the LHC team will now try to prepare it better for staging next set of experiments, focusing on the search for ‘dark matter’, antimatter and previously-unknown dimensions of space and time.
The Higgs boson is not as well-known as the other elementary particles, Gianotti said.
So far modern physics have discovered 16 elementary particles, with the Higgs boson becoming number 17 – and it is “completely different than all of the others,” Gianotti, who now works with CERN, said.
“With a new friend, you want to know him or her better,” she concluded.
CERN Director General Rolf Heuer said that without the Higgs boson “you cannot exist.”
On Monday, CERN issued a new study showing that the Higgs boson decays into fermions, the particles that make up the matter itself, which makes the discovery of Higgs “a door to new physics,” Gianotti said.
“We know that the Standard Model of physics that we have now does not explain some puzzles in nature,” Ketino Kaadze said. “We know there has to be other models that can explain phenomena like dark matter and dark energy, and why we can have different generations of the same particle that are identical except for their mass. Finding the Higgs particle wasn’t the end of the story. It was the starting point on a new horizon.”