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God Particle

December 14, 2011 by staff 

God Particle, Canada has been offered a seat at the table controlling one of the world’s largest and arguably most exciting experiments, which has given scientists their first glimpse of the “God particle.”

Scientists sifting through the wreckage of high-energy collisions in an underground lab in Europe announced Tues-day they have seen “tantalizing hints” of the long-sought particle, more formally known as the Higgs boson, which could help explain why there is mass in the universe.

Canada, which now collaborates on the $10-billion experiment that is re-creating conditions at the time of the Big Bang, has been asked to join as an “associate member,” said Nigel Lockyer, director of the TRIUMF national particle physics lab at the University of B.C.

“It would be quite exciting for a country like Canada to have a say in what is THE particle physics project in the world today,” Lockyer said.

He, like many physicists across Canada, was linked into the announcement in a crowded seminar room at the European Center for Nuclear Research near Geneva.

There was applause as the leaders of two teams working at CERN’s underground Large Hadron Collider described how their groups may both have had a glimpse of the elusive Higgs boson particle.

The feed to the seminar crashed shortly after it began, as scientists and viewers around the world logged in to hear the much-anticipated results.

“I think they were over-whelmed,” said Rob McPherson of the University of Victoria, who speaks for the Canadian physicists working with ATLAS, one of the two enormous detectors inside the collider. He was anxious to hear what their “friendly collaborators” had uncovered with the second detector.

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