Sunday, April 19, 2015
Sunday Science Blog
"Higgs boson walks into a church, and the priest says, 'I'm sorry we don't allow Higgs bosons to come to churches.' And [the Higgs] says, 'But without me, you can't have mass.'"
Mother of Higgs boson found in superconductors
A weird theoretical cousin of the Higgs boson, one that inspired the decades-long hunt for the elusive particle, has been properly observed for the first time. The discovery bookends one of the most exciting eras in modern physics.
The Higgs field, which gives rise to its namesake boson, is credited with giving other particles mass by slowing their movement through the vacuum of space. First proposed in the 1960s, the particle finally appeared at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, in 2012, and some of the theorists behind it received the 2013 Nobel prize in physics.
But the idea was actually borrowed from the behaviour of photons in superconductors, metals that, when cooled to very low temperatures, allow electrons to move without resistance. Near zero degrees kelvin, vibrations are set up in the superconducting material that slow down pairs of photons travelling through, making light act as though it has a mass.
SPACEThe Higgs Boson May Disintegrate into Dark Matter