Higg's Boson: A Discussion on the Discovery of “God’s Particle”

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On Monday, May 24th 2012, the Guarini Institute for Public Affairs hosted a discussion on the newly discovered Higg’s Boson entitled “Boson Friend: A Discussion on the Discovery of ‘God’s Particle’”. Stefano Arnone, a practicing theoretical physicist and teacher at John Cabot University, and Eugenio Del Re, a respected experimental physicist and a professor at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, led the discussion on the function and importance of the Higg’s Boson.

The speakers began with a short explanation of the composition of matter. They walked the audience through the functions of sub-atomic particles and displayed how our conception of matter does not make sense without the existence of another particle: The Higg’s Boson hypothesized by Peter Higgs and his team in 1964. Professors Arnone and Del Re compared our pre-2012 conceptualization of matter to watching a soccer match without the ability to see the ball. They explained that we can study soccer and draw many inferences about how the game is won, why the players are running up and down the field or why the fans are cheering without the soccer ball, but these hypotheses are much more complicated than if we assume the existence of a soccer ball.

Higg’s looked at matter and “imagined a soccer ball”. He proposed the existence of a yet undiscovered sub-atomic particle, the invisible “soccer ball”, that dramatically simplified our conception of matter, which he termed the “Higg’s Boson”. Arnone and Del Re revealed that a theory is never good enough for the scientific community and that many physicists wanted proof of this controversial idea. They asked the question: “Where is this Higg’s Boson. Can we see it?”

Eugenio Del Re and Stefano Arnone proceeded to fast forward from the 60s to July 4th 2012, when scientists at the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (or CERN), discovered a new sub-atomic particle they believe to fit the characteristics of the Higgs Boson. The speakers continued by explaining the importance of the discovery and how it contributes to our understanding of matter. Arnone and Del Re laid out the Gauge Theory and explained how the Higgs Potential provides the Spontaneous Symmetry Break required to explain the “action at a distance” behavior of gauge bosons inherent to the Gauge Theory and therefore the Standard Model.

The discussion was concluded by a passionate question and answer session where well informed theoretical physicists and experimental physicists debated the nature of the Standard Model and the Spontaneous Symmetry Break. This was followed by a light reception.