What's the Latest Development?

Scientists at Europe's CERN physics laboratories believe they have found the Higgs boson, an elementary particle made of energy which is capable of transmitting fundamental forces, much like the photon transmits light. According to the Standard Model, which has ruled physics for the last half-century, the Higgs boson is the only manifestation of a vast field of energy which imbues elementary particles that would otherwise be massless with mass. "Without this Higgs field, as it is known, or something like it, physicists say all the elementary forms of matter would zoom around at the speed of light, flowing through our hands like moonlight. There would be neither atoms nor life."

What's the Big Idea?

While physicists believe they have found the particle, there is still a great deal that remains unknown. By the end of the year, they hope to triple the amount of data available to analyze. Depending on how the particle ultimately behaves, theories such as string theory and supersymmetry could could be supported or overturned. According to Eisensteinian physics, the Higgs field can become suffused with energy that exerts an antigravitational force. "Such fields have been proposed as the source of an enormous burst of expansion, known as inflation, early in the universe and, possibly, as the secret of the dark energy that now seems to be speeding up the expansion of the universe."

Photo credit: CERN