The largest particle accelerator in the U.S., located just outside Chicago, made headlines last February when data from its labs suggested the existence of a new, heretofore undiscovered particle. Speculation immediately swept the physics community that perhaps the Illinois lab had upstaged Europe’s more powerful C.E.R.N. and was the first to discover the Higgs Boson, the particle that is thought to endow matter with mass. While more recent data supports the existence of the new particle, hopes that the Higgs Boson had been found now seem dashed.
What’s the Big Idea?
The search for the Higgs Boson trudges on. A large particle physics conference this summer is expected to confirm just what has been found at Fermilab. In addition, the scientific community is waiting to be updated about the newest discoveries at C.E.R.N., which is expected to either confirm or deny the correctness of the Standard Model once it reaches full power. “We expect new discoveries,” says S.L.A.C. National Accelerator Laboratory’s Joanne Hewett. “This is going to be the most exciting summer particle physics has had since 1974.”