The potential discovery of the Higgs boson is a gateway to a new era that could see humanity unlock some of the universe’s great mysteries, including dark matter and light-speed travel, scientists have claimed.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) unveiled data from the Large Hadron Collider Wednesday “consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson,” an elusive particle thought to help explain why matter has mass.
Scientists went into a frenzy following the announcement, speculating that it could one day make light-speed travel possible by “un-massing” objects or allow huge items to be launched into space by “switching off” the Higgs.
CERN scientist Albert de Roeck likened it to the discovery of electricity, when he said humanity could never have imagined its future applications.
“What’s really important for the Higgs is that it explains how the world could be the way that it is in the first millionth of a second in the Big Bang,” de Roeck said.
“Can we apply it to something? At this moment my imagination is too small to do that.”
A representation of traces of a proton-to-proton collision measured in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experience in the search for the Higgs boson.
Physicist Ray Volkas said “almost everybody” was hoping that, rather than fitting the so-called Standard Model of physics — a theory explaining how particles fit together in the Universe — the Higgs boson would prove to be “something a bit different.”
“If that was the case that would point to all sorts of new physics — physics that might have something to do with dark matter,” he said, referring to the hypothetical invisible matter thought to make up much of the universe.
“It could be, for example, that the Higgs particle acts as a bridge between ordinary matter, which makes up atoms, and dark matter, which we know is a very important component of the universe.”
“That would have really fantastic implications for understanding all of the matter in the universe, not just ordinary atoms,” he added.