Last Wednesday, the CERN, or Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, the European organization for Nuclear Research, was on the spotlight. It was day of much celebration among physicists around the globe and at the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Physicists working with the Large Hadron Collider, a humongous subterranean particle accelerator, have been able to discover the Higgs-Boson, the supposed key to the explanation of why particles have mass, and may provide the key to understanding how the universe came to be. Without the Higgs, scientists say, all matter would just flit about at the speed of light, flowing and beyond grasp or grab.
The Higgs is not a quark, by the way. Remember when they discovered the quark sometime between 1964-1968? That caused quite a stir in the particle physics community. Now this!
Of course, it’s a little early to explain everything but it is certainly a break through after decades of work. Peter Higgs, the scientist who first published a paper in 1964 in Edinburgh University about a particle that explains how an ordered universe came about after the Big Bang, has lived to see all his work validated by this discovery. His theory was, of course, rejected, early on by other scientists. Today, he’s an octogenarian, and must be celebrating with all the other scientists who have worked unrelentingly to find these answers.
What a monumental event in the history of Science! In the history of mankind! What a dedicated, persevering, resilient and passionate bunch of people these men and women are, working against criticism, even mockery, for something that only a small minority of individuals can even comprehend. What a testimonial to our insatiable desire to understand the world we live in.
P.S. I wonder what the bunch of people in certain parts of our country who are arbitrarily modifying history and science textbooks to promote their own beliefs about evolution, called creationism. Will they just be keeping mum? Or will they deny or even condemn this breakthrough as the work of heretics?