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Today’s newspaper | Ten years with the “God particle” that explains what we see and who we are

The Higgs boson, when it existed only in theory, was called the “God particle” because it gives mass to all the elementary particles that make life, the planets, and the universe as they are and not otherwise. Announcing his discovery ten years ago made history.

Hadrons (known as the LHC) and a strategy of “cooperative competition” between scientists at the European Center for Particle Physics (CERN), who after more than a decade of searching for the Higgs Boson were able to discover it with scientific certainty in 2012.

This elementary particle was a key component in explaining the origin of the universe, but until then it existed only in a theory put forward by British physicists Peters Higgs and Belgian François Englert, which was confirmed as such, completing a missing piece in the Standard Model of Physics.

There are a few fundamental particles, but none like the Higgs particle, because without it matter would exist but there would be no mass.

If the mass of the electron were different from what it is, the atoms would not exist and we and our surroundings would not be the same, just like the particles that make the sun shine; If its mass were different, that brightness would be faster or slower, radically changing life on Earth, explains Carmen Garcia, a research professor at the Institute of Particle Physics in Valencia.

What is left to know about the Higgs boson?

Celso Martinez, a researcher at the Institute of Physics in Cantabria, was part of the pre-LHC accelerator team that searched for the Higgs Boson between 1989 and 2000, with no definitive results, and now a decade has passed – like thousands of other physicists at CERN and scientific institutions around the world – Study their properties and follow clues that lead to new discoveries.

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“This particle is very special, and since 2012 we have been studying its properties in detail and they are all investigated according to the theory,” says Martinez, a representative of the CMS detector in Spain.

The LHC, in addition to the 27-kilometre in circumference subsurface ring during which alignments are produced at record energy levels, consists of two main detectors (CMS and ATLAS), where data is read and selected, which is then processed in a sophisticated computer system.

In an interview with Efe, Martínez recalls that for all his successes, the Standard Model of Physics (something like the most complete model of the universe) shows some “failures” and that in the new research cycle that begins with the doors of the LHC it doesn’t come close to other theories.

Among those that will come in handy is supersymmetry, which includes the Standard Model, but raises differences such that there are five types of Higgs bosons and not one.

“So we’re trying to figure out if this one we’ve seen is one of five or one,” Martinez says, although he acknowledges that “nothing has ever been seen” from supersymmetry.

More energy for new discoveries

Experiments at CERN want to continue to “unravel” and understand the Higgs Boson, but this week begins a new phase with higher energy as it is expected to make new discoveries about other aspects of the universe that are still great to this day. Mystery, like dark matter.

“You can ask me how to look for a particle that can’t be seen in the detector, what is done is to measure the energy. I know how much energy I have from the collision of protons and when I measure the final energy I see that there is energy I’m missing and it’s going in one direction so a particle escaped from me. That’s how we look at the LHC,” explains Garcia.

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Dark matter makes up about 25% of the universe and is so named because it does not interact and does not emit light, so it cannot be observed directly, which means that its mass is unknown.

For this reason, one goal is to recreate dark matter – as happened with the Higgs boson – in order to study it. One possibility is that it is another fundamental particle.

an eraser

Dark matter can be compared to a rubber band that holds galaxies together.

“Our galaxy, which is within the Milky Way, rotates around the center but does not rotate as if they were clusters of matter, but in a compact way and that compact mass is dark matter,” Garcia adds.

CERN has nearly four years to answer these and other questions with its revamped LHC, which from next week will operate at 13.6 billion electronvolts (TeV), allowing it to recreate what happened in the early moments of creation. Universe.