The greatest mystery

Source:  TOI on line.

On a big news week like the last one – US out of Iraq, Britain out of Europe, Europe out of money – one could be forgiven for missing the fact that scientists may just have discovered the secret of what allows the universe to exist. As a leading American cosmologist put it, the identification of the Higgs boson, if borne out, is “perhaps one of the greatest triumphs of the human intellect in recent memory”.

After a series of experiments conducted in the world’s largest laboratory for subatomic physical research – an underground concrete donut known as the Large Hadron Collider – researchers at CERN in Geneva let it be known that they might be closing in on the nature of the universe. The scientists’ formulation was tentative, and their evidence had been gathered by two separate teams of physicists whose experiments were independent of one another. These two distinctions are entirely in keeping with the scientific method and spirit that suffuses the CERN project.

Scientists have pursued the Higgs boson because it taps the root of a fundamental paradox. The more one breaks the material world down into its constituent elements, the more elusive it becomes to pinpoint what it’s actually made of.


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