Geneva, Switzerland — Nearly a year after the announcement that scientists in Geneva had possibly discovered the existence of a particle that was believed to be the key to the universe, physicists are claiming to have confirmed their suspicions.
As previously reported, scientists announced last July that they had found what appeared to be the Higgs boson, also known as “the God particle.” The particle is part of a 50-year-old theory proposed by physicist and atheist Peter Higgs, who believed that a subatomic particle existed that held everything together and is what gives matter mass.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, also known as CERN, made the announcement in front of a group of scientists, stating that they were 99.99% sure that they had discovered the particle that Higgs alluded to in 1964.
“As a layman I now say, I think we have it,” declared Rolf-Dieter Heuer, CERN’s director, following a presentation about the discovered particle. “We have discovered a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson. It’s a historic milestone today.”
Physicists working on the Higgs project used the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva to smash together particles and observe the reaction. Reports state that it is extremely rare to detect the boson, as is it is observed only in an estimated one of every trillion collisions.
“Essentially, two teams collected data in separate experiments that smashed together millions of subatomic particles called protons to see what pieces emerged from the smash-ups,” explained Paul Padley of Rice University in Houston, Texas. “The particle … fell to pieces in ways predicted by Higgs and other physicists.”
Many physicists wince at the idea of the particle being dubbed as “the God particle,” preferring rather to believe that their discovery illustrates how the Big Bang came into being.
“We think a particle like the Higgs boson was actually a match that set off this cosmic explosion, which created everything we see around us, including the earth and even us,” stated theoretic physicist Michio Kaku at City University of New York.
However, others believe that the particle rather gives further support and evidence as to how God created the world to function and hold together from the beginning.
“I think anytime a new discovery is made in science, it is very exciting, and this is no exception,” astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle of the Institute for Creation Research told Christian News Network. “I think there is very good evidence that the particle does exist. … It confirms Scriptural authority because only in the Christian worldview do we expect the universe to behave in a consistent and predictable way that could be understood by the human mind.”
Dr. Danny Faulkner of Answers in Genesis, a former longtime astronomy and physics professor at the University of South Carolina, agreed.
“The Higgs boson particle probably does exist,” he stated. “[God] upholds the creation with the power of His word, and I think this is just a humanly-seen manifestation of that. I think it’s wonderful from our perspective to see that sort of thing.”
Both men stated that the assertion that the discovery of the Higgs boson affirms the Big Bang theory is misguided.
“That seems to really confuse two different issues,” Lisle said. “The Big Bang theory is really a conjecture about the past, about how the universe could really come into existence from nothing. And the Higgs Boson has nothing to do with that.”
“The Higgs boson is about how the universe works today,” he advised. “It appears to be the mechanism by which God has chosen to give different particles different masses.”
“It’s oversell, because it doesn’t really tell you [about the Big Bang] at all,” Faulker concurred. “[W]hat they’re testing is in the here and now, and we’re quite comfortable with testing how the world exists and how it now operates. … To say it proves the Big Bang or somehow increases your faith in it is just silly.”
Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, told reporters that if the particle ever destabilized, it could result in the demise of the universe.
“[M]any tens of billions of years from now there’ll be a catastrophe,” he contended. “It may be the universe we live in is inherently unstable, and at some point billions of years from now it’s all going to get wiped out.”
But Lisle said that the Higgs boson should not be considered a replacement for God.
“It is rather apparently the way that God has chosen to uphold the universe. That’s true of any law of physics,” he stated. “Gravity is an example. Gravity is not a replacement of God’s power; gravity is an example of God’s power. And that’s the way it is with the Higgs boson.”
CERN notes that it has much more analysis to conduct regarding its discovery.
“It remains an open question whether this is the Higgs boson of the Standard Model … or possibly the lightest of several bosons predicted in some theories that go beyond the Standard Model,” the organization advised. “Finding the answer to this question will take time.”
“The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent, and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is,” added CMS spokesperson Joe Incandela.
Scientists state it will likely take years before additional evidence is able to be presented.
Photo: Lucas Taylor/CERN