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Higgs Boson Discovered!

The “God particle” — the Higgs boson — exists, and that is good news. Without it, the universe would fly apart and we would have much more to worry about than a jobless recovery, immigrants sneaking across the border or the fate of “Obamacare.”

On the Fourth of July, after 50 years of theorizing, hard research and sending protons careening into each other at something near the speed of light, physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research announced that they have almost certainly detected a boson. For the uninitiated — which is about 99% of us — a boson is one of two elementary particles that quantum theory says make up the universe. The other particles are fermions, also known as matter, such as protons and electrons.

Fermions, the theory goes, acquire their mass by passing through a molasses-like field called a Higgs field, named after Peter Higgs, physicist at the University of Edinburgh. (By the way, I haven’t a clue what I’m talking about; this is simply my feeble attempt to summarize information presented by Los Angeles Times science reporter emeritus, Thomas H. Maugh II.) The assumption has been that something had to be holding all the matter in the universe together, but no one, until now, had actually found hard evidence of this pan-galactic molasses composed of boson particles. . .


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