News

Higgs search finds new particle

Scientists at CERN have announced results giving the strongest indication yet that the Higgs boson particle exists.

Peter Higgs, Emeritus Professor of Physics

Support for new physics research

Following recent discoveries at CERN, The University of Edinburgh is to launch a new centre to support future research in theoretical physics.

The Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics will bring together scientists from around the world to seek an even deeper understanding of how the universe works.

University to support new physics research

View of the Large Hadron Collider tunnel sector 3-4, CERN

Newly analysed data from the underground facility near Geneva has discovered a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson, which was first postulated by the University’s Professor Peter Higgs.

Tiny particle

Professor Higgs developed his theory of the particle that bears his name when he was a researcher at the University in the early 1960s.

Since then, the Higgs boson has formed a crucial strand of particle physics theory.

It is thought to be a tiny yet key particle that enables all other particles to have mass.

Scientists at CERN are to be congratulated on today’s results, which are a great achievement for the Large Hadron Collider and other experiments leading up to this.

Professor Peter HiggsEmeritus Professor, The University of Edinburgh

Physical universe

The Higgs is a missing link in the standard model of physics, a theory that defines our understanding of the physical world.

If the particle exists, it validates our understanding of fundamental physics.

Video interview

Professor Higgs spoke to invited journalists about the announcement by scientists at CERN, which gave the strongest indication yet that the Higgs boson particle exists.

The efforts of our team at Edinburgh have helped make these results from CERN a reality. We are very proud to have contributed to these findings.

Dr Victoria MartinLecturer, School of Physics and Astronomy

University input

Some 15 scientists from the University are involved in the research at CERN, including some who were taught by Professor Higgs.

The LHC smashes protons together at high energy, to recreate the conditions that existed just after the big bang.

Complex experiments

This is truly an exciting time and comes after many years of hard work.

Dr Phil ClarkeReader, School of Physics and Astronomy

Under these conditions, Higgs bosons may be produced, but these decay almost as soon as they are formed.

Scientists search instead for other particles left behind by the Higgs’ decay.

For every billion proton collisions, about 1 Higgs bosons would expect to be seen - so scientists have to carry out myriad experiments and then dig deep into their data to find evidence of the particle.

I’m astounded at the amazing speed with which these results have emerged. They are a testament to the expertise of the researchers and elaborate technologies in place. I never expected this to happen in my lifetime and shall ask my family to put some champagne in the fridge.

Professor Peter HiggsEmeritus Professor, The University of Edinburgh

LHC image courtesy of CERN.