Higgs Boson Discovered
On July 5 the media universe was ablaze with the news that the scientific community discovered a particle that may be the Higgs boson. "More data are needed to study the properties of this new particle so we can say for sure that this is the long-sought Higgs boson as predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics and not a Higgs-like particle predicted from a new 'super theory'," said Nikos Varelas, professor in the Department of Physics and a long-time member of the international collaboration of scientists who have been searching for the Higgs for decades. Varelas was at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia on July 4, attending the live-feed CERN seminar and press conference. "This is indeed an incredible milestone for particle physics, perhaps one of the most important discoveries since the discovery of quarks in the late 1960s. The atmosphere at CERN and Fermilab was electric—with a standing ovation when the significance of the signals was presented," he said. "I strongly believe that there will be more breathtaking discoveries. Perhaps we will find out that the particle we just discovered is not the Standard Model Higgs boson, but a twin sibling with slightly different properties. This will be even more exciting news since it will be an indication of new physics beyond the Standard Model. I am thrilled to have contributed to this discovery."