Mystery on God’s particle to end next year

K. V. Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on March 12, 2018

ATLAS and CMS experiments present Higgs search status.

The debate between theists and atheists over the question of existence of God might continue for centuries to come. But over the God’s particle (Higgs boson), the debate and suspense will end around this time next year.

A top scientist working in one of the two teams that are probing the particle for the last 30 years says the scientific community is quite excited about the progress. “We do not rule out its existence. There are a few hints (about its existence),” Prof. Sridhara Rao Dasu says.

Higgs boson, named after the English physicist, who talked about this hypothetical elementary particle that would hold the key for our understanding of the Big Bang theory.

Prof. Sridhara Rao Dasu, the Hyderabad-born physicist working at Wisconsin University (the US) and on the project, sounds more positive than negative about the existence of the elusive particle. See his Twitter version on the project update — ‘Not not found it yet’. “We should have found it by now. But not yet,” he says.

What will happen, if it exists or doesn’t? Perhaps, nothing much. Your Sensex will remain the same. So will the way you carry out regular work. But it certainly change the way we understand cosmos, Prof. Rao says.

A day after CERN (the European Centre for Nuclear Research) announced exciting hints about the particle, Prof. Rao delivered an interesting lecture at the Birla Science Centre on the quest for Higgs boson.

Friends of Prof. Rao from Nizam’s College days in the early 80s, fondly recollects his brilliance in physics and his ability to solve Resnick and Halliday, considered to be a tough nut to crack, questions at a very young age.

After his Masters at University of Hyderabad, he was off to the US where he joined the prestigious project of finding the mysterious particle that has been playing hide-and-seek with the two teams — ATLAS and CMS.

Prof. Rao works on the latter team. Both teams made presentations at CERN on December 13, promising an “interesting situation soon”.

CERN says the experiments presented the status of their searches for the Standard Model Higgs boson. Their results are based on the analysis of considerably more data than those presented at the summer conferences, sufficient to make significant progress in the search for the Higgs boson, but not enough to make any conclusive statement on the existence or non-existence of the elusive Higgs.

“We have narrowed the mass range of the boson at 115-127 GeV (giga electric Volts). If it exists, it should be having a mass in this range,” Prof. Rao says.

To give you an idea, the typical AA battery has 1.5 eV.

“Tantalising hints have been seen by both experiments in this mass region, but these are not yet strong enough to claim a discovery,” CERN has said after the presentations.

ATLAS or CMS, who will win? There cannot be a loser, says Prof. Rao

Because, he says science is all about repeatability.


The team has collected data generated at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), the 27-km underground tunnel near Geneva. The multi-billion dollar experiment has already seen trillions proton-proton collisions in the last few months to catch a glimpse of Higgs boson.

But the problem with this ever elusive particle is it quickly disappears. The collider has a Giga pixel camera (compare this with 10-mega pixel professional Nikon’s or Canon’s!) that can take a billion pictures of quantum interactions. This has left scientists flickers of evidence of its existence.

“We have inconclusive hints. Discoveries may be around the corner. 2012 proves to be a good year. Stay tuned,” Prof. Rao says, as he answers questions from the young and seasoned physicists with aplomb.

Published on December 16, 2011

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