German Researchers Contribute to Detection of Higgs Boson "God Particle"
Enlarge image From left, Belgian physicist Francois Englert, Rolf Heuer, director general of CERN, and British physicist Peter Higgs (© picture alliance / dpa)
The detection of a new sub-atomic particle by scientists at the CERN European research center in Geneva has been hailed by German Federal Minister for Research Annette Schavan as a “scientific sensation.” There is a high probability that the particle detected is the famed “God particle,” named the “Higgs boson” particle after Peter Higgs, a physicist who theorized its existence. Scientists have been searching for the particle for decades and is thought by the standard model of physics to be responsible for fact that materials have mass.
“The perseverance and curiosity of the scientists has been rewarded,” Schavan said Wednesday in Berlin. The discovery was initially presented at a scientific conference in Geneva. The probability of error on the part of the scientists is below one in one million. Further research is expected to show whether the discovery is indeed one of the last missing pieces of the building blocks of the universe or whether they have found something entirely unexpected.
Enlarge image An EPA/CERN handout depicts some of the research activities that went into detecting the Higgs-like particle. (© picture alliance / dpa) Schavan pointed out that German researchers had taken a leading role in the particle’s discovery. CERN's general director is the German particle physicist Rolf-Dieter Heuer. In the past 15 years, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research provided funding of 175 million euros to German universities for their work with the CERN particle accelerator. In addition, Germany currently contributes around 180 million euros annually in membership fees, thereby contributing roughly 20 percent to CERN’s budget.