TAU Researchers Part of Team of International Scientists to Uncover the "God Particle"

Higgs boson particle crucial for explaining how the universe was built

God particleTel Aviv University's Prof. Yaron Oz, dean of TAU's Faculty of Exact Sciences, and Prof. Aharon Levy of TAU's School of Physics and Astronomy were among the theoretical and experimental physicists who made the groundbreaking discovery of a particle known as the Higgs boson or "God particle," a key to understanding how the universe was built. The discovery was made at Geneva's European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) and announced in early July.

First proposed in 1964 by a team of six physicists, including University of Edinburgh Professor Peter Higgs, the particle is said to explain the existence of mass. In particle physics, bosons are one of the two fundamental classes of subatomic particles. The Higgs boson is the final building block, missing until now from the "Standard Model," which describes the structure of matter in the universe. The model is to physicists what the theory of evolution is to biologists.

Prof. Yaron Oz
Prof. Yaron Oz

Albert Einstein would have been "very happy" at the discovery, Prof. Oz noted.

The term "God particle" originated with Prof. Max Lederman, an American experimental physicist who won the Nobel Prize in physics for his work with neutrinos. Prof. Lederman wrote a book using the term, "by which he meant the mysterious particle that's part of everything," Prof. Levy says. "Particle physics aims at understanding what conditions created the Big Bang that created the Universe, to look backwards as much as possible at that event."

Prof. Oz congratulated the group of researchers not only on their scientific achievement but also on their ability to put political considerations aside and work together for the good of humanity. Calling the huge CERN facility "what the UN should be," he said that "everybody is devoted to making the discovery as a team, without any politics or vested interests. I even worked with Iranians there, and there was never a harsh word between us. We all just want to understand. It was has already been proven that the nationals of the world can function together harmoniously for joint targets."

For the full story on the discovery of the Higgs boson particle, see the Jerusalem Post story: http://www.jpost.com/Health/Article.aspx?id=276274.

For more astronomy and astrophysics news from Tel Aviv University, click here.

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