Nov 08, 2014 09:32 PM EST
Before the Large Hadron Collider began smashing protons together in 2012, researchers feared that the European Organization for Nuclear Research's (CERN) project could create a black hole that would engulf us all. But the particles met at extreme speeds, and what researchers found wasn't a black hole, but rather an entirely new subatomic particle never seen before. Believed to be the ever-elusive Higgs Boson particle that is thought to give atoms their mass, what was found could not be identified by current models though CERN researchers made an empirical call, naming it the Higgs Boson.
In the preface to a new book entitled "Starmus", published last month, Cambridge cosmologist Stephen Hawking said that if indeed the particle is the Higgs Boson, then CERN's discovery could lead to the demise of the universe if its contents were to become unstable. But a new research analysis published this month in the journal Physical Review D, says that Hawking and the rest of the universe may need not fear, because the particle may in fact not be what it appears.
Compiled by an international research team of physicists, the study analyzed data from CERN's recent discovery, and while they agree that the team had found a new particle never seen before, they scrutinize the data to simply say that empirical evidence may also point to particles other than the Higgs Boson.
"The CERN data is generally taken as evidence that the particle is the Higgs particle" physicist from the University of Southern Denmark who was involved in the study, Mads Toudal Frandsen says. "It is true that the Higgs particle can explain the data but there can be other explanations, we would also get this data from other particles."
Pulling from alternative universal creation theories to find an answer as to what the particle could be, Frandsen and his colleagues look outside the Standard Model that identifies the Higgs particle as the missing piece of the theory, and look to the possibility of a new undiscovered fifth force of nature.
"We believe that it may be a so-called techni-higgs particle" Frandsen says. "This particle is in some ways similar to the Higgs particle - hence half of the name."
And while many are now familiar with the Higgs Boson particle's role as the proposed mass-giver of the atom, the general public and even many physicists are still not quite sure as to what role the "techni-higgs particle" serves.
"A techni-higgs particles is not an elementary particle. Instead it consists of so-called techni-quarks, which we believe are elementary" Frandsen says. "Techni-quarks may bind together in various ways to form, for instance techni-higgs particles, while other combinations form dark matter. We therefore expect to find several different particles at the Large Hadron Collider, all built by techni-quarks."
And while the theory may just be that, a theory, the international research team believes that future experimentation with particle colliders will reveal the answers to the definite identities of what researchers at CERN are seeing now -- perhaps to illuminate the fifth force they believe may be implicated in the results.
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