Today, a huge
breakthrough was made in physics. And it all rests on the seemingly simple graph below: it shows the detection of what is almost certainly the Higgs boson, a fundamental particle that is predicted to be critical in giving other particles mass!
I suspect that graph may well be in physics books for decades to come:
The bottom line is that two independent detectors at the Large Hadron Collider have found a new particle at an energy of 126 GeV (about 125 times the mass of a proton) with a confidence level of - get this - 99.9999%. This new particle is consistent with predictions made by the Standard Model of particle physics of what the Higgs should look like. This discovery is so strong that scientists are essentially saying it must be the Higgs boson.
This is a breakthrough in modern physics, a monumental
first step in understanding one of the most basic questions that can be asked: what is mass?
I have a description of this discovery, how it was done, and what it means here:http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/07/04/higgs/
There are links in there with all the other information you need to understand this critical and amazing and wonderful giant leap for science that was made today.