Beachborough Higgs Boson

Discovery Lecture The Higgs Boson

This week’s Discovery Lecture was by William Murray, a researcher with the ATLAS experiment at CERN and professor at Warwick University. He is just back from Geneva where he has spent the last 6 years discovering the Higgs Boson. Form I & II were delighted to be joined by some of our Form VI pupils, one of whom has written this fascinating report for us.The Higgs Boson, a search for the unknown.The lecture started with interesting ideas showing that to see something small, you need something smaller. To prove the point, we bounced a netball on an upturned tea tray, it came straight back, whereas a tennis ball flew off at random angles. We later discovered how Rutherford’s experiment works. We rolled a marble into some shaving foam, flattening it. We then rolled it again into another dollop of foam and watched it bounce off proving something heavy was inside, in our case a nail, we could not use particles like Rutherford. We learnt a great deal about the Large Hadron Collider and how it works, for example, particles are propelled using magnets eight times stronger than Earth’s gravitational pull.The Higgs Boson was found through a consistent lump in the number of Gev (1 gev is equal to how much energy is needed for a particle) a number of years ago. It was named after Peter Higgs who said “A theory is only a theory if you can prove it with maths”. The Higgs Boson was descibed as “ a ripple in an empty fish tank when it was disturbed through a sudden movement (collision in particles). We do not know what the discovery of the Higgs Boson will do to improve society, it could help us get to space, or be used as a principle for mobile phones, but, after all, nobody knew what the theory of electromagnetism would do for the world either, and now it powers a speaker, so who knows…

Reports by Adam L – Form VI