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Mysteries of the Higgs boson

Michalis Koratzinos gave us a guided tour of the ATLAS underground chamber. «Everything begins with a simple hydrogen bottle from which we take a proton beam. The electromagnets are cooled using helium at -271 degrees Celsius to ensure the beam travels in the same direction. This means creating the coldest area in the whole universe. The particles are accelerated by increasing their energy, initially to 450 GeV (giga-electron-volts) and then to 7 TeV (tetra-electron-volts). In order to produce the cold temperatures necessary for the experiment five weeks of preparation are required each time,» he explained. «If the theory is correct, the collision of the protons might create small black holes which will disperse very quickly,» said Constantinos Sfetsos, physics professor at Patras University, who is working at CERN on sabbatical leave. «The smaller the black hole, the quicker it dematerializes. If we manage to make black holes large enough to stop them from dematerializing then we can look at them and measure them and produce evidence that our universe possesses other dimensions,» he added. If this occurs previous theories on parallel worlds will take on flesh and bone. The greatest challenge though is the discovery of the Higgs boson, also known as the God Particle. «The Standard Model, which describes how the four forces interact and how matter is formed, does not explain how particles acquire mass. For this it is necessary to prove the existence of Higgs boson particle which is diffused in the universe and gives particles their characteristic mass,» explained Paris Sfykas, an Athens University professor and CERN researcher who is in charge of the second largest particle detector, CMS, which will probe the same phenomena as the ATLAS detector using different technology. Physicist Peter Higgs predicted that in addition to the field he discovered there is a particle which is produced by this field and which can be detected. If it is not found, the models will have to be adjusted in order to locate the error.