Valdosta Daily Times

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February 15, 2013

Lecture Focuses on the Controversial "God Particle"

VALDOSTA — Lecture Focuses on the Controversial "God Particle"

The College of Arts and Sciences Spring Lecture Series continues this month with discussion about a particle that has sparked worldwide religious and scientific debate over the creation of life. Harrison Prosper, professor of physics at Florida State University, will deliver a lecture titled “The Particle that Changed Everything” Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. in Bailey Science Auditorium.

During the lecture Prosper will discuss exactly how the discovery of the Higgs boson, also known as “the God particle,” could change the current understanding of life and the universe. The boson is believed to explain how all matter acquires mass. Prior to the idea of the Higgs boson’s existence there was no explanation, other than religious reference, to explain what gives substance to all particles.

In an effort to confirm that the Higgs boson does exist, Prosper has collaborated with other renowned physicists to study matter at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which houses the world’s largest and most advanced particle accelerator. The machine is capable of producing the data needed to confirm that the Higgs boson does, in fact, exist. Prosper will talk about how this is possible, what this discovery means for the future of physics and its importance.

The Higgs boson has been making headlines since last summer. On July 4, 2012, scientists announced that they had discovered a previously unknown particle suspected to be the Higgs boson. The idea of the Higgs boson first came about in 1964 when Peter Higgs and five other physicists developed a theory to explain how electrons and other particles acquire mass. Their groundbreaking research resulted in what is now referred to as the standard model, which explains strong force, electromagnetic force, and the basic building blocks of matter.

“The Particle that Changed Everything” is the second lecture held during the Spring Lecture Series. The next event, “Arab Spring Revisited,” is to be held Tuesday, March 26, at 6:30 p.m., in the Bailey Science Auditorium. These events are free and open to the public.

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