Scientists in Geneva, Switzerland, report that they have finally found the elusive subatomic particle called a Higgs boson. Sometimes called the “God Particle,” it was first predicted in 1964, and scientists have been looking for it ever since.
Dr. Jesse White, a physicist at CERN, is credited with designing the experiment that led to the discovery. “The idea came to me when I was doing my laundry,” White said. “I just finished folding everything and noticed a sock was missing. As usual. And then it struck me – if we knew where missing socks went, maybe we’d find the missing boson there, too!”
White designed a unique experiment where radioactive tracers were added to the socks of all the scientists at CERN. “Anytime a sock went missing we’d use an incredibly expensive machine with lots of blinking lights and beeping noises to search for it,” he said. “Sometimes the errant sock was found under a bed, or simply stuck to the inside of the washer. That was good for the guy missing a sock, but no help in finding the boson.”
However, years of careful research revealed that socks were slowly coming apart, until they became so fragile that one day they’d literally dissolve in the washer or dryer. “We finally did a really close examination of the lint filter,” White said, “and sure enough, that’s where the Higgs boson was hiding!”
“It makes sense when you think about it,” he said. “Most people, scientists included, just aren’t that careful about cleaning the lint filter. Oh, they think they get most of it, but if you look at it under a microscope, you’ll see lots of teeny, tiny particles stuck there. Most of the material is from socks. But look close enough, and you’re likely to find one of those particles is a Higgs boson.”
Although it won’t be official until peer review, it is expected that the discovery will be confirmed. (A previous discovery claim in 1973 was dismissed when the embarrassed researcher admitted he’d thought everyone had been looking for Higgs’ bosom. The lawsuit brought by Mrs. Higgs was settled out of court.)