Higgs boson subject of free talk in Waterford college


The Higgs boson is the biggest discovery in physics for years, but although most people have heard of it, many have no idea what it is or why it is so important, said Dr Cormac O’Raifeartaigh.

The physics lecturer at Waterford Institute of Technology hopes to help people understand the Higgs when he delivers a talk there this evening entitled The God Particle at Last?

He likened its discovery to that of the atom back in 1908. “The theorists were pretty sure it was there but no one had ever spotted it.”

This all changed last July when Cern, Europe’s centre for nuclear research, announced it had found something very like a Higgs boson. Cern scientists await the accumulation of more data before they can confirm whether it is the Higgs.

Dr O’Raifeartaigh will explain what the Higgs is and how it fits into our understanding of the universe. “It is key to our understanding of the fundamental structure of matter,” he said.

He will also describe how the Higgs particle was created and detected using the 27km long Large Hadron Collider at Cern, which sends particles spinning around at close to the speed of light.

The free talk is at 7pm tonight in the auditorium on the institute’s main campus on the Cork Road.