The Higgs boson: Closing in on the Sasquatch of particle physics

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

In a centuries-old Swedish castle near the Arctic Circle, in the fading light of a summer midnight, two of the most brilliant particle physicists in the world made a bet over chocolate.

Does the Higgs boson exist?

It’s no idle query: The underpinnings of particle physics, and our assumptions of how all matter interacts, rely on the particle’s not-quite-proven existence. The 47-year search for that proof now costs a billion dollars a year. And esoteric as their goal seems, scientists argue it’s well worth the effort.

On Tuesday, says Robert Garisto, the physicist and editor judging the castle bet, the public finds out “who’s got to save up money to buy chocolate.”

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