ASPEN, Colo. — Physicists working at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider said today that they had discovered a new particle that looks for all the world like the Higgs boson, a long sought particle that is a key to understanding why elementary particles have mass and indeed to the existence of diversity and life in the universe.
科罗拉多州阿斯彭——今天，在欧洲核子研究中心(CERN)操作大型强子对撞机(Large Hadron Collider) 实验的物理学家们说，他们极有可能已经发现了被称作希格斯玻色子(Higgs boson)的新粒子。长期以来，科学家一直都在追寻希格斯玻色子的踪迹，因为它不仅是理解基本粒子如何获得质量的关键，还确确实实地是宇宙中多样化和生命存在的关键。
“I think we have it,” said Rolf Heuer, the director general of CERN in an interview from his office outside of Geneva. His words signaled what is probably the beginning of the end of the longest most expensive manhunt in the history of science and, if scientists are lucky, could lead to a new understanding of how the universe began.
“我认为我们找到它了，”CERN的主任罗尔夫·霍伊尔(Rolf Heuer) 在自己日内瓦郊外的办公室里接受的采访时说。他的言论标志着，科学史上耗时最长、耗资最大的“搜索活动”可能已接近终点。如果科学家们运气不错，这场大搜索可能将导向对宇宙起源的全新理解。
Dr. Heuer and others said that it was too soon to know for sure whether the new particle, which weighs in at 125 billion electron volts, the heaviest subatomic particle yet, fits the simplest description given by the Standard Model, the theory that has ruled physics for the last half century, or whether it is an imposter, a single particle or even the first of many. The latter possibilities are particularly exciting to physicists since they could point the way to new deeper ideas, beyond the Standard Model, about the nature of reality.
这种新粒子的质量为1250亿电子伏特，是迄今为止发现的最重的亚原子粒子。霍伊尔博士和其他科学家说 ， 要确切地判定新粒子是否符合标准模型理论(Standard Model)的基本表述，还是仅为冒牌货，或是单一的粒子，甚至是一组未知新粒子中的其中一颗，都还为时尚早。最后一种可能性尤其让物理学家激动，因为这样就可能指明一条道路，超越标准模型理论，从而创造出全新的更深层次的理论来理解世界的本质。而标准模型理论在过去半个世纪中一直处于物理学界的统治地位。
For now, some physicists are calling it a “Higgslike” particle.
“It’s great to discover a new particle, but you have find out what its properties are,” said John Ellis, a theorist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
“发现新粒子是一件很棒的事情，但你还得确定它的属性，” CERN的理论科学家约翰·埃利斯（John Ellis）说道。
Joe Incandela, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and spokesperson for one of two groups reporting data, Wednesday called the discovery, “ very, very significant. It’s something that may, in the end, be one of the biggest observations of any new phenomena in our field in the last 30 or 40 years, going way back to the discovery of quarks, for example.”
有两个研究小组共同报告CERN的研究数据，加州大学圣芭芭拉分校的(University of California, Santa Barbara) 的乔·英坎德拉(Joe Incandela)是其中一组的发言人。他周三称这项发现“非常、非常地重要。最终，它可能会成为过去三四十年内、我们领域里观察到的所有物理现象中最重大的发现。上次这种量级的进展可能还要追溯到夸克的发现。”
Here at the Aspen Center for Physics, a retreat for scientists that will celebrate its 50th birthday Saturday, bleary-eyed physicists watched their colleagues read off the results in a webcast from CERN. That was a scene that was duplicated in Melbourne, Australia, where physicists had gathered for a major conference, to Los Angeles to Chicago to Princeton, New York City, London, and beyond, everywhere that members of a curious species have dedicated their lives and fortunes to the search for their origins in a dark universe.
阿斯彭物理中心(Aspen Center for Physics)是一个可以让科学家放松休养的地方，它即将在周六迎来50周年庆。睡眼惺忪的物理学家们在这里盯着CERN传来的网络视频，看着他们的同行宣读结果。同样的情形可以在澳大利亚的墨尔本看到。物理学家已经因为一个学术大会聚集在那里。无论是洛杉矶、芝加哥、普林斯顿、纽约、伦敦，还是其他地方，只要这个神秘族群的成员身在那里，这一场景就会纷纷上演。这些人为探讨黑暗宇宙中的万物起源贡献了毕生精力和财富。
At CERN itself, 1,000 people stood in line all night to get into the auditorium, according to Guido Tonelli, a CERN physicist who said the atmosphere was like a rock concert. Peter Higgs, the University of Edinburgh theorist for whom the boson is named, entered the meeting to a standing ovation.
CERN的物理学家圭多·托内利(Guido Tonelli)表示，研究中心有1000名科学家整夜都在排队等候进入礼堂，气氛就像一场摇滚音乐会。爱丁堡大学(the University of Edinburgh)的理论科学家彼得·希格斯(Peter Higgs)进入会场时，全场起立欢迎。这一玻色子就是以他的名字命名的。
Confirmation of the Higgs boson or something very much like it would constitute a rendezvous with destiny for a generation of physicists who have believed in the boson for half a century without ever seeing it. And it affirms a grand view of a universe ruled by simple and elegant and symmetrical laws, but in which everything interesting in it, like ourselves, is a result of flaws or breaks in that symmetry.
According to the Standard Model, which has ruled physics for 40 years, the Higgs boson is the only visible and particular manifestation of an invisible force field, a cosmic molasses that permeates space and imbues elementary particles that would otherwise be massless with mass. Particles wading through it would gain heft.
Without this Higgs field, as it is known, or something like it, physicists say all the elementary forms of matter would zoom around at the speed of light, flowing through our hands like moonlight. There would be neither atoms nor life.
Physicists said that they would probably be studying the new Higgs particle for years. Any deviations from the simplest version of the boson — and there are hints of some already — could open a gateway to new phenomena and deeper theories that answer questions left hanging by the Standard Model: What, for example, is the dark matter that provides the gravitational scaffolding of galaxies?
Physicists had been holding their breath and perhaps icing the Champagne ever since last December. Two teams of about 3,000 physicists each operate giant detectors in the Large Hadron Collider, the world's biggest physics machine, which collides protons and sorts the debris from the primordial fireballs left afterward. Last winter they both reported hints of the same particle. They were not able, however, to rule out the possibility that it was a statistical fluke.
Since then the collider has more than doubled the number of collisions it has recorded.
Both groups said that the likelihood that their signal was a result of a chance fluctuation was less than one chance in 3.5 million, so-called “five sigma,” which is the gold standard in physics for a discovery.
On that basis, Dr. Heuer said that he had decided only Tuesday afternoon to call the Higgs result a “discovery.”