July 4th will never be the same. As a child growing up in the United States, it meant flags, humidity, Sousa marches, democracy, and fireworks. Now it means something else: Switzerland, laboratories, technical wizardry, Higgs particles and — fireworks!
Yes, this picture is a representation of the data taken by the ATLAS experiment during a 2012 proton-proton collision at the Large Hadron Collider [LHC], in which (probably) a Higgs particle was created and swiftly decayed to (i.e. was transformed into) a muon, an antimuon, an electron and an anti-electron [“positron”]. Also flying about are many proton-like particles, called hadrons, the debris always seen in a proton-proton collision. Boom! (Admittedly a very quiet boom!)
2012 was a remarkable year that we’ll never forget, and its July 4th, when the Higgs particle’s discovery was announced, was unique. [And if you’re still confused about what the…
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