A Nelson specialist firm for particle accelerator components and software contributed to efforts in Switzerland that recently resulted in the discovery of the Higgs Boson, also known as the God particle.
“We have quoted on jobs at CERN,” said Dr. Morgan Dehnel who is a part owner of D-Pace. “We actually haven’t won any hardware contracts there, but we have sold an ion optics beamline simulator software. So that’s our direct connection.
“The software though is relatively basic. They might use for some initial sorting out of some sort of beamline or something like that. They have have much, much more sophisticated and precise softwares that they would use for final work.” said Dehnel.
This particular discovery marks a major milestone for the physics community, as it furthers humans’ understanding of the universe. The Higgs Boson is a particle that fits into the Standard Model and helps unify it.
“The Standard Model has a variety of particles like quarks, photons, leptons, electrons and so forth. The model was predicted to follow with the data that they [scientists] found, but to make it all work they then realized that there must be certain other particles that hadn’t been discovered yet,” he said.
“They found quite a few of them. So that’s what gave them the idea for the standard model, but there were a few missing parts. Over the years they have been chipping away and discovering new particles, and the Higgs Boson is the last main one. At this stage it’s completing the Standard Model.”
The Higgs Boson is what is believed to communicate mass to particles, just as photons communicate light. Currently, there are no real world applications for this discovery, but scientists like Dehnel are hopeful there one day will be.
“It will be interesting to see what comes out of it,” said Dehnel. “A lot of people think our government is angling towards the idea that research must be applied, but it doesn’t work like that. At a certain point in the 1930s we discovered the neutron. They thought ‘How are we going to use this,’ but now we use neutrons for all sorts of things.
“Right now there is no practical purpose of the Higgs Boson, but in the future there may be ways we could use it.”
The research of the world’s scientists is never done though, as there are still pieces to the puzzle that need to be solved.
“I don’t think we will ever figure out how everything works. That’s why you call it a model,” said Dehnel. “These models enable us to work with nature and to do things, and that’s how we can confirm that something, in how we are modeling things, must be right.”