Top 5 Facts: Peter Higgs

1 High five – Physicists use standard deviation to determine an official discovery or not. At 5 sigma, the level reached when scientists pored over the Higgs boson experiments, there’s a one in 3.5 million chance the data is a fluke.

2 The ‘God particle’ – The Higgs boson has been nicknamed the ‘God particle’, attributed to the Nobel prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman, whose book originally referred to it as the ‘goddamn particle’, but this was later amended.

3 Need for speed – Two of the highest-energy particle accelerators in the world were employed to search for the Higgs boson. In addition to the LHC, the Fermilab’s Tevatron, near Chicago, IL, was used.

4 Big Bang – Conditions conducive to the creation of the Higgs boson – similar to those at the time of the Big Bang – were created by smashing elementary particles together at nearly the speed of light.

5 Humble Hawking – There were many who doubted the existence of the Higgs boson, including Professor Stephen Hawking, who bet Gordon Kane of Michigan University $100 that CERN would find nothing.

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