Duration: 45 minutes
First broadcast: Thursday 18 November 2004
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Higgs Boson particle. One weekend in 1964 the Scottish scientist Peter Higgs was walking in the Cairngorm Mountains. On his return to his laboratory in Edinburgh the following Monday, he declared to his colleagues that he had just experienced his ‘one big idea’ and now had an answer to the mystery of how matter in the universe got its mass. That big idea took many years of refining, but it has now generated so much international interest and has such an important place in physics that well over one billion pounds is being spent in the hope that he was right. It’s the biggest science project on Earth; the quest to find the ‘Higgs Boson’, a fundamental constituent of nature that – if it does exist – has such a central role in defining the universe that it’s also known as the God Particle.
What is the Higgs Boson? Why is it so important to scientists and how are they planning to find it?
With Jim Al-Khalili, Senior Lecturer in Physics at the University of Surrey; David Wark, Professor of Experimental Physics at Imperial College London and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory; Professor Roger Cashmore, former Research Director at CERN and now Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford.