An internal memo recently leaked from the C.E.R.N. facility near Geneva, Switzerland said that the Large Hadron Collider may have detected the Higgs boson—colloquially referred to as the “God particle” because it is thought to allow matter to have mass—set off a wave of speculation across the world of science. While the report of the Higgs discovery remains unconfirmed by all accounts, two Indian scientists have been vocally skeptical about the likelihood of its discovery. They are B.G. Sidharth, director of the B.M. Birla Science Centre at Hyderabad, and Syed Afsar Abbas, professor at the physics department of Aligarh Muslim University.
What’s the Big Idea?
Why does the universe exist? Why is there something instead of nothing? The search for the Higgs boson attempts to answer these questions—why do objects take up physical space in the first place? The search is on to complete the Standard Model, the prevailing explanation in the field of physics for why the universe is as it is. But Abbas said the Standard Model actually does not allow Higgs to exist as a “particle” at all. “My idea is well-known to all the particle physicists. But they tend to play down its importance as they have been spending billions of dollars of public money to look for this non-existent Higgs particle,” he said.
The population of the world, long expected to stabilize just above 9 billion in the middle of the century, will instead keep growing and may hit 10.1 billion by the year 2100, according to a new U.N. report.