Click to viewCERN's scientists, the fine people who brought us the W and Z particles, anti-hydrogen atoms and
hyperlinked porn sites web pages, are now hard at work building the Large Hadron Collider to discover something even cooler: the Force. Yes, that Force. Or like physicists call it, the Higgs boson, a particle that carries a field which interacts with every living or inert matter, which could bring us closer to understanding how the Universe works:
Most physicists believe that there must be a Higgs field that pervades all space; the Higgs particle would be the carrier of the field and would interact with other particles, sort of the way a Jedi knight in Star Wars is the carrier of the "force." The Higgs is a crucial part of the standard model of particle physics—but no one's ever found it.
In theory, when physicists turn on the tons of machinery inside the Akira-like LHC 17-mile-long ring in 2008, they will be able to produce the Higgs boson. Observing it could confirm many physicist predictions and "missing links" in the Standard Model, which is a physics theory that aims to describe how elementary particles interact with each other. It's either that or destroy the planet. We can go either way (actually, although it was a joke, CERN just wrote back saying that they don't want to destroy the planet. Thankfully, Jeff Vader doesn't work there.)