In an unprecedented move sure to shake up the world of particle physics, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland, better known as CERN, announced on Monday that it will give away its newly discovered Higgs boson particles to 10 lucky winners.
“Given the interest manifested over the past years by the general public for the Higgs boson search, we felt that we had to give some back as a token of appreciation,” said Sergio Bertolucci, director of research at CERN. “At CERN, we have always believed in sharing the results of our research, and the time has come to make that tangible. This is our way of saying thanks for the incredible level of enthusiasm that has greeted this discovery.”
The Higgs boson particle, the discovery of which was announced at a special seminar on July 4 last year, was originally theorized in the mid-1960s as the foundation of several particle theories that said fundamental particles have mass when the forces that control their interactions should require them to be massless. Its existence alone is said to impact scientific knowledge across a wide diversity of fields, particularly the Standard Model of particle physics.
Particle physicist Pauline Gagnon said the CERN particle lottery was created as a donation from the organization’s two general-purpose detectors used in its Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the ATLAS and Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiments. But given the rarity of Higgs boson particles -- only one particle is created out of 1 million million (yes, that’s two millions) collisions -- CERN will only be able to reward 10 lucky winners.
“We hope the lucky few who will receive a Higgs boson will cherish them as much as we do,” Bertolucci said.
To enter the Higgs Boson lottery, participants should send an email to Higgs.firstname.lastname@example.org. CERN said it will choose its 10 winners at random within the first 24 hours of the contest; in other words, submissions will close at 1 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2.
Best of luck to all those interested in owning your very own rare particle, and APRIL FOOLS!