Professor talks Higgs boson

By Ryan Chodora

Locals gathered to learn about what some call the “Holy Grail” of physics at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at O’Leary’s Restaurant and Pub, 260 E. Lincoln Highway.

Physics professor Dhiman Chakraborty gave a presentation about the Higgs boson.

The presentation was the latest installment of NIU’s Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Cafe. STEM Cafes are monthly events put on by NIU STEM Outreach. The events are designed to educate the public on topics they wouldn’t normally encounter.

The Higgs boson was first discovered in July 2012 at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.

The Higgs boson, which took scientists nearly 50 years to discover, confirms the existence of the Higgs field, which is pivotal to other theories within particle physics.

“I think [STEM Cafes] gives people who are interested in science, but not necessarily trained, to get a layman’s introduction from the experts and ask them questions in a pretty relaxed, social atmosphere,” Chakraborty said.

Chakraborty spoke for about an hour, followed by an hour of open questions.

“I loved it, I thought it was very interesting,” said alumnus Star Bellinger. “It really expanded on some of the basics I knew from long ago.”

The next STEM Cafe will be 6:30 p.m. March 6 at Feed’Em Soup, 122 S. First St.

The discussion will be about “green” pest control and pest control alternatives.

“We’re trying to get out the latest research on science, technology, engineering and math, some of the hot topics that are out there that people really want to know about,” said STEM Outreach Associate Judith Dymond. “Because people would like to find out about these things without having to go to class.”