In 2012, Dr Elina Berglund was part of a team working at the Large Hadron Collider who discovered the Higgs Boson – a particle that had been evading physicists since the 1960s when it was first theorised by Dr Peter Higgs.
The discovery of the Higgs Boson was “the last piece of the puzzle of the so called Standard Model of particle physics”, Dr Berglund says.
The Standard Model is a theory in particle physics that dictates how all of the particles in the universe interact, and the Higgs Boson, also known as the God Particle, was deemed necessary to give mass to other particles.
The discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012 validated generations’ worth of physicists theoretical work.
Without Higgs Boson, scientists claim, mass would fundamentally not exist.
How the discovery of the Higgs Boson led to the world’s first app-based birth control
The Higgs Boson is also known as the God Particle
On the discovery, Dr Berglund said: “It was the most amazing moment of my life. We had been working on it day and night for a really long time.”
However, the discovery of the Higgs Boson has led Dr Berglund, who worked alongside her husband Dr Raoul Scherwitzl at the Large Hadron Collider and on the app, to create the world’s first regulatory approved app than can be used as a contraceptive – Natural Cycles.
The latest form of contraception works by women taking their temperature orally in the morning and enter the information to the app.
The app then runs “smart algorithms” to determine how fertile the woman is on any given day, and if they are safe to have sex without the risk of unwanted pregnancy.
The benefits of it? Dr Berglund: “It has no side effects because it is a way for the woman to get to know the body rather than altering it.
“Many women experience side effects from the birth control pill because there are many hormones involved.
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Inside the Large Hadron Collider
Tue, October 20, 2015
Pictures of The Large Hadron Collider which is the worlds most powerful particle accelerator held in Geneva, Switzerland.
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The Large Hadron Collider CMS detecter held in Geneva, Switzerland
“Many studies have shown that for many women there are no good alternatives (to the pill) so it is important to provide more choice in contraception for women that do not want to use traditional contraception can have a way to prevent pregnancy and now there is a way.”
Not only is it less invasive to the body, but the doctor claims the Natural Cycles App is as effective as the pill when used correctly – 99.5 per cent effective in fact.
However, “no contraception is completely 100 per cent effective, unless you completely abstain, and maybe that is not so fun”, adds the Swedish particle physicist.
The Natural Cycles app tell women when they are most fertile
After making one of the most significant discoveries in particle physics, one would easily assume that it is a big jump to contraception.
But Dr Berglund says that it was actually quite an easy switch.
When asked if she was done with particle physics, she responded: “I think sadly yes. I’ve been gone now for almost four years. I really love particle physics and I really love what I’m doing now.
Natural Cycles founders husband and wife duo Dr Raoul Schewitzl and Dr Elina Berglund
“In many ways it is similar.
“I spend my days analysing data, writing scripts and debugging code.
“The only difference is the purpose of why I’m analysing data but the statistical methods are actually very similar.
“They were inspired by the Higgs Boson search.”