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Data Review Brings Major Setback In Higgs Boson Hunt

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the breathless-pursuit-works-best-if-anaerobic dept.

Science 180

Velcroman1 writes "The quest for the elusive Higgs boson seemed over in April, when an unexpected result from an atom smasher seemed to herald the discovery of the famous particle — the last unproven piece of the physics puzzle and one of the great mysteries scientists face today. Scientists with the Tevatron particle accelerator at Chicago's Fermilab facility just released the results of a months-long effort by the lab's brightest minds to confirm the finding. What did they find? Nothing. 'We do not see the signal,' said Dmitri Denisov, staff scientist at Fermilab. 'If it existed, we would see it. But when we look at our data, we basically see nothing.'"

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180 comments

Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (2)

halivar (535827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402090)

What are the implications of such a particle not really existing in the first place? In terms of how we think our universe works?

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (4, Funny)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402194)

Religious people will say "We told you that God isn't a particle".

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402326)

"... he's wavelike"

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402440)

God is a wave.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402596)

Are you sure? When I look at him through my two windows that are spaced apart he looks like a particle...

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402608)

Mod Parent Up +5

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402490)

My grandpa ain't no particle!

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402842)

It's a shame that certain morons, looking for more money to be spent on their field of research ( in this case it was to save the SSC ) have to coin ideas like "the God particle"

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (5, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402200)

If it exists where people are looking for it, it will confirm certain current theories. If it doesn't exist where people are looking, it damages certain current theories. If it doesn't exist at all, it calls for a complete rethink on many things.

Basically, if the Higgs Boson exists where people think it does, it means our ideas about how the universe is constructed are well founded and once again science has provided evidence to back up its theories. If it doesn't, then that opens up doors for radical rethinks on those ideas, meaning possible new directions in which to go and new theories to seek evidence for.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (2)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402394)

Perhaps some aspects of current physical science need to be re-visited? Like maybe the Euclidean point that was the initial state of the universe was not a point at all? Maybe there is no need for a Higgs Boson?

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (5, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402482)

Some aspects of current science always need to be re-visited, and science in general isn't touchy about doing so.

There may not be a need for Higgs Boson as you suggest, but the current theories suggest that there is - which is why its being looked for. No one has yet come up with a credible alternative that doesn't first throw out the entire current model, and quite honestly its currently cheaper to spend the money looking for the Higgs Boson than it is recreating the entire current model from scratch and coming up with evidence to support the change.

But the chance that the Higgs Boson might not exist is not a reason not to look for it - because looking for it will either prove it does exist, or that it doesn't exist where we thought it did. Both outcomes are beneficial, and just because we didn't find it doesnt mean the money was wasted - the fact that it wasn't where we thought it was is great science in itself, because it brings new data to the table.

Plus of course the chance that other discoveries may be made during the hunt for the Higgs Boson.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402978)

quite honestly its currently cheaper to spend the money looking for the Higgs Boson than it is recreating the entire current model from scratch and coming up with evidence to support the change.

Not completely true - because the new theory must first account for known phenomena, and thus can use existing data (and at virtually zero cost).

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36403194)

The data might be there, but you just sent thousands of scientists off on a theoretical goose hunt and cast doubt on every large scale experiment currently running.

Data already gathered might not cost anything, but the effort to come up with a new model which fits the current data plus the new results which invalidated the old data might cost billions of dollars in time and further experimentation. Or it might result in a small tweak over a couple of days.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402986)

"Science" may not be touchy, but "scientists" sure as hell can be. Just read about the hate surrounding the discovery of the prion causing spongiform ecephalothapy. When there's money and/or prestige at stake, scientists can be pretty damned catty.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402628)

Great idea except the Big Bang has nothing to do with the Higgs.
  The way the universe coelesced afterwards does.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (3, Informative)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402322)

The elegant standard model of particle physics only works because the particles don't have intrinsic mass (they get their mass from coupling to the higgs field). This allows a symmetry between the three "families" of particles (electron/muon/tau, neutrino/mu neutrino/tau neutrino, up/strange/top, down/charm/bottom etc.)

So if there is no Higgs boson then we're certainly missing something. I'm not sure if it's possible for the Higgs field to exist and not carry particles; certainly you'd normally expect for particles to be able to form in a field. If there's no Higgs field then either some other mechanism gives particles mass (and I'm not aware of any real proposals) or the standard model is wrong (which it probably is wrong, but we're short on replacements). If the standard model collapses, that puts us back to having 20+ different "fundamental" particles, all discovered through experiment, with no real idea of how they're related or how many more are out there.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402360)

First, to be clear: the Fermilab people haven't shown that the Higgs boson doesn't exist. They just didn't find it.

If the LHC doesn't find it, then we can start saying it doesn't exist. That would pretty much invalidate the standard model [stackexchange.com] of particle physics, which is the currently best-accepted theory we have (because it gets most things right). If the standard model is wrong, it opens the door for other physical theories [stackexchange.com] to be considered. Right now we're not taking those other theories so seriously because they all get one thing or another wrong, but if the standard model is also wrong about the Higgs, then there's no particular reason to favor it over other theories that also get one or two things wrong.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402622)

As a followup question (again, I ask out of ignorance): is it even possible for the existence of the Higgs-Boson particle to be falsified?

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402804)

Depends on what you mean by "falsified".

Can the LHC team fake it? Certainly they can, but it would be a complex fabrication - if their results showed that the HB fell outside of the limit of anything other than the LHC then independent verification would be impossible until another collider in the LHCs class could be constructed to run the same tests. In the mean time, as support for their findings, the LHC team would be pressed to release the raw data from the collisions - terabytes of data that would need falsifying to support the findings.

Would a falsification stand up for long? It depends how well it was done - science has several times been caught out by well done fakes to support one theory or another, but ultimately they have all fallen to scrutiny - or have they? Well, if any haven't, then they are standing up to scrutiny - what does that mean? :)

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36403128)

tip: google Karl Popper.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#36403174)

I think he meant falsified in the scientific sense as in "possible to disprove through experiment."

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402980)

Yes, it is expected to be in a certain mass range, have a certain spin (zero), a certain electric charge (zero), a certain color (none - "color" refers to strong force charge), and so on. The LHC can sample all the "places" it is expected to be, and can prove it doesn't exist. Now, of course, somebody can come after that with a different theory, with a different particle and name it after Higg.

IANAP by the way.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36403008)

Ummm yes. That's the point. You really need to research this. In order to find particles you need certain energy levels to smash protons and anti-protons together. The resulting debris from the collision is captured with these special measure devices. The debris trail shows you particles from the collision and from this you can determine if you saw a Higgs Boson. The problem is you begin to need higher and higher energy levels. The Higgs Boson needs a very high energy level to begin to see it, something around 20 TeV. So if you don't see it at 7 TeV, it does not mean it does not exist. If you don't see it at 20 TeV, then you have a problem because the models say you should see it at that energy level.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36403068)

If you don't see it at 20 TeV, then you have a problem because the models say you should see it at that energy level.

That answers my question succinctly. Thanks.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402920)

"If the LHC doesn't find "

If the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) didn't find it, we could almost say it doesn't exist. But unfortunately we never built it.

7 TeV (LHC) is too small to say there is no Higgs Boson. 20 TeV, which the SSC would have had, would be ample to say definitively there is no Higgs Boson.

So far the Standard Model is proved VERY successful. The Standard Model predicted monopoles. No one believed that was correct and then recently they discovered monopoles! So the Standard Model has a long track record of being correct. The problem is our technology is not sufficiently powerful enough to est all its predictions. It will take time.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (1)

ProfMobius (1313701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36403222)

They discovered monopoles ? Do you have any reference for that, because I'm pretty sure it would give the finder a direct nobel price.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (5, Informative)

Mr_Huber (160160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402634)

Currently, things weigh more than they should. The mass of a particle is a function of the kinetic energy of the particle and it's component parts, if any. If we run the numbers, we get good masses for some particles, not good masses for others. A proposed solution to this problem is the Higgs field, a nonzero field that permeates space. Anything coupling with this field gains additional mass through interaction with the field.

Picture a person at a party. Normally, they are free to move through the party fairly easily. Now make that person famous. Admirers flock around, and the celebrity has trouble moving. Nonfamous people are particles that do not couple with the HIggs field. Celebrities are particles that do couple with the field, surrounded by a paparazzi of virtual Higgs particles.

Nice theory. It fills a gap in the standard model and now the math all works. So now we have to find the particle. You need the mass of a particle to find it in an accelerator. Roughly (very roughly), you need to create collisions where the sum energy of the little explosion is about that of the particle in question, then watch a statistically large number of those to see if something matching your particle appears. If it does, it's off to Stockholm for dinner with the king. If not, it's back to the drawing boards.

The problem is, the theory doesn't predict the mass of the particle. It doesn't even say if it is one particle, a family of similar particles or a family of different particles. So there's a wide spread of masses to examine. And all the masses are really high, far higher than any other existing accelerator could reach. So we have the new CERN experiment, slowly scanning the possible masses, looking for the particle.

If we don't find that particle, then we're back to square one, why are some particles heavier than predicted? For decades, we've assumed it was some sort of variant of the Higgs boson. But if that's not the case, it's back to the blackboard for more theories.

In general, this is a problem for particle physics. Finding or not finding the particle will affect chemistry, biology and general astronomy not at all. It might or might not have an affect on cosmology, but that's hard to say without a particle to talk about. More interesting for cosmology is that while searching for the Higgs, the experiment might come across more esoteric things, such as evidence for supersymmetry. Evidence for supersymmetry would automatically generate the prime number one candidate for dark matter. And nailing down the properties of dark matter would give us another probe of the Big Bang.

More information than you wanted probably, but I hope it helps.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402702)

Thanks. I think I grasp the rudiments of it now.

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36403052)

BEST....
POST....
EVER.....

(well maybe not ever, but definitely so far today)

Thanks!

Re:Please explain to this non-physics-type geek (2)

cfc-12 (1195347) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402706)

It means the universe has disappeared and been replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

The Presence of Absence (4, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402092)

Sometimes not seeing what you expected is worth seeing in itself...

Re:The Presence of Absence (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402212)

My exact first thought on reading the summary was "well, its not a setback, its just one place less to look!"

Re:The Presence of Absence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402640)

And then you get the instance where one day you will find what you are looking for just because you think it should be there.

There is no Higgs boson, the standard model is wrong and should collapse. Simplify the model down to two particles and you will find what you are looking for.

The standard model exists because some very complex thinking people want to know more than the less complex thinking people and will come up with some really complex theories and then try to prove their existence.

There are two particle and some byproducts of one of the particles interacting with like particles.

It is time to go back to the drawing board but so many people want to believe the standard model, that the standard model will work and survive even if it is wrong.

The Sun circled the earth for thousands of years and some pretty complex mathematical equations were derived to prove that it was happening. All because people wanted to believe it. This was believed up until about 300 years ago. Not that long ago.

It is still happening today.

Re:The Presence of Absence (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36403142)

What? You have no idea what you are talking about. Seriously go read the "God Particle" by Leon Lederman to understand the history.

Your accusations of the scientists that have conducted this research for centuries is simple obtuse. They weren't fanatics trying to protect failed ideas. They were in search of an answer. This search lead them down blind allies and tangents. But research, always corrected them and put them on the right path.

The Standard Model has held up well but many question its complexity. The particle family has grown quite large. So many wondered if there is a more fundamental particle lurking beneath the Quarks and Leptons. So far nothing conclusive.

Re:The Presence of Absence (2)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402500)

The lack of data itself is as interesting as a "Well that's odd" moment in other experiments.

Re:The Presence of Absence (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402524)

Maybe the Higgs Boson particle is just natures "Null" value.

Re:The Presence of Absence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402680)

Or maybe it is like those guys said, that Higgs is so ugly to the universe, that it cannot exist and can even break things attempting its discovery.

Damn time-travelling particles. GET OFF MY SPACETIME..

Re:The Presence of Absence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402644)

Absolutely!

I almost find this more exciting as if we're wrong, it helps us realize that and start exploring other ideas. New understanding potentially leads to new technologies. The good scientists I know get excited when they're wrong; that's probably the major difference between the scientists and non-scientsts that I know.

Budgets (1, Insightful)

Baby Duck (176251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402096)

I have a much cheaper device in my backyard that's good at finding nothing.

Re:Budgets (4, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402166)

No, you don't. Finding nothing in specific conditions is different than finding nothing in your backyard. I doubt you can collide subatomic particles in a controlled environment in your backyard.

Re:Budgets (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402232)

At the TeV scale anyway.

You can pretty easily get a particle accelerator that will fit in your yard, it's just not going to be powerful enough to see anything new.

Re:Budgets (2)

jmd_akbar (1777312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402262)

When something touches even the air, it's particles are colliding with something..

So there you are..

Re:Budgets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402348)

WOOOSH

Re:Budgets (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402626)

I bet that's exactly the sound a TeV proton would make.

The Higgs Boson disappears my socks. (4, Funny)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402426)

> I doubt you can collide subatomic particles in a controlled environment in your backyard.

Of course I can. That's where I keep my old dryer. I have long hypothesized that the Higgs Boson is responsible for the disappearance of my socks... it is an interesting particle, ineffective against sock/antisock pairs, leaving unpaired socks in its wake, explaining the unaccounted for shortage of antisocks in the universe.

Re:The Higgs Boson disappears my socks. (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402518)

LOL. +1 Funny :)

Re:Budgets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402510)

But a jokester at Fermilab can still put his finger over the camera lens...

Re:Budgets (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402856)

I have a much cheaper device in my backyard that's good at finding nothing.

A son-in-law looking for a job?

Not the last unproven piece of the physics puzzle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402098)

Don't worry. Even after we find the Higgs or show that it doesn't exist, there's still plenty we don't know.

What nonsense. (0, Troll)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402120)


If/when they ever find this "Higgs/Boson" thing, physicists will then invent another type of particle to search for to keep the grant money coming in.

Meanwhile alternative medicine, things that are SAVING LIVES EVERY DAY, get virtually no research money. Look through an issue of The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research and tell me there's no interesting work being done just outside the realms of science.

THIS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402296)

For sure --- I've been reading Dr. Dobb's Journal of Tiny BASIC Calisthenics & Orthodontia for years and yet no publicly funded research money has ever gone to this cause. It is beyond a crying shame.

Re:What nonsense. (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402806)

Translation: I have blinders on, can only see in one direction and would, if in charge, starve key areas of basic research whose benefits we cannot guess at this time.

Good on them (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402126)

Good on them for trying and not looking for false positives. This is science, it's not easy or quick. I hope they stay encouraged and keep pushing human knowledge forward.

Good job!

Re:Good on them (0)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402184)

This isn't science, it's religion. They even call it The God Particle!

And people call alternative medical people quacks...

Faux News (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402128)

Why do you suppose it is that whenever there's a science related story posted to slashdot, it's always followed by a link to foxnews with some hyperbolic title like "Heartbreaker: Major Setback in Quest for God Particle"?

Maybe slashdot should start defriending some of its own bimbots.

Re:Faux News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402816)

Because "Mathematical error in science experiment" wouldn't get as many clicks.

You just hate those damned republicans so much that you're biased against anything printed alongside a conservative editorial.

Anyways, they regurgitate all same AP news clips as all the other sites.

And of course... (1, Insightful)

savanik (1090193) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402140)

When they don't find it at Fermilab, and they don't find it at the LHC, they'll just say we haven't got enough power yet, and we need to build another one with even more power.

The Higgs doesn't exist. The arguments for it sound just like the arguments of the 'ether' back in the 1900's. The standard model is wrong. Go back and fix it with pen and paper before spending a few trillion dollars trying to figure out why scientists can't do math.

Re:And of course... (3, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402196)

I disagree. Sometimes math fails (root: because we fail at math) and the only recourse is to smash things together to see what falls out.

Re:And of course... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402210)

Ever the optimist.

Re:And of course... (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402230)

And of course you can provide evidence to back your assertion that the entire thing needs a rethink? Just from your comment, I'd rather give these scientists billions of dollars for the LHC than give you $10 for lunch.

Re:And of course... (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402234)

Ok. I'll ask "Why?" to all your statements.

Re:And of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402246)

Yea, I really don't know where the brightest minds on the planet come up with this bullshit. Don't they know they can just ask savanik and he'll answer all the questions of the universe for them?

Re:And of course... (0)

sbrown123 (229895) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402274)

Europe put a lot of money in to the LHC. I don't think it was meant to find anything except certain pockets to fill with cash.

Re:And of course... (0)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402662)

There are easier ways to do that - defence contracts for example.

Did you hear about the recent US air-to-air refueling tanker contract award? Ongoing since 2001, when the US government tried to throw Boeing a bone after 9/11 and buy overpriced tankers that weren't needed at the time - only they fell foul of their own laws and people got thrown in jail.

10 years later and the contract finally gets awarded, at a much reduced cost and only justifiable now because the DoD cancelled many (cheaper) KC-135 upgrade programmes in the meantime, leaving a significant proportion of the KC-135 fleet unfit for purpose.

Meanwhile, Haliburton has blossomed on the back of billions of dollars of contracts from two and a half wars.

Re:And of course... (2)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402276)

If anything, this just shows me the way science should work. An assertion is taken, tested impartially and if found wanting it's discarded without a second thought. No emotion, no hysterics. Just science.

Your worries about a huge conspiracy are shall we say...a tad loony?

Re:And of course... (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402358)

Exactly. The Higgs is the Luminiferous Aether with a new name and the same old reasons for believing it exists. Everyone admits the Standard Model is broken, and then in the next breath they say "it's the most accurate theory EVAR" - sure, it's nothing but a list of observations tied together with a list of suppositions. Any theory with 17 independent magic numbers in it and no explanation for WHY they have to have those exact values isn't a theory at all, it's a list of empirical observations. That's not to say that Tevatron and LHC aren't doing good science, or making great observations (and yes, I think they're worth the money) - I'm saying they should stop trying to determine what fabric The Emperor's New Clothes are made of.

Re:And of course... (2)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402384)

You know how they "fixed" the ether? It wasn't with pen and paper, it was by thinking about the implications, then doing the experiments (in particular, michaelson-morely), and then looking at the results. The same thing they're doing now with the Higgs.

I don't think the Higgs exists either. But it's the best candidate explanation for observed phenomena. There is an upper limit on the mass of a standard model Higgs, and testing in the relevant range is reasonable; even if we don't find the Higgs, we'll likely find something interesting. Of course, if you have a better candidate model, then by all means make the predictions, publish them, and see whether they match what the LHC comes up with.

Re:And of course... (1)

BitHive (578094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402528)

When you get a sec can you jot down that math for us, I have some friends who are physicists and it sounds like they could use your help.

Re:And of course... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402612)

Actually not. Naively explained so you can understand it, the Higgs mechanism to work needs a Higgs mass between 114 GeV upwards to ~170 GeV. Outside of that region things don't work and it's safe to say you have to look for better ideas.

The reason why physicist think the Higgs boson is there it's because 3/4th of the idea has already been discovered, the W^+ , W^- and Z bosons. What is left of the picture is that 1/4 which correspondes to the Higgs in the electroweak theory. If there is supersymmetry there might be 5 Higgs bosons which would make the discovery of each of them a little bit more difficult. But hopefuly feasable in the LHC.

If you let me, I would give an analogy*. Think of you trying to solve a puzzle, a very complicated one indeed. After years of work you manage to assambly a consistent arrangement of all the pieces that not only fits, also gives a pretty picture. All there's to find a piece that you lost somewhere in the room to put it in it's place. At this point you are pretty confident that the chances of it not fitting are small, and that you got it right. But physicist don't take this for granted, they wan't to find the piece and prove it. And if it doesn't fit, don't worry, we will work on the puzzle again.

*NOTE: If needed the image of the puzzle can be that of a car.

Re:And of course... (1)

TeethWhitener (1625259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402870)

Mod parent up.

Re:And of course... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402782)

And what pray tell is the "right" math? There's kazillions of mathematical models, but only one that that actually fits reality - though simplifications can cover specific parts like Newtonian physics. You can't know if your model is accurate without testing. In fact, without observation you can't even guess at a model at all. That sometimes we think we know what's out there in the unknown is the rare exception to when we don't. If we're just going to sit around and think about it, we'll get no further than the philosophers do.

Re:And of course... (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402852)

What I'd like to know (and it may be known, but what I know about this is from following it on Slashdot :-) is whether there exists (in theory at least) a disconfirming experiment for the Higgs Boson. Or is the only way to "prove" it doesn't exist is just to never find it.

Re:And of course... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36403044)

Go back and fix it with pen and paper ...

Sometimes pen and paper isn't enough. Sometimes you need gdb. Sometimes you need a logic analyzer.

Re:And of course... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36403206)

When they don't find it at Fermilab, and they don't find it at the LHC, they'll just say we haven't got enough power yet, and we need to build another one with even more power.

1) The Standard Model predicts that the Higgs will be found within a specific energy range. The LHC is powerful enough to explore that entire range. Therefor if the LHC does not find the Higgs it does not exist.

2) Finding the Higgs is not the purpose of the LHC. It's merely one experiment.

God Particle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402158)

If it's a God particle, and no evidence is found, then the answer is obvious: believe harder.

Michelson-Morley redux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402188)

At least we got a cool name for a LAN technology out of that one.

Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402214)

Let's just throw a few more $billion$ at it.

CPUs used ? (1)

Nyall (646782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402244)

Floating point precision is slightly different between powerpc (64 bits and fused multiply and accumulate instructions) and x86 (80 bit internal results)

Re:CPUs used ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402900)

80bits on x86 is only for obsolete x87 fpu code.

nowadays intel and amd recommend using sse(1/2/3/..) instead.

poorly worded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402248)

The description above is poorly worded. The article it's pointing to is talking about a disagreement in results between two experiments -- DZero and CDF -- at Fermilab. A few months ago CDF had acquired data which seemed to indicate the existence of a particle with a mass of ~150GeV/c^2. The DZero results do not see this. People are investigating why this is happening.

Can't login (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402304)

so... my quip goes something like this:

"Put on your friggin glasses man!"

If it existed they would have seen it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402340)

Really? For something as elusive as a Higgs boson, they expect a "months long effort" to completely and definitively find it? And when they don't, they have the balls to say that "we are sure it does not exist since we did not find it"? Sounds like those theoretical physicists have turned up their ego to maximum volume, maybe they need to focus more on the science and improve their experiments, rather than making ridiculous statements like this.

God is a Crotch Shot (1)

nightcats (1114677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402376)

It's the God particle, fercrhissakes. What do you expect it to do, be born of a virgin, get baptized by the guy who does the intro to Monty Python, perform miracles and then get pinned to a cross and made into a symbol of martyrdom for a program of worldwide warfare and occupation? If I'm the God of this world, you're never gonna find me, so put that in yer crotch and post it to twitter...

the Higgs Boson sabotage the data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402392)

the Higgs Boson sabotage the data

There is nothing to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402418)

They will not find the Higgs boson for gravity is an emergent force

/sigh (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402436)

"So what was it, anyway? Something completely unknown and unexpected, Denisov said, which is what prompted Fermilab to drop everything and assign its top scientists to uncover an unfortunate truth: Someone forgot to carry a zero."

stop the signal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402474)

You can stop the signal

Tevatron result has nothing to do with the Higgs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402514)

The new result from the Tevatron is _not_ a search for the Higgs boson.

One of the experiments (CDF) at the Tevatron saw an excess of events which was investigated by the other experiment (D0). Today D0 published their results, which say that they see nothing. This is independent of the Higgs searches, even if the excess seen by CDF had been confirmed, a standard Higgs boson would not explain it.

Um guys (2, Funny)

voss (52565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402520)

"I'm pretty confident that towards the end of 2012 we will have an answer to the Shakespeare question for the Higgs boson, to be, or not to be?" Rolf-Dieter Heuer, director general of CERN, said at Britain's Royal Society."

Id be perfectly okay if you wait until 2013 to get your answers. Its not that I believe all these December 22,2012 things its just that
some idiot who forgot to carry their zero might be stupid enough to rush something and accidentally cause some sort of catastrophe. Lets all just
shut down all the accelerators on December 14th,2012 and give everyone a holiday until January 7th, 2013.

Not the Higgs (5, Informative)

wuzzeb (216420) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402538)

Sorry, the summary and title is just plain incorrect. This announcement has nothing to do with the Higgs.

A few months ago, CDF claimed that they detected a new particle which could not be the higgs, but was speculated to be a new particle. As explained here [science20.com] , it wasn't possible for the new particle to be the Higgs.

Today DZERO announced that they did not see any signal where CDF claimed to see one. So one of the two projects has an error in their analysis.

More info orig [science20.com] , new announcement [science20.com] , DZERO refutes [science20.com] , another source [columbia.edu] , even another source [blogspot.com]

Re:Not the Higgs (1)

bflong (107195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402866)

Will someone with mod points please mod the parent up?
Only Fox News is trying to connect this with the Higgs... the bastion of science reporting that they are.

Albert had no problem (1)

JimWise (1804930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402550)

I don't know why it is always referred to as "The elusive Higgs boson" when Einstein was able to so clearly point to its existence decades ago:
Einstein proving that the Higgs boson can be found anywhere [tumblr.com]

Re:Albert had no problem (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402896)

There are birds everywhere, too, but unless you are very scientific in your approach, they will elude you.

Sorry (1)

M8e (1008767) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402572)

I salute Major Setback and hope he can be helpfull in the hunt of Higgs boson.

A cynic's supposed view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402736)

The cynic would emphasize the fact that their mysterious findings came just when the Tevatron experiment was asking for a prolonged run, and the funding that would imply. I wouldn't discredit the researchers there in any way, but their findings were most probably enhanced out of proportion by other forces due to the situation. Also, it's not economically/physically feasible to hinder future projects just so we can go all-in on the Higgs boson. There are more discoveries to be had in higher energy ranges - if the Tevatron could _just barely_ see a _glimpse_ of _something strange_ - the next generation of accelerators/detectors should be able to give a crystal clear image. New technology is needed to go forward.

(The cynic can also look at history and learn from LEP's final days at CERN - also last-minute mysterious findings ("Is it Higgs!?") in time of the shutdown.)

If the Higgs particle is in LHC's energy range (which is truly spectacular in relation to available technology) as a mechanism related to the known particles in any way and thus detectable by our usual means, the LHC _will_ find it. It's not just the max centre-of-mass energy that is higher. The LHC will be able to crank out magnitudes more statistics than previous experiments, and that's where the money really shows. In many ways, statistics is the main thing in particle discoveries, not just being able to squeeze over the particles rest mass.

That also implies that if it is _not_ found - something fundamental is to be found. Another interaction/extra dimensions/exotic SUSY theories/... . "Nothing" will really mean something if that's the result of the LHC in this area.

To the ones who discredit the entire SM - it has been succesful in predicting many things throughout history. To call it "wrong" is a philosophical misunderstanding in my POV (but philosophies are in a way "wrong" to call "wrong" or "right" :-) ), combined with a skewed image of what its supposed merit is. No one (in the know) believes it to be the ultimate theory of everything, there are surely deeper theories at higher energies. Maybe the mass mechanism is hidden in those theories (which _would_ be groundbreaking, and a field day for theorists all over), but the SM will at most receive some corrections, not a total scrap. It has shown itself useful at the current energies. So did Newton's laws of motion in their time. That won't change, even if we find the equivalent of SR/GR for particles. The SM is just a special case at certain energies - but that is not to be underestimated.

There is Nooo Higgs Booosooon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402898)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0Amt30_QVQ

Did they look under the sofa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402930)

Stuff always turns up under the sofa. They should just build a gigantic sofa. I don't think it has to be electric or magnetic or anything. Maybe slightly bigger than the average sofa, with a TV in front of it and people sitting there on a regular basis. Higgs boson will show up under there sooner or later, you see.

dumass scientian's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402966)

dumass scientian's (Score:?)
by Anonymous Coward writes: on Friday June 10, @01:09PM

Why they can't be like JESUS and gt it right firs't time, stedden chppin and chainging?

Let's set the record straight (2)

jma34 (591871) | more than 3 years ago | (#36403162)

Let's get things straightened out. About a month ago the CDF experiment at the Tevatron at Fermilab found a "bump" in their data. It was statistically significant and was unexplained. This "bump" cannot be the Higgs boson from The Standard Model because it has the completely wrong cross-section. This was a fully public result from the CDF experiment.

About the same time there was a "leaked" abstract from an internal note from the ATLAS experiment at the LHC which claimed to have a signal for a Higgs boson. This was never a public or published result.

Now today we have an announcement from the D0 experiment at the Tevatron that they looked into the CDF bump and see nothing. This isn't a set back for the Higgs since it was never about the Higgs. The ATLAS leaked abstract has never been confirmed even by ATLAS so lets not get our underpants in a knot. Lets also not conflate the two since they don't have anything to do with each other.

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