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Has LHC Seen a Hint of the Higgs?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the or-did-ted-drop-his-sandwich-in-the-machine-again dept.

Science 96

gbrumfiel writes "Researchers at two detectors at the Large Hadron Collider are seeing something unusual. The signal is faint, but it could be from the long-sought Higgs particle. The Higgs is part of the mechanism that gives other particles mass, and it also unifies the electromagnetic and electroweak forces. No one is willing to declare it found just yet, but the new data from the CMS and ATLAS detectors are an independent, 'tantalizing' hint of what's to come. The results were presented today at HEP-2011 in Grenoble, France."

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Steins;Gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36850694)

El Psy Congroo bitches!

No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36850700)

No, they haven't.

Re:No (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851530)

hint: Higgins is Robin Masters.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36851598)

No, they haven't.

No, they haven't.

(I am peer reviewing you. Non-A/C's cannot peer review, because they are not A/C peers.)

Well (1, Funny)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#36850714)

It hasn't opened a wormhole to another dimension yet.... I remain unimpressed.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36850898)

What's with the moronic comments? This isn't Digg.

Re:Well (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851222)

Digg...man that takes me back.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36850916)

You don't know that.

Re:Well (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851646)

Well, a wormhole assumes that there's a black hole, and I can still sit here and type. Of course, it could be that it *did* open a wormhole to another dimension, and we (the entire planet) were sucked into it. It just happens that this other dimension is exactly like ours, except the moon is made out of cheese. I guess we won't know until someone brings back a new moon rock for a taste-test.

Re:Well (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852406)

It could have been a very small black hole.

Wait, were we talking about the LHC, or asking what floats on water besides wood?

Re:Well (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#36853178)

Well, a wormhole assumes that there's a black hole, and I can still sit here and type. Of course, it could be that it *did* open a wormhole to another dimension, and we (the entire planet) were sucked into it. It just happens that this other dimension is exactly like ours, except the moon is made out of cheese. I guess we won't know until someone brings back a new moon rock for a taste-test.

Could this Bree?

Re:Well (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855448)

A black hole can't have more gravitational pull the the mass of the matter inside it. Small black holes won't suck up the earth and will evaporate before it can do any real damage.

Re:Well (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 3 years ago | (#36858196)

Thats a good point

Re:Well (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851728)

Well, he has until Tuesday to figure it out and pick up a crossbow.

Not even found the Higgs yet (4, Informative)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851134)

It hasn't opened a wormhole to another dimension yet...

We also have not found the Higgs yet there is not enough data to distinguish this from a fluctuation in the background. Frankly I'm appalled at Nature for printing wild, inflammatory speculation like this. If their editors have this level of ignorance of science you have to question what sort of decisions they are making regarding the journal itself...not that many particle physics papers are typically submitted there: perhaps this is why!

Re:Not even found the Higgs yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36851186)

Even among scientists & engineers, Nature is considered more of a science magazine than a journal.

That doesn't change the fact that a single Nature / Science article can make or break one's scientific career....

Re:Not even found the Higgs yet (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851274)

Well if I hadn't already posted you would get my mod points.

Finding Higgs isn't so impressive anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36851394)

I found Higgs here [facebook.com] , here [facebook.com] , and here [facebook.com]

Re:Finding Higgs isn't so impressive anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36851612)

Really? I found him here [ed.ac.uk] .

Re:Not even found the Higgs yet (1)

forand (530402) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851792)

I believe they posted this because CMS and ATLAS both reported seeing a 2.5 sigma bump today in a variety of venues. It is not in the peer reviewed portion of the journal only in the news section.

Re:Not even found the Higgs yet (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855980)

Never mind there are several things that can be different, like electrical charge, decay patterns, etc from the Higgs.

Sincerely, if they find the Higgs, then I would consider it a failure of modern science. Unless it's significantly different from the theory.

You see, the Higgs mechanism is like a patch over a mostly great theory. Electroweak is great, but Higgs seems like a kludge. QCD has its problems as well, but the Higgs is like a sore thumb.

More and more it seems people will only find what they've been expecting, and not trying to poke the limits and discrepancies of experimental results. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_drop_experiment#Millikan.27s_experiment_and_cargo_cult_science [wikipedia.org]

Why is that!? When Fermilab - DCF announces a discrepancy in their results that's supposedly "not higgs" everybody is quick to discredit them (D0 came to a different conclusion (that is, no signal), they are trying to understand why - apparently their calibration method may be hiding it)

Now, LHC announces a discrepancy that's supposedly "Higgs" everybody finds a million reasons to confirm it. Kudos to the LHC to keep their mouth shut and not be over enthusiastic about.

Re:Not even found the Higgs yet (1)

Maritz (1829006) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861340)

Nothing CMS or Atlas have said so far seems anything other than appropriately cautious and skeptical language. They're sharing some tantalising glimpses of something that may turn out to be nothing. All seems fair enough to me.

Re:Not even found the Higgs yet (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852260)

They didn't say they found the Higgs and acknowledged there wasn't enough data for it to be conclusive. However at the reaction rates at the LHC they should have enough data within months to confirm -- one way or another -- whether the Higgs exists. Some of the first data in that set shows events in the right range. Tantalizing, exciting, and thus newsworthy, but not a conclusion. This is what the article says, and it's all correct.

So I'm questioning your questioning of the Nature editors and this "ignorance of science" you attribute to them.

Oh yeah? (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 3 years ago | (#36854016)

Well I'm questioning your questioning of his questioning!

I can't help myself, I'm a Lisp programmer and this level of nesting is compulsory for me.

Re:Oh yeah? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855648)

Well, I'm questioning all of the questionable questioning -- without nesting or overflowing a stack!

quest_t questions = initialQuestion();
do { questions = question( questions ); }
while ( questionable( questions ) );

I can't help it, I'm a C programmer who never uses recursion or nesting where simple iteration will do.

Re:Oh yeah? (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855988)

Pathetic

Functional programmers can poke into the infinite without the need of such earthly constructs as loops.

But of course they need the C programmers to make their programs run in real hardware =P

Re:Not even found the Higgs yet (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36897192)

They didn't say they found the Higgs and acknowledged there wasn't enough data for it to be conclusive.

True but only after the headline claiming "tantalizing evidence" (which is wrong - we have no evidence yet) and hyping the whole thing up to be way more than the "no clear evidence" result. Hence the article is dishonest and unscientific in that it gives a false impression to attract the reader and only when they get to the small print does it actually admit that there is no evidence yet. Frankly when the mainstream media, like the BBC, write an article with a far better explanation of what the results mean (explaining sigma significance in terms of coin tosses etc) than a company which is supposed to be a scientific publisher it makes you wonder exactly how competent they are. They need to decide what they want to do: publish misleading, sensational articles or stick to serious science. You cannot do both for long.

Re:Not even found the Higgs yet (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36899308)

True but only after the headline claiming "tantalizing evidence" (which is wrong - we have no evidence yet)

Nonsense! The data they've collected already is evidence! It's just not sufficient evidence to satisfy the agreed-upon heuristic standard for drawing a positive conclusion. Evidence that doesn't meet that standard is still evidence. If and when they do have enough evidence to meet the standard, that won't change the findings in the article from not-evidence to evidence. It's evidence today! Just not enough. We want our evidence to be exceedingly unlikely to have been simply random chance, whereas the evidence accumulated so far makes it merely unlikely (~8%).

So it's not sufficient, but it is evidence, and good enough evidence to be tantalizing but again not conclusive.

The article could have explained more about the statistical meaning of the data. Yet nothing they said was in error, or misleading. Your assumptions on what constitutes "evidence" are what is wrong, and thus so are your insinuations about Nature's competence.

Re:Not even found the Higgs yet (2)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852818)

We also have not found the Higgs yet there is not enough data to distinguish this from a fluctuation in the background.

Right. The Nature article has no quantitative description of the statistics, but this blog [profmattstrassler.com] does. Note the stuff about the "look elsewhere effect." To understand what this means, imagine that you have a histogram with, say, a thousand channels in it, and let's imagine the null hypothesis, which is that in truth the histogram has nothing in it but a smoothly varying background, no peaks. But there is noise, and statistically a one-in-a-thousand fluctuation is about 3 standard deviations. That means that out of a thousand bins in your histogram, you expect to get roughly one with a +3 sigma fluctuation in it that could look like a peak. So if you run this experiment and get a 3-sigma peak, your result should be published as "we saw nothing." Taking into account the look elsewhere effect, the statistics in this experiment are nowhere near the level you'd want in order to claim detection of the Higgs -- and the collaborations involved are not claiming that.

Re:Not even found the Higgs yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36855048)

not that many particle physics papers are typically submitted there

I'm not familiar with Nature, but if you're right, then this article should create A LOT of buzz.

Uh Huh (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#36850726)

I'll hold my breath on this one. We've been fed the "we think we've seen Higgs" enough times now that until some repeatable data comes down the line, I'm just going to assume its screwy instrumentation or glitches.

Re:Uh Huh (2)

Flyerman (1728812) | more than 2 years ago | (#36850858)

This is actually a feature of the VP of PR's calendar. It has informed him that it's time to make some more noise and let everyone know that the LHC is still there.

Re:Uh Huh (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#36850954)

he timed the press release to be after greek debt re-arrangements, quite suitably.

Re:Uh Huh (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36854250)

That works until you make too much noise and nobody can distinguish them apart, or care to anymore.

Re:Uh Huh (4, Informative)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 2 years ago | (#36850888)

Nobody who is a scientist (except possibly for inflammatory gossip addicts like Dorigo) is claiming anything remotely resembling a discovery. Nature is, in my opinion, highly irresponsible for posting things like this, precisely because it leads to reactions like yours. It isn't screwy instrumentation or glitches, it isn't a discovery, it isn't an exclusion, it isn't a bird or a plane or superman, it's just a result that is not yet conclusive.

Re:Uh Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36851432)

Nature is, in my opinion, highly irresponsible for posting things like this, precisely because it leads to reactions like yours.

You know, skepticism in the face of a highly inconclusive, extremely preliminary result seems like exactly the right reaction to me...

Re:Uh Huh (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855618)

That isn't the aspect of public reaction that he's lamenting. It's the undeserved damage to the credibility of the scientists involved, caused by Nature putting words in their mouths. The skepticism should be directed at the journalistic integrity of Nature magazine, who are manufacturing claims out of whole cloth.

Re:Uh Huh (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852148)

It isn't screwy instrumentation or glitches, it isn't a discovery, it isn't an exclusion, it isn't a bird or a plane or superman, it's just a result that is not yet conclusive.

Yes, which is exactly what Nature is reporting. They aren't reporting a result, they're reporting the news that a signal has been seen that fits in the Higgs range. If in the coming months they see more of the same enough to rule out random chance, then what they're reporting today will be in the set of data via which we found the Higgs.

This is news for anyone interested in the search -- in as much as people are interested in the progress of science, not just its conclusions. This isn't conclusive, but it is tantalizing, as the article and several physicists quoted in it state.

So I don't see what the problem is.

Who cares if someone says "Yeah right, I've heard the boy who cried wolf before, even though I never payed enough attention to notice they weren't actually crying wolf so am clearly not all that interested in anything but being a contrary douche." Why are we catering our science reporting to these people?

Re:Uh Huh (1)

UnresolvedExternal (665288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36854616)

Chicken Licken only has to be right once....

Re:Uh Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36870280)

If someone accuses a boy of "crying wolf" too often, they start to lose credibility. Then when the boy really is crying wolf, nobody will believe that he is!

Re:Uh Huh (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852736)

Collider sees tantalizing hint of Higgs

TANTALIZING: mockingly or teasingly out of reach
hint: a slight indication of the existence, approach, or nature of something.

I don't think Nature was that irresponsible, their wording was well chosen; but I hope they haven't found Higgs yet, that would be like finding out that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42

wait!?!?! (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855932)

it isn't?

BTW: I do support M theory as an idea but would like the theory of everything to be a bit more elegant ie: creating an infinite regression or scaling loop... So I'm quite happy that this was just a false alarm

Re:Uh Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36850904)

Then you should probably *not* hold your breath :)

Re:Uh Huh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36850992)

I could care less about grammar

Re:Uh Huh (0)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852726)

Nice!

Re:Uh Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36852984)

twitched, then chuckled.

good show.

Re:Uh Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36852598)

Then I would suggest not holding your breath.

Re:Uh Huh (0)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852696)

so... if you will hold your breath, then you believe there is credible evidence that this could be an initial discovery that leads to the Higgs... right? Otherwise you are just a moron who does not know his/her idioms.

Re:Uh Huh (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855710)

I'll hold my breath on this one. We've been fed the "we think we've seen Higgs" enough times now that until some repeatable data comes down the line, I'm just going to assume its screwy instrumentation or glitches.

I agree, until we have solid evidence I think these "Maybe we saw the Higgs Boson!" stories are a needless wasting many of Laming's & Stoney's electrons.

Meanwhile (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36850798)

I'm not interested until I can buy Higgs Bosons with my Bitcoins.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

derGoldstein (1494129) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851690)

Theoretically, everything with mass contains the particle. So yeah, just buy something that has mass.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852740)

the electrons that make up his bitcoin data have mass.

Electromagnetic and electroweak (4, Informative)

mtinsley (1283400) | more than 2 years ago | (#36850820)

it also unifies the electromagnetic and electroweak forces

Doesn't electroweak already encompass electromagnetic? Should that be 'unifies the electromagnetic and weak forces'?

Re:Electromagnetic and electroweak (2, Informative)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851110)

I believe you are correct. Electroweak IS the unified description of the electromagnetic and weak forces.

Re:Electromagnetic and electroweak (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853496)

Yeah, but then you re-unify them and you get the electromagnoelectroweak force.

Re:Electromagnetic and electroweak (1)

dmartin (235398) | more than 3 years ago | (#36854636)

The electromagnetic and weak forces are combined into the electroweak force, but the theory predicts that in order to combine them (and be compatible with experiments) that you have to have an extra particle or particles to break the electroweak symmetry. That is the role of the Higgs. So our current theory of an electroweak description is accurate assuming that the Higgs or something that plays its role exists.

If there was no Higgs (or replacement) then we have a theory that still works phenomologically, but does not combine the electric and weak forces. Instead it has a bnuch of couplings that take very specific values *as if* the forces were combined.

Re:Electromagnetic and electroweak (1)

zevans (101778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36864470)

"or something that plays the Higgs role" - which doesn't need to be a particle, necessarily. It could emerge from the dynamics, like Cooper pairs in superconductivity.

Re:Electromagnetic and electroweak (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#36856006)

So, the final unification force of the universe is the gravitoelectroweakmagneticstrong force!

Re:Electromagnetic and electroweak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36857066)

commonly abbreviated to "The Force"

Re:Electromagnetic and electroweak (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855946)

Doesn't electroweak already encompass electromagnetic? Should that be 'unifies the electromagnetic and weak forces'?

Electroweak breed is getting a bit too weak, with a few nasty hereditary diseases. They hope to strengthen the breed by adding more electromagnetism to it.

Re:Electromagnetic and electroweak (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36873796)

That's right. The Higgs is necessary to explain how the electroweak carriers W and Z have mass. It also applies to strong forces (i.e. it also interacts with quarks), but it pops first out of electroweak theory.

How do we know what we're looking for? (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#36850908)

If we've never found it? I'm sure the theory is provable, but this is wayyyy too premature to care.

Re:How do we know what we're looking for? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36851028)

It has to be a spin-0, charge-0, parity-even, weakly-interacting particle with 115 GeV <= mass <= 180 GeV (to agree with already known electroweak constraints from Fermilab and LEP). So if you find a resonance in a collision channel with those quantum numbers and interactions, then you might suspect you've seen a sign of the standard model Higgs.

Re:How do we know what we're looking for? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851460)

Don't forget the known lifetime and decay branching ratios. Could say everything is known about Higgs except mass if standard model correct, and mass must be in certain range, perhaps a little larger than what you gave (say less than 20 GeV more at each end)

Re:How do we know what we're looking for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36854902)

It's a good thing Clyde Tombaugh didn't attend your school of scientific reasoning, or we'd have never discovered Pluto.

Big Deal (1)

rotorbudd (1242864) | more than 2 years ago | (#36850930)

I've seen the Higgs.
He's a little old bald Englishman.

Re:Big Deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36851784)

Big Deal.

I've seen the Hoff.

I've Got a Question (0)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851008)

So, when we do find the Higgs (if we do) will we be able to start taking advantage of the Mass Eeffect? If not, what's to be gained from the discovery?

Re:I've Got a Question (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851138)

The same thing we've gained from all those other particle discoveries - a request for more funding and a promise that fusion is just 20 years away.

Re:I've Got a Question (1)

SplunkDotNet (707414) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851310)

Don't you see; fusion or more specifically cold fusion is just a red haring used by the science community to get the people with the money to invest it in projects.

Re:I've Got a Question (3, Interesting)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852784)

considering the national ignition facility has achieved fusion using laser beams and deuterium pellets and has been moving toward net positive energy rates that indicate they will reach ignition with in the next year save for mechanical malfunctions, I would say, we have fusion.

Re:I've Got a Question (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36855698)

Sounds more like "we will have fusion in the next year save for mechanical malfunctions" to me.

Re:I've Got a Question (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36890884)

Fusion is a specific nuclear reaction... they have achieved that already... they are going to break even shortly on the energy consumption/production ratio and soon after that, they will have a usable surplus of energy.

Re:I've Got a Question (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36900470)

Fusion is a specific nuclear reaction... they have achieved that already...

Sure, but we'd achieved that back in 1970. When we talk about fusion being 20 years away, we're talking about useful energy from it.

Re:I've Got a Question (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36901962)

Ohh... well, considering I used the term... IGNITION...I believe I was more accurate in my terminology.

Re:I've Got a Question (4, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851192)

Seeing its existence is an important confirmation of the Standard Model. In that sense, nothing happens when you find it, since we've been using the Standard Model for decades. It's not like we waited to confirm the whole thing before making predictions with it.

It would mean that we could STOP doing other things, i.e. looking at some alternatives to the Standard Model that don't incorporate the Higgs. (Or rather, incorporate different variations of the Higgs, including multiple Higgses.)

Once you find it, you can work on narrowing down its mass, which is something the Standard Model doesn't predict. Once you know that, you can start producing Higgs and see how it interacts with other particles. Again, when it confirms what you already suspect, it closes off some avenues of alternative research. Even better, when you find something unexpected, you start looking down that route.

Re:I've Got a Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36852270)

Once you find it, you can work on narrowing down its mass, which is something the Standard Model doesn't predict.

And what would give that Higgs mass?... another Higgs?

Re:I've Got a Question (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852804)

the higgs is a messaging particle... since the message it carries in mass, mass is inherent to it.

Re:I've Got a Question (2)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853828)

The Higgs self-interacts, like gluons do. Renormalization prevents it from becoming infinite, and it converges to a finite value, but it makes the math very ugly.

Re:I've Got a Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36852556)

OTOH, once you don't find Higgs, you can go on with your life :)

Re:I've Got a Question (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852816)

I think you mean "can't" since the means we have to come up with another version of the standard model that accounts for no Higgs or at least, no Higgs at the energies we searched.

Re:I've Got a Question (1)

zevans (101778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36864514)

There are quite a lot of theories that provide for unification at MUCH higher energies (10^15 / 10^16 GeV.) The problem is, if LHC isn't big enough to prove something either way, it's a HELL of a gap to cross experimentally. (The "desert.")

Re:I've Got a Question (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36854304)

What'd be more exciting is if they couldn't find it. Then there'd be something worthwhile to talk about.

Re:I've Got a Question (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#36851410)

You get confirmation of the Standard Model, and more basic research, whose dividends you probably cannot perceive ahead of time. Unless, of course, you're one of those fucktards who actually believes basic research is useless.

Re:I've Got a Question (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852380)

If not, what's to be gained from the discovery?

As far as practical applications, nobody knows what it could mean. It could be 100 years before your grandkids are using a device every day that depends on what we learned about the Higgs, without even knowing or caring that this is so.

For instance, nobody working on Quantum Mechanics early last century would have had any clue whatsoever that this would enable the computer revolution. But without that basic research, there wouldn't be a computer on your desk right now.

Re:I've Got a Question (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852840)

"For instance, nobody working on Quantum Mechanics early last century would have had any clue whatsoever that this would enable the computer revolution."

Most of the applications of quantum mechanics were quite evident at the moment the theory was created. Specificaly computers were already available for a long time when solid state physics came out, and they were one of the obvious applications of the transistor, that was one of the obvious application of the theory (that is, of course, after the theory was created).

I'm not holding my breath for applications of the discovery of the Higgs' bosson. The discovery that it doesn't exist, otherwise, may be very interesting.

That said, it was just a 2.8 sigma event. Well, what are the odds of nobody seeing an expurious 2.8 sigma even up to now?

Re:I've Got a Question (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36853100)

Yeah, by the time the transistor was invented the application was obvious. That was in the late 1940s. The people laying the groundwork and doing basic research in Quantum Mechanics in the 1900s and 1910s had no clue that their research would lead to the transistor's invention.

Today, we have no idea if in fifty years someone will invent a "Higgsistor", if it's possible or what it would do, and what it could be used for. Probably whoever actually invents it will know these things.

And then someone will say, when talking about how the next piece of pure research could have unknown benefits, "Well when the Higgsistor was invented, they knew what the applications were already. I doubt this new thing would have any new applications since they aren't obvious to us now."

Re:I've Got a Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36855348)

Higgs is supposed to be the carrier particle that "enables" another particle's mass to have effect on the world. I don't think its a huge leap to say we need to understand it (or its absence) if we want anti-gravity tech, or gravity generators etc.

Where're my flying cars dammit?!

How to keep HEP funded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36851780)

As long as they keep thinking they are seeing something in the noise they will be funded to get more data. Lots of people seem to get tenure these days with the idea that they are seeing "hints" beyond the standard model. Just a theme on recent over marketing of science results.

Has LHC seen a hint of Higgs? (1)

andre.david (1373517) | more than 2 years ago | (#36852070)

Greetings from the LHC!
At this point in time, with the amount of data that we have, the answer is: "perhaps, perhaps not". There is not enough evidence to cut it either way.

Re:Has LHC seen a hint of Higgs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36853038)

All we require is a P value. "Perhaps, perhaps not" is not nearly specific enough.

Re:Has LHC seen a hint of Higgs? (1)

Cabriel (803429) | more than 3 years ago | (#36853510)

What if he rearranged his answer to "Perhaps, Not Perhaps"? Then he just needs to show that P != NP

Back when I was a little boy in Mississippi... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36852582)

I read this in Morgan Freeman's voice.

New GRRM title (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36855158)

Damn those researchers--I just got my hands on "A Dance with Dragons" and they are already reading "A Hint of Higgs!"

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