Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

LHC Homes In On Possible Higgs Boson Around 126GeV

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the abundance-of-caution dept.

Science 210

New submitter Ginger Unicorn writes "In a seminar held at CERN today, the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented the status of their searches for the Standard Model Higgs boson. Their results are based on the analysis of considerably more data than those presented at the summer conferences, sufficient to make significant progress in the search for the Higgs boson, but not enough to make any conclusive statement on the existence or non-existence of the elusive Higgs. The main conclusion is that the Standard Model Higgs boson, if it exists, is most likely to have a mass constrained to the range 116-130 GeV by the ATLAS experiment, and 115-127 GeV by CMS. Tantalising hints have been seen by both experiments in this mass region, but these are not yet strong enough to claim a discovery."

cancel ×

210 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

No they can't (4, Informative)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355988)

Unless things have changed since yesterday, the LHC cannot disprove the HB.

It can show that it isn't within certain energy ranges, but it does not have the capability of emphatically disproving it's existence over the entire predicted spectrum.

Re:No they can't (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356018)

You're gay. Go suck your dad's dick, faggo.

Re:No they can't (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356032)

It has to appear withing a certain range. Check all the ranges.

Obviously, new data could have adjust those ranges, but no new data or math has come forward.

It's like checking to see if a car in in a garage by looking at 1 sqr. mete at a time. eventual you will show that there is, or is not, a car in the garage.

Re:No they can't (5, Informative)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356210)

No that's the point; they can't check all the ranges.

The LHC is incapable of operating at the upper energies of the predicted spectrum of the higgs boson. It simply cannot check all of the places it might be hiding (this was known before construction even started)

Re:No they can't (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356260)

And that is why I shouldn't post until I have completely woken up. I mean, you clarified it in your second sentence.

Sheeesh. Sorry about that.

Re:No they can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38357258)

Been there, Done that.

Hindsight, 20/20. Foresight?.. not so much

Yes we can! (5, Informative)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356870)

The LHC is incapable of operating at the upper energies of the predicted spectrum of the higgs boson.....(this was known before construction even started)

Sorry but we certainly are capable of probing the ENTIRE allowed mass range for the Standard Model Higgs. The upper bound is ~1 TeV/c2 because at this level, without the Higgs boson, some Standard Model processes e.g. e+e--->W+W- "break unitarity" i.e. have a more than 100% chance of happening. Since this is clearly wrong it means that the Standard Model without a Higgs breaks down. Hence we only have to cover up to 1 TeV/c2 in allowed mass and either we find the Higgs or at least see a clear deviation from the SM and possibly see what causes that deviation.

There are ways to hide the Higgs, so-called "invisible Higgs" models, but these all require physics beyond the Standard Model. Also you can fit the existing SM parameters to find a prediction for the Higgs mass and this indicates that it should be below ~200GeV/c2 with a 95% confidence - although I'd take this with a pinch of salt. Now to get to the high mass range we will certainly need the full LHC energy i.e. 14 TeV. We currently have 7 TeV but this is NOT what the LHC was designed to run at - we are just limited to this energy due to the superconducting power bar problems. So to say that it was known that we cannot reach the upper energies before construction even started is simply wrong - the LHC was specifically designed to cover the entire energy range and, once we reach the design energy, we'll be able to do just that....although it is looking like the Higgs is there just at the low end of the mass range.

Re:Yes we can! (4, Funny)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357148)

And I thought your only talent was to be able to move one eyebrow completely independently from the other. Who knew?

Re:Yes we can! (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357384)

It's certainly possible that I've missed a development over the years... However, the predictions you speak of rely on two (that I'll cover) very important things:

The standard model being correct
There being no other "fudge" particles discovered along with the Higgs that rectify the breaks

Assuming that the LHC shows no higgs below 200GeV (I think it's now excluded above 150) and can also show no other "fudge" particles across all possible ranges for them to exist; they have disproven the standard model.

That doesn't really mean they've disproved the higgs boson any more than they've disproved the photon.

Re:Yes we can! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38357680)

Both the summary and grandparent talked about the Standard Model Higgs, not any abitrairy Higgs Particle. The assumptions you point out are inherent in the definition of the Standard Model Higgs. It is a subset of the possible Higgs particles that could exist, and has the nice properties of being the simplest possible and also being possible to disprove with the LHC.

Re:No they can't (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356910)

Thats incorrect, physicist know that there must have been some like the Higgs below 1TeV, and the LHC runs at 7 TeV, soon to be 14 GeV. Even with those 7 TeV divided into 3, (its the quarks that interact not the whole proton, actual its 3+3*(1+1/alpha_strong+1/apha_strong^2...Higher terms), because of the gluons in the proton). But the interaction energy is about 2 TeV per quark, so the LHC can look for a Higgs all the way to 2 Tev, evidential 4 TeV.

---

Particles Physics [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Re:No they can't (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357428)

I replied in more detail to the poster above you, but it boils down to this:

Disproving the standard model is not disproving the higgs boson (so to speak).

The photon is a member of the standard model too, but it doesn't mean that if they disprove the standard model photons cease to exist.

Once they have covered all theoretical ranges of the higgs boson including the ones that allow for breakage of the standard model, then they will have disproven the HB

Re:No they can't (4, Informative)

rasmusbr (2186518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356044)

They didn't make any specific claims today, except that there's an energy region that looks quite promising. Read the official press release [web.cern.ch]

Re:No they can't (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356232)

I did, and it specifically mentions a confirmation of existence or non-existence in 2012.

If they meant non-existence within a specific energy band, fine but that isn't what they said in the release.

Re:No they can't (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356654)

I must have misread your post. I thought you meant that the data gathered so far by the LHC can't disprove the existence of the Higgs boson.

So you mean that the LHC is unable to disprove all of the Higgs bosons that have been proposed? That's interesting. Do you have a link to an article about that for the non-physicists among us?

Re:No they can't (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357422)

If they meant non-existence within a specific energy band, fine but that isn't what they said in the release.

The Standard Model Higgs is constrained to lie within a particular energy band due to certain scattering processes becoming more than 100% likely to occur around 1 TeV/c2 if there is no Higgs (or something else). I have not seen our ATLAS predictions for the reach with twice the 2011 data (which is what we expect in 2012) but I would be surprised if it is enough to exclude all the way to 1 TeV/c2. However if it occurs at the top end of the mass range, then it becomes hard to reconcile with the existing Standard Model parameters.

Re:No they can't (-1, Troll)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356370)

Then why it is on the front page? Slow news day?

Re:No they can't (2)

rasmusbr (2186518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356972)

It's news because it confirmed the rumors that have been floating around the web the last couple of weeks. It looks like there's a decent chance* that the Higgs exists somewhere around 126 GeV.

*Unless you're one of those people who think the chance is either 1 or 0...

Re:No they can't (5, Funny)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357288)

Slow news? This could be massive news, but we're not sure yet.

Re:No they can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356608)

Just wait till they discover that those values are only local to our part of the Universe*, and that known constants, and indeed not, and entirely dependent on your position within the expanding Universe.

- this post brought to you by The Coalition For An Unstable Universe

Re:No they can't (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357046)

Well, since the war is over [nytimes.com] it won't be long before they find the Higgs. [slashdot.org]

Re:No they can't (1, Insightful)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356290)

Science dictates that you cannot prove something doesn't exist; only that it does.

Re:No they can't (-1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356356)

Wow... please go back to school.

Science dictates the exact opposite of what you just said, and I don't think you were trolling...

Re:No they can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356442)

No, he got it right. You are the one that has it wrong. You can't prove a negative. If you fail to find something in your experiment it does not prove that it does not exist. It proves that you didn't find it. Which could mean your experiment was flawed, had too small a sample size, etc. (For example, the particle can exist, but be so rare as to not be found over many iterations of testing). There is, indeed, as the OP said, no way to prove it does not exist. If, however, you find a particle - you have proved that particle exists. Just as was stated.

Re:No they can't (4, Funny)

LoyalOpposition (168041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356510)

You can't prove a negative.

Why should I believe that you can't prove a negative?

~Loyal

Re:No they can't (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356652)

....but what if I prove that "you can't prove a negative ?" Then what, gentlemen ?

Re:No they can't (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357032)

All general statements are false.

Re:No they can't (1)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357636)

You can't prove a negative is not a rule of logic. Go back to school.

Can you prove 2+2 is not equal to 58.
No you can't prove a negative.

Assume 2+2= 58
2= 1+1

1+1+1+1= count them =4
4=58
initial assumption is false
2+2 is in fact not equal to 58 negative proved. This is a counter example to the statement "You can't prove a negative"
"You can't prove a negative" is false

-------

Yes you can make general statements that are true.
"All general statements are false" is not a rule of logic. Go back to school.

"2+2 is always equal to 4". Is a general statement.
2=1+1
1+1+1+1=count them =4
4=4 true
The particular general statement "2+2 is always equal to 4" is true. "2+2 is always equal to 4" is a counter example to "All general statements are false".
"All general statements are false" is, in fact, its self false.

Re:No they can't (3, Informative)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356546)

Both of you are not exactly wrong, nor are you exactly right IMHO. As you guy talk about existence and non-existence proofs ( there are other types of proof ), let me jump on your bandwaggon: Proving negatives sometimes *is* possible, e.g. in mathematics, as in : "There exists no natural number n satisfying such and such properties...". Proving the non-existence of the Higgs Boson is another and much stronger cup of tea. First, the proof domain would be physics, not mere and pure mathematics. Second, the Higgs Boson is a construct within a theory. Proving the HB not to exist would require the theory to be falsified, the outlook for which is, gently said, scant. Third, the mathematics under the theory is sound, provenly so. Therefore, both of you are ( not so exactly ) wrong.

Re:No they can't (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356990)

Sorry you too are wrong:

Science works in a very specific way:

Form hypothesis, compare against observations.

If your hypothesis isn't matched by observations, you were wrong; if your hypothesis is matched by observations you weren't wrong, but that doesn't mean you were specifically right either.

Science deals in negation, not affirmation. We believe things exist because we have shown other explanations to be incorrect, not because we have proof that our current ones are correct.

Re:No they can't (4, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357482)

You can't prove a negative.

Sure you can. You can prove that a number is not even. "You can't prove a negative" is an oversimplification of the axiom that "absence of evidence" != "evidence of absence". But even that is not saying that there's no such thing as "evidence of absence." A properly designed experiment *can* provide evidence of absence just as reliably as a properly designed experiment can provide evidence of existence. What it cannot do is speak to conditions outside the scope of the experiment, but neither can any experiment. There is always a non-zero probability that any inference is wrong, which is why scientists speak in terms of confidence levels instead of absolutes. And even then, it's easy to make the mistake that a high degree of confidence is the same as an absolute truth, when it could be that an experiment was biased in a way that no one had noticed.

Re:No they can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356452)

Science dictates that you cannot prove something exists?

Re:No they can't (2)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356876)

Philosophy dictates that you cannot prove something exists.

Re:No they can't (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357092)

Cogito ergo sum.

Re:No they can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38357674)

that is an assumption, not a proof

Re:No they can't (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357590)

Excuse me, this was supposed to be a triple nonfat latte.

Re:No they can't (2)

lordholm (649770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356482)

No, you can only prove known properties. You cannot prove a negative. Or to rephrase, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

To take someone else's example, imagine the flying teapot in orbit some where in the solar system, you cannot disprove that it is there. However, by finding it you can prove its existence. What you can probably do is to show that it is unlikely that something exists; so unlikely that you consider that the thing does not exist. However disproving it completely is not possible. We can thus assume that a flying teapot in the orbit around jupiter does not exist, because it would be very unlikely that it did, however you cannot disprove it completelly by not finding it.

Re:No they can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356640)

Except one of the properties for something to be a Higgs boson is a minimum coupling strength to Standard Model particles and to have a mass below a certain limit.

We cannot disprove the teapot's existence, but we can disprove the existence of a planet of a certain size and albedo out to a certain distance from the Sun.

Re:No they can't (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356738)

Science is very clear about it's own mission:

You form a hypothesis, and either demonstrate that it is consistent with observations or inconsistent.

If it is inconsistent, you were wrong. If it was consistent it doesn't mean you were right.

Science allows for negation, it does not ever allow for emphatic affirmation.

Re:No they can't (3, Insightful)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357240)

To take someone else's example, imagine the flying teapot in orbit some where in the solar system, you cannot disprove that it is there.

If your teapot has certain properties (minimum size, interacts with electromagnetic radiation for example), you could scan the solar system with apparatus known to be sensitive enough to detect such an object. If, after scanning the entire solar system in this way, you find nothing, then you have proved that the teapot isn't there.

Similarly, the Higgs has certain properties (otherwise it wouldn't be the Higgs), and we know that the LHC is ultimately sensitive enough to detect particles with those properties.

Re:No they can't (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357562)

Well, to take your flying teapot example, if the premise that if the flying teapot exists and we are looking at it then we will detect it is true, then failure to detect it after exhaustively searching the solar system would be sufficient to completely disprove the existence of the teacup in the solar system. The only way the teacup could actually exist within the solar system under such circumstances is if it were, in fact, completely undetectable - which makes the suggestion of its existence quite meaningless.

D'oh! Freudian typo's... 1,$s/teacup/teapot/g (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357628)

Not sure how it happened... I started saying the right one, and somehow ended up saying another.

Re:No they can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356538)

Wow ...not only were you wrong, but you were a jerk about it too, and I don't think you were trolling...

Re:No they can't (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356780)

I think you two are talking about slightly different things. A new species, for instance, most certainly can only be proved to exist, and never to not exist. Theories, on the other hand, can only be falsified or "determined to agree in this instance" but not ever proved.

Re:No they can't (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356858)

Science proper only deals with the latter; a new species cannot actually be "proved" to be anything unless you have a full and precise description of it down to the subatomic makeup.

You can however show that a new specimen does not belong to a current classification, and thus requires a new one. That's just how science works.

Re:No they can't (4, Funny)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356362)

It's the God particle. Have a little faith.

Re:No they can't (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357398)

Actually, you can... by contradiction. If the original premise that is disproven by contradiction can be shown to be necessary and sufficient for some other phenomenon that you are hoping to prove (such as the existence of the Higg's, for example), then you will have disproven the existence of that phenomenon as well.

Re:No they can't (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356376)

the LHC cannot disprove the HB

...or unicorns.

Re:No they can't (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356750)

Unless things have changed since yesterday, the LHC cannot disprove the HB.

The article/summary is over simplified. They are trying to prove or disprove the standard model. It predicts the existence of the Higgs boson within a certain energy range. Failure to find the Higgs boson within those ranges will disprove the standard model.

Re:No they can't (1)

Yobgod Ababua (68687) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357186)

They could if the data suggested it.

As it is, the data strongly indicates the Higgs is in fact around 120 GeV, but they only have enough statistics so far to claim "evidence" and not "proof".

Re:No they can't (3)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357270)

Unless things have changed since yesterday, the LHC cannot disprove the HB. It can show that it isn't within certain energy ranges, but it does not have the capability of emphatically disproving it's existence over the entire predicted spectrum.

That's literally true but misleading. Here [arxiv.org] is a paper that explains how non-LHC data constrain the standard-model Higgs to have a mass between 115 and 148 GeV. The LHC can't test whether there's a Higgs with a very high mass, but that's irrelevant because we know it has to be below 148 GeV based on non-LHC data. Based on the combination of non-LHC and LHC data, we know that if there's a standard-model Higgs, then it has a mass of about 115-127 GeV. The LHC is absolutely capable of disproving the existence of a standard-model Higgs within that mass range, if it doesn't actually exist. If there is no SM Higgs, we will know that within a couple of years based on LHC data.

The real reason there may be a lot of uncertainty for years to come is that there are many different ways of making a model with a Higgs in it. The standard model is only one of them. Some of the non-SM Higgses could be very difficult to detect. Here [profmattstrassler.com] is a nice discussion of that. There are scenarios where the SM Higgs is ruled out by 2014, but by 2022 we still will not have detected or ruled out a non-SM Higgs.

Re:No they can't (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357670)

I've looked at it again, and I think the issue is in their wording. They flip back and forth between saying "Standard Model Higgs Boson" and just Higgs Boson.

Those are very different things, and if you assume that they mean SM everywhere they don't say it then what they say is valid.

They will not ever be able to disprove the Higgs Boson with the LHC, disproving the standard model (higgs boson) isn't an issue.

Re:No they can't (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357382)

Erm... no

Actually, the LHC can't prove the existence of the Higgs Boson

They can show overwhelming evidence for it, up to the point the Higgs Boson is as accepted as the electron for instance

But until then, you can't "disprove" a thing that has the best evidence for existing @ 3 sigma...

Re:No they can't (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357582)

Try replying to what is actually written next time.

Nobody will *ever* be able to prove the existence of the higgs boson. LHC cannot *disprove* the existence of the higgs boson.

Those statements do not contradict each other, and I only made one of them.

Thanks for playing though

Re:No they can't, I agree ... (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357538)

I can emphatically say the Higgs boson does not exist.

However, me being emphatic does not have any significance.

Hence, the the probability of the Higgs boson existence is greater-than or equivalent-too the significance of my emphatic comment.

Reality is self-induced hallucination.

OMG Ponies! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356006)

Watch My Little Pony every Saturday.
Only on the hub.

It is called the "God particle" (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356020)

See? [wsj.com]

I can't understand how Slashdot would pass on mentioning that in the headline.

I was already prepared for creationists building their own Disney-world themed Large Hadron Collider to travelling back into time when dinosaurs and men did dance together for God.

So far, so good (4, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356028)

So far, so good, no one here calling it the God Particle yet. Lets keep it that way. Annoying as all hell.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson#.22The_God_particle.22 [wikipedia.org]

"Lederman initially wanted to call it the "goddamn particle," but his editor would not let him"

Re:So far, so good (4, Funny)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356102)

That would actually be funny, just imagine this preached in your neightbourhood ultra right wing church: "Scientist admits that his unholy work on particle science is damned by God!"

Re:So far, so good (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356162)

Unlucky. See the post above yours. I thought there were summaries calling it the "God Particle" a year or two though. Don't know where else I would have heard the phrase from.

Re:So far, so good (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356658)

The why the HELL did you bring it up?
Now everyone is thinking about it that way.

Re:So far, so good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38357508)

So far, so good, no one here calling it the God Particle yet. Lets keep it that way. Annoying as all hell.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson#.22The_God_particle.22 [wikipedia.org]

"Lederman initially wanted to call it the "goddamn particle," but his editor would not let him"

hi

Where my cows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356052)

Strangely, at the same moment they ran the test, my cows and barn disappeared in a weird space-time folding. But correlation isn't causation, so they say...

How do they calculate the upper bound? (1)

IICV (652597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356056)

Just out of curiosity, how exactly do they constrain the upper bound on the mass of the Higgs boson? I mean, the lower bound seems to be "we've looked at that energy level and it probably isn't there", but they can't do that for the upper bound, can they?

It's turtles . . . (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356116)

. . . all the way up . . .

Re:It's turtles . . . (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356544)

. . . all the way up . . .

... it's hiding in the eleven range...

Re:How do they calculate the upper bound? (4, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356208)

the Standard Model become inconsistent with Higgs boson masses above 1.4 TeV, for example nonsensical total probabilities for certain scattering events greater than 100% appear (unitarity is violated)

Re:How do they calculate the upper bound? (5, Informative)

fljmayer (985663) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356212)

As said at http://cms.web.cern.ch/news/cms-search-standard-model-higgs-boson-lhc-data-2010-and-2011 [web.cern.ch] , they have excluded 128 – 525 GeV at 99% confidence level. I am not sure they measure higher than 525 GeV with LHC for now. I would expect that existing theories for the Higgs put limits on its mass. Of course theories can be wrong, but if all theories about the Higgs are wrong, then there is no such particle.

Re:How do they calculate the upper bound? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356236)

One way to constrain the upper bound is with theory. The current Standard Model (without the Higgs) predicts that certain processes will start occurring more than 100% of the time at an energy of approximately 1TeV. The Higgs (or some other similar particle) fixes this problem but only if its mass is below a certain value.

Re:How do they calculate the upper bound? (5, Informative)

kkumer (36175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356280)

Looking for higher mass Higgs is easier than for this 120-ish GeV mass. E.g. if Higgs would be 150-200 GeV it would (via heavy vector bosons, which are 80-90 GeV) decay a lot into electrons and muons which are very easy to detect and see that they come from decay of Higgs. For 120-ish GeV Higgs, it decays mostly into two quarks and this is difficult to see because there are a *lot* of quarks flying around in proton-proton machine. So they have to use decays into two photons, which don't happen so often. Thus they need more time to discover Higgs of 125 GeV, than they would need for the one of 200 GeV.

The Higgs Boson (5, Funny)

philj (13777) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356064)

The Higgs Boson is holding a press conference at midnight on Dec 24th. He's giving Christmas mass.

Re:The Higgs Boson (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356138)

Boo Hisss!

Re:The Higgs Boson (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356152)

Please, we all know that Higgs is buddhist, with all the particle reincarnation as other particles and energy.

Re:The Higgs Boson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356160)

Well, he IS the God particle, after all...

I for one welcome our Higgsy overlord... (5, Informative)

TenDollarMan (1307733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356074)

I was lucky enough to have a lunch hour where I could see the ATLAS results presentation.

The actual bump on the ATLAS graph was about 126 GeV, and the local sigma was 3.6 which is pretty good. The overall was only 2.4, which IIRC is about 95% certainty. I like the odds of finding it there.

Re:I for one welcome our Higgsy overlord... (4, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357586)

The actual bump on the ATLAS graph was about 126 GeV, and the local sigma was 3.6 which is pretty good

This model of everything [arxiv.org] predicted a Higgs at 125.992, which is pretty close (with the current error bars). Could be coincidence, of course, but their idea of a well-defined set of rules that predicts each particle's mass correctly is tantalizing.

Thank you for not calling it the "God particle" (0)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356076)

Whoever came up with that moniker needs a boot party.

Re:Thank you for not calling it the "God particle" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356312)

> Whoever came up with that moniker needs a boot party.

You just don't know how to appreciate angry Creationists building their own Large Hadron Collider

Hint: Epic!

Who gets their name written in the history books? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356100)

Something like this has 10s of thousands of people behind it to make it work. The question I have is, in 1000 years, whose name(s) will be linked with it?

Re:Who gets their name written in the history book (1)

cmv1087 (2426970) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356176)

Whoever patents it first.

Re:Who gets their name written in the history book (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356186)

Higgs'?

:)

Re:Who gets their name written in the history book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356206)

No one. Society wont exist in 1000 years.

Re:Who gets their name written in the history book (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356238)

uh, you do know "Higgs" is a physicist's name? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Higgs [wikipedia.org]

If I understood it correctly (4, Insightful)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356252)

The announcement today just narrows the mass. The /. summary is perfectly adequate, and is a complete summary of the situation!

There is also a small point, about a candidate mass just under 127GeV, with less than 3 sigma. The /. title is talking about that, but doesn't clarify it. Of course, some information with less than 3 sigma can change any time.

Re:If I understood it correctly (4, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356878)

There's also a dog-that-didn't-bark factor here. If the Higgs didn't exist at all, that absence would have manifested itself in this data. They still can't give the mass, but there was an opportunity for the data to surprise us, and it didn't. Which just means more looking, as opposed to going all the way back to the drawing board.

May We Live in Interesting Times. (5, Insightful)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356418)

The fascinating thing about the energy they're talking about (125-126 GeV) is that it's too low. So low, in fact, that the equations predict vacuum instability at about that range. [vixra.org]

What does vacuum instability mean? It means that vacuum might have a half-life, after which it decays into energy. This is a cool concept until you realize that the Universe is mostly made of vacuum. If the Universe were to spontaneously disintegrate, that would be Bad.

Of course since that doesn't happen, there must be new physics that keeps everything from fizzling out. That means that if the Higgs boson is found at 126 GeV then we're not done searching. There will be new questions to answer and possibly a new particle, the Higgsino [wikipedia.org] , to look for.

Exciting stuff if you're a physics nerd. Or really for anyone who has a vested interest in the Universe continuing to exist.

Re:May We Live in Interesting Times. (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356700)

"There's always an Alien Battle Cruiser...or a Korlian Death Ray, or...an intergalactic plague about to wipe out life on this planet, and the only thing that lets people get on with their hopeful little lives is that they don't know about it."

I wouldn't be worried about vacuum instability as a cause of death, I'd be more interested in it as an energy source, personally. But then we're still talking huge amounts of pie-in-the-sky concepts here.

Re:May We Live in Interesting Times. (3, Insightful)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356792)

I don't understand why everybody seems to have a problem with vacuum instability. Ok, not with instability per se, but what is the problem with meta-stability? Wouldn't it explain inflation?

Re:May We Live in Interesting Times. (4, Interesting)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357062)

Metastability might explain inflation. But it also invites the possibility that inflation could kick off again, and the universe could revert to a previous state where things like stars, planets, and life can not exist. That's what people have a problem with, I think.

Of course, the fact that this hasn't happened is proof that it probably cannot. The question we then need to answer is why not. It's as if God has us all in a gigantic microwave oven, and we're trying to figure out what's keeping him from hitting the 'Start' button...

Re:May We Live in Interesting Times. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38357418)

Of course, the fact that this hasn't happened is proof that it probably cannot.

That sentence bothers me a lot, because it's missing the accompanying information that those of us who have no background in quantum physics lack. "The theory predicts that a diet rich in cholesterol can cause heart attacks, I've been eating cholesterol-rich foods all my life and have never had a heart-attack, which is proof that I probably will not have a heart-attack."

I understand that the universe is very, very old, but without the accompanying probability of the vacuum instability event you're talking about, your sentence is just as bad. If the Higgs at those energy levels make vacuum have a half-life, but that half-life is very, very large, then the fact that it hasn't happened yet says absolutely nothing about the probability that it will happen in the future. So, do as all a favor and include the rest of the information. "The Higgs at that energy level says we should see vaccum decaying into energy every billion years, every thousands of years, every microsecond", something.

Re:May We Live in Interesting Times. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38357502)

You mean the universe won't disappear the moment we prove the existence of the Higgs Boson?

Back to the future... (1)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356426)

5.60 Gigawatts! 5.60 GIGAWATTS?! Great Scott!

Particle Business (1)

funky49 (182835) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356548)

Obligatory post of my "Particle Business" music video shot at Fermilab

http://youtu.be/oaG6umMkbxg [youtu.be]

Permit a silly question for a moment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356622)

... but how do they know when they found it?

Re:Permit a silly question for a moment... (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356812)

They see something like 0.001% of one kind of particle, or 0.01% of other more than expected.

"Homes In"?? (1)

mgcleveland (2029194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357134)

Really?

I thought this was not a good day for HEP (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357178)

THey should not have held a presser at this point as what they had really wasn't very much at all. Going from memory I think it was 3.6 sigma at Atlas and 2.6 at CMS but when including LEE the Atlas result dropped significantly, something like 1.9 or 2.2? And CMS dropped as well. As DO, CDF and others can attest, 3 and even 4 sigma bumps can and do vanish under increased statistics. And while the p figures for Atlas and CMS were good, I just do not buy into combining the results of weak sigma events to claim something more significant. To me, this "announcement" was done purely for political reasons and not for scientific ones.

Minor grammatical nit-pick (1)

Shreav (195174) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357544)

It is to "hone in" on something, not to "home in".
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>