Researchers at CERN and the world over were already sure they had found the Higgs Boson--five-sigma sure--but in case there were any lingering doubts a new round of results coming out of Geneva further backs the earlier findings. One team there now reports a 5.9 sigma level of certainty that the Higgs exists. That equates to a one-in-550 million chance that the results are incorrect reflections of statistical errors.
By Ann FinkbeinerPosted 01.06.2012 at 1:01 pm 30 Comments
in the beginning of the beginning, the exploding hot universe was full of elementary particles, but the particles had no mass. The universe also contained force fields, and one of those fields, the Higgs, cooled and condensed into a quantum liquid. The liquid dragged on the other particles, giving them mass. The liquid rippled, and the ripples formed a new particle, called the Higgs.
Physicists at CERN may have caught the first whiffs of the elusive Higgs boson, researchers announced this morning, but more numbers must be crunched before anyone will claim its discovery. Bumps in signals at the Large Hadron Collider are not surefire proof of the so-called god particle, at least not yet — but at the very least they're enough to keep faith in our modern theories of physics.
We know, we’ve been hearing rumors about interesting “data bumps” for months now, but this is big news — over the weekend the world’s two greatest particle smashers announced tantalizing hints that the Higgs boson may soon be within reach.
Those physicists -- give 'em an inch, and they'll take a mile. Or 20 miles. Groundbreaking science is just beginning to emerge from the Large Hadron Collider, but physicists are already planning their next atom-smasher -- a $6.7 billion linear collider they hope to start building in 2012.
Physicists will meet in Paris this week for a conference on high-energy physics, and they're expected to discuss plans for an old-school linear particle accelerator. The 20-mile-long International Linear Collider (ILC) would be more than 10 times longer than the next-biggest linear accelerator, the SLAC linear accelerator at Stanford, built in 1962.
While the LHC's in the shop for repairs from its massive breakdown last September, an older particle accelerator might beat them to finding the Higgs boson, the fundamental particle thought to give matter mass.
At a conference last week, Tevatron physicists threw down the gauntlet, vowing that by 2011, the Tevatron accelerator (located at Fermi National Accelerator Lab outside Chicago) will be able to definitively prove or disprove the existence of the Higgs boson.
Just finished a great article from today's New York Times science section on the race to find evidence of the Higgs Boson, or "God particle" as it is often called. PPX players will want to take note—it's mandatory reading if you're following our BOSON proposition (check it out here for the current market price) which seeks to predict who will win the race to find the elusive particle.
In (incredibly) simplified terms, some physicists believe the Higgs boson is the key to understanding several mysteries of the universe's formation that current theoretical models have failed to define—namely, the origin of matter. Heavy stuff, for sure, requiring some equally heavy machinery to study—the likes of which can only be found at the world's top physics labs such as Fermilab in Illinois and CERN's Large Hadron Collider, a powerful particle accelerator currently under construction at CERN's laboratory facilities near Geneva, Switzerland (check out more amazing VR photos like the one at the top of this post).
The article also does a great job in illustrating just how competitive these physicists can get, and the role of their personal blogs, where rumors of findings are posted, re-posted and commented on—taking data previously familiar to only a few dozen hardcore particle physicists in a laboratory lunch room and hurling it into whirlwind of science blogs accessibly to anyone, scientist or not. The article points to Cosmic Variance, a blog maintained by several leading physicists that lives in many a PopSci staffer's favorites list, as well as countless others. Check them out for some delightfully geeky gossip. Oh, and watch that PPX prop! —John Mahoney
NYTimes: "At Fermilab, the Race Is on For the God Particle"PPX: BOSON
Physicists are praying that their 4-mile-long machine will detect a tiny bit of matter so elusive that some consider it practically divine.
By Michael MoyerPosted 12.13.2001 at 1:29 pm 2 Comments
Buried beneath the plains of Illinois is a monster of a machine designed to mince matter into its most fundamental parts. It's called a particle accelerator, and it relies on 1,000 giant superconducting magnets, 700 scientists and engineers, and more than $10 million in annual electricity bills to keep on running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.