Higgs Boson found?


This is apparently a rumor, but one probably leaked by physicists involved in the project.  As Wired Science reports, there are tantalizing hints that the elusive Higgs Boson has finally been found via the Large Hadron Collider at the Franco-Swiss border:


Ever since tantalizing hints of the Higgs turned up in December at the Large Hadron Collider, scientists there have been busily analyzing the results of their energetic particle collisions to further refine their search.

“The bottom line though is now clear: There’s something there which looks like a Higgs is supposed to look,” wrote mathematician Peter Woit on his blog, Not Even Wrong. According to Woit, there are rumors of new data that would be the most compelling evidence yet for the long-sought Higgs.

The possible news has a number of physics bloggers speculating that LHC scientists will announce the discovery of the Higgs during the International Conference on High Energy Physics, which takes place in Melbourne, Australia, July 4 to 11.

The new buzz is just the latest in the Higgs search drama. In December, rumors circulated regarding hints of the Higgs around 125 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), roughly 125 times the mass of a proton. While those rumors eventually turned out to be true, the hard data only amounted to what scientists call a 3-sigma signal, meaning that there is a 0.13 percent probability that the events happened by chance. This is the level at which particle physicists will only say they have “evidence” for a particle.

In the rigorous world of high-energy physics, researchers wait to see a 5-sigma signal, which has only a 0.000028 percent probability of happening by chance, before claiming a “discovery.”

The latest Higgs rumors suggest nearly-there 4-sigma signals are turning up at both of the two separate LHC experiments that are hunting for the particle. As physicist Philip Gibbs points out on his blog, Vixra log, if each experiment is seeing a 4-sigma signal, then this is almost definitely the long-sought particle. Combining the two 4-sigma results should be enough to clear that 5-sigma hurdle.

You might know that the Higgs boson is the final remaining particle predicted by the famous “standard model” of particle physics.  It was predicted by six physicists, and the paper announcing its discovery (if it turns out to be real) will undoubtedly have elebenty gazillion authors.  So who gets the Nobel Prize, which is limited to three people in any given year?


Written By: Jerry Coyne
continue to source article at whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com


  1. I’d like to know what calculation obtains 5 sigma from two 4 sigma sources. I know how it’d look, but I want to see the actual numbers. By the way, 125 GeV/c² is actually 133 times the proton mass, not 125.

  2. Interesting anecdote from Wikipedia:

    Higgs wrote a short paper exploiting a loophole in Goldstone’s theorem and published it in Physics Letters, a European physics journal edited at CERN, in Switzerland, in 1964. Higgs wrote a second paper describing a theoretical model (now called the Higgs mechanism) but the paper was rejected (the editors of Physics Letters judged it “of no obvious relevance to physics“). Higgs wrote an extra paragraph and sent his paper to Physical Review Letters, another leading physics-journal, which published it later that year.

    As an atheist, Higgs is reported by Robert Evans of CNN to be displeased that the particle is nicknamed the “God particle“. Higgs is afraid the term “might offend people who are religious“. This nickname for the Higgs boson is usually attributed to Leon Lederman, but it is actually the result of Lederman’s publisher’s censoring. Originally Lederman intended to call it “the goddamn particle“, because of its elusiveness.

    Any true “God particle” would by definition be massless, simply due to the weight of the evidence for it, and its intrinsic spin would be — if thousands of years of religious studies can be trusted, nearly infinite.

  3. Hmm… very interesting.  You didn’t sign the name “Richard” at the bottom of the post, which lends a bit of evidence to your claim.

    Perhaps this is Brian Cox, slumming at the Professor’s house?



    All About Meme
    very interesting.  You didn’t sign the name “Richard” at the bottom of
    the post, which lends a bit of evidence to your claim.

    Perhaps this is Brian Cox, slumming at the Professor’s house?


    While the prospect of Brian Cox and Richard Dawkins hanging out together like old pals is exhilarating to me for some reason, why would Brian Cox, a particle physicist himself, defer to Lawrence Krauss’ explanation of the Higgs boson?

    In fact, Brian Cox has written about, tweeted about, and even made a television programme about the Higgs boson.  So your theory doesn’t hold up, I’m afraid.

  5. “I see the post I just made above as made by Richard Dawkins. I am not Richard Dawkins but it’s flattering that my computer thinks so.”
    It shows up that way for me too, and apparently others as well. The moderators had better fix this bug quickly, or the anti-Dawkins gang may have a field day: “Dawkins turns schizophrenic on own website”.

    Also, with this new system I can’t seem to  find any menu for formatting (block quotes, italics, bolds, weblinks etc.)?

  6. “Also, I don’t know if anyone else see this the same way I do, but I see the post I just made above as made by Richard Dawkins. I am not Richard Dawkins but it’s flattering that my computer thinks so.”

    Are you ‘not Richard Dawkins’ with a 4 sigma or a 5 sigma probability ?

  7. Many thanks, the notes have been saved and will be thoroughly studied. I realize of course that I ought to know those shortcuts in any case, it’s just that the old reply toolbars were so handy for lazy buggers like me.

  8. It is almost as though if you search hard enough, any remotely plausible particle can be found. It is as if were are creating reality as we go, by deciding what to look for.   Maybe we should instead try looking for something we are pretty sure is not there. I would like to see some experiments on self deception. Maybe scientists too are much more susceptible to wishful thinking and self-deception that we imagine.  Maybe the reality is if you create the situations to detect particle X it invokes it into being, even if there has never been one before.  That sounds too weird to even consider, yet we have already proved our intuition about what is possible in the realm of the very small is utterly incompetent.

    Quantum mechanics is weird, but does not mean that everything weird is quantum mechanics.

  9. Did it occur to anyone else, that the scientists at facilities such as LHC are actually finding the very narrow set of colliding experiment fine-tunings to acceleration, beam containment, and sensor arrays, that produces results that are interpretable by their current scientific theories as significant and indicatory?   Like flicking paint off of a paintbrush onto a blank canvas, until the result of a single flick is a picture of the Sistine Chapel…?

  10. Stop me if you’ve heard this one:
    The Higgs Boson walks into a church. 
    The Priest says “Sorry, but we don’t allow Higgs in here”
    The Higgs Boson replies: “But without me, how can there be any mass?”

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