Tag Archives: Large Hadron Collider

From CERN: The experiments have observed a “particle consistent with long-sought Higgs boson.”

From CERN: The experiments there have now observed a “particle consistent with long-sought Higgs boson.”

The press release also emphasizes repeatedly the preliminary nature of this result. More details in this article, including this not unexpected punchline if you know science:

Already, the new boson seems to be decaying slightly more often into pairs of gamma rays than was predicted by theories, says Bill Murray, a physicist on ATLAS, the other experiment involved in making the discovery.

The U.S.-based physicists announced today that their data suggests that the Higgs boson exists.

Rumors of Higgs: The U.S.-based physicists announced today that their data suggests that the Higgs boson exists.

Meanwhile, there are hints that a major announcement from the Large Hadron Collider concerning the discovery of a major new particle will be announced on Wednesday.

A rehash of the available data has narrowed the search for the Higgs particle.

A rehash of the available data has narrowed the search for the Higgs particle.

Taken together with data from the other detector, ATLAS, Higgs overall signal now unofficially stands at about 4.3σ. In other words, if statistics are to be believed, then this signal has about a 99.996% chance of being right.

It all sounds very convincing, but don’t get too excited, because the fact is that statistical coincidences happen every day. Over at Cosmic Variance, Sean Carroll points out that there is a 3.8σ signal in the Super Bowl coin toss.

LHC’s first year’s hunt for the Higgs is ending

The first year’s hunt by the Large Hadron Collider for the Higgs particle is ending.

Vivek Sharma of the University of California, San Diego, who heads the search for the Higgs at [one experiment], points out that results . . . have already ruled out, with a confidence of 2 sigma, a Higgs mass of between about 145 and 400 gigaelectronvolts, and that the LHC’s predecessor, the Large Electron Positron collider, ruled out a Higgs mass below about 114 gigaelectronvolts. So the Higgs, if it exists, almost certainly lies in the gap between the two. According to Sharma, the extra data to be collected in 2012 once proton-proton collisions resume in March will allow the CERN scientists to “either find the Higgs in this mass range, or wipe it out”.

If the Higgs particle turns out not to exist, it will mean that physicists will have to go back to the drawing board to explain all the phenomenon seen in the subatomic world.

Early hints of the Higgs boson fade with fresh data.

Early hints that scientists had found the Higgs boson at CERN have faded with fresh data.

New data presented today at the Lepton Photon conference in Mumbai, India, show the signal fading. It means that “this excess is probably just a statistical fluctuation”, says Adam Falkowski, a theorist at the University of Paris-South in Orsay, France.

Data leaks from particle hunters raise questions about controlling scientific secrecy

Recent data leaks from particle hunters is now raising questions among physicists about the question of controlling scientific secrecy. To me, the most significant quote from the article was this:

“Should leakers or bloggers be punished for making early findings public?

That this question is even asked by someone in the science field is disturbing. Though the leaks might be annoying and counter to the agreements the scientists signed when they joined these various projects, I wonder how the author expects such punishment to be administrated. And who would do it? And should such punishment apply to everyone, or just to the participating scientists?