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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.