Higgs boson hunters have god particle in their sights

Are universe's secrets lurking in energy spike?

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The Higgs boson has been glimpsed by boffins at CERN who are now much closer to pinning down the particle after crunching through hundreds of gigabytes of raw data.

Previous work at CERN over the summer had whittled down the mass range in which the Higgs was most likely to be found, with the results presented by Fabiola Gianotta today narrowing the band even further. The Higgs has been dubbed the god particle because its existence could help explain why some particles have mass and thus explain the fabric of the universe.

Gianotta reported that the results allow them to restrict the mass region they are searching in to a band between 115.5 and 131 GeV. The Higgs hunters are 95 per cent confident it will be found in that range.

In particular she noted an "excess of events" at 126GeV and pointed to that mass as the most likely place to find the Higgs.

CERN gave the 126GeV mass a probability of 2.3 sigma (a measurement of statistical probability). A probability of 5 sigma is needed to be taken as conclusive proof.

The spike in the data which scientists are investigating as the the most likely manifestation of the Higgs - could simply be fluctuation of background radiation. If it is just background fluctuation it will take a lot of data to kill it, the physicist said.

"I think it would be extremely kind of the Higgs Boson to be there," Gianotta concluded.

5 inverse femtobarns (fb-1) of data have been processed to create these results, however 20 fb-1 is needed before CERN can declare a statistical probability that would be accepted as proof of the Higgs boson's existence. Welcome to theoretical physics. ®

Slide from Gianotta's presentation on Higgs Boson, credit CERN

The concluding slide from Gianotta's presentation. Note use of Comic Sans


CERN's particle-smashing spinners have claimed in a later announcement: "Whether ATLAS and CMS show over the coming months that the Standard Model Higgs boson exists or not, the LHC programme is opening the way to new physics."

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
ALIEN BODY FOUND ON MARS: Curiosity rover snaps extraterrestrial
And NASA kept evidence to itself for over a month
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS are FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, though
NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years
ETs, habitable planets will soon pop up with our new 'scopes
prev story


Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.