Feeds

Higgs boson hunters have god particle in their sights

Are universe's secrets lurking in energy spike?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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

Bootnote

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."

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
NASA eyeballs SOLAR HEAT BOMBS, MINI-TORNADOES and NANOFLARES on Sun
Astro boffins probe fiery star's hidden depths
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.