Feeds

Higgs boson chasers: Now only 1-in-300 MILLION chance we're wrong

Yup, we're feeling lucky, say boffins in new findings

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

CERN boffins are growing in confidence that the particle they spotted in the latest data from their Large Hadron Collider is indeed a Higgs boson.

The Atlas experiment team has upped its level of certainty for Higgs-ness in a paper [PDF] for Physics Letters B, putting the sigma level at 5.9, which translates into a one-in-300-million chance that the observed elementary particle isn't the highly sought-after mass-giving boson.

That's well over the sigma needed to declare a discovery, which is set at 5 and represents a one-in-3.5-million chance. But the Atlas scientists aren't quite willing to settle with that because it has to narrow the mass range.

The CMS experiment team also posted a paper [PDF] with further analysis of its data, but its certainty only reached 5 sigma, around the same level reported at the start of July when the world went bonkers for the Higgs.

"The Standard Model Higgs boson is excluded at 95 per cent CL in the mass range 111–559 GeV, except for the narrow region 122–131 GeV. In this region, an excess of events with significance 5.9 sigma … is observed," Atlas said in its paper.

"Taking into account the entire mass range of the search, 110–600 GeV, the global significance of the excess is 5.1 sigma."

Announcing the discovery of the Higgs boson would have a massive impact on the physics world, and our understanding of mass, so caution is the name of the game. The CERN boffins won't want to say they've seen the Higgs until they're sure beyond, er, a shadow of a doubt.

And as physicist Paris Sphicas told The Register last month, just deciding that this is a Higgs boson isn't the end of the search: scientists are eager to learn how it fits into our universe and whether theories of supersymmetry or extra dimensions are necessary to explain how we and everything around us simply exists.

Nevertheless, upping the significance of the particle find brings us a step closer to knowing that this is a new and Higgs-like elementary particle that has never been seen before. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.