Feeds

Second Higgs possibility pops up in CERN data

Massive surprise lurks in LHC data release

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Isn’t that just typical? Science waits half a century for a Higgs boson, and when it arrives, just like a bus, a second one is right behind.

That’s the tantalising prospect raised by the most recent release of data from the Large Hadron Collider scientists, who had barely finished celebrating after confirming that they’d spotted the elusive particle.

The Higgs boson was posited as part of the Standard Model as necessary to bestow mass on other fundamental particles – the W and Z bosons – but it took the era of high-powered colliders like the LHC and the now-retired Fermilab Tevatron to produce energies high enough to bring the particle into existence.

It also took a lot of data-gathering, because the Higgs pops its head up in only a few collisions out of millions or billions.

As Scientific American explains, ever since the original Higgs boson announcement, scientists have been reviewing the ATLAS experimental data to try and identify possible anomalies – and they’ve turned up a gem.

Atlas chart of Higgs boson signals

What a surprise looks like: blue plot shows 123.5 GeV signal, red shows 126.5 GeV signal. Source: CERN

There appears to be not one Higgs boson “signal”, but two: one at 123.5 GeV (giga-electron volts), the other at 126.5 GeV. The first decays into pairs of Z particles, while the second shows the decay of a Higgs into two photons. (Here, “signal” refers to a spike in the observations at a particular mass level.)

It could, of course, be a statistical blip that disappears as more data is collected – the next big data release from CERN is scheduled for March – or, as particle physicist Adam Falkowski blogs, it could result from a “systematic error” (he humourously posits “alcohol abuse” as a possibility).

However, as Scientific American notes, the ATLAS scientists have worked hard trying to filter such errors out of their data.

A pair of Higgs isn’t excluded by the Standard Model of physics – but Falkowski points out that the two observations are too similar in mass, something which would be difficult to explain.

Even if the “twin peaks” in the data are resolved in the next release, physicists won’t find themselves kicking cans down the street in boredom: they still need to explain why there seem to be more Higgs-photon decays than they expected. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.