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Fermilab Experiment Hints At Multiple Higgs Particles 271

Posted by kdawson
from the so-many-particles-mister-fermi dept.
krou writes "Recent results from the Dzero experiment at the Tevatron particle accelerator suggest that those looking for a single Higgs boson particle should be looking for five particles, and the data gathered may point to new laws beyond the Standard Model. 'The DZero results showed much more significant "asymmetry" of matter and anti-matter — beyond what could be explained by the Standard Model. Bogdan Dobrescu, Adam Martin and Patrick J Fox from Fermilab say this large asymmetry effect can be accounted for by the existence of multiple Higgs bosons. They say the data point to five Higgs bosons with similar masses but different electric charges. Three would have a neutral charge and one each would have a negative and positive electric charge. This is known as the two-Higgs doublet model.'" There's more detail in this writeup from Symmetry Magazine, a joint publication of SLAC and Fermilab. Here's the paper on the arXiv.
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Fermilab Experiment Hints At Multiple Higgs Particles

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  • Re:That's awesome. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @08:23PM (#32585468) Journal
    I'm guessing that this won't reassure them. "So, our big machine discovered some weird stuff, that we'll need to build two bigger machines to investigate in proper detail. I'm sure that neither of those will repeat this process..."

    Outside of people informed enough to oppose particular scientific projects as being ill-conceived compared to other ones, support for, or opposition to, research projects is pretty much an ideological matter. People who support science as an end will be dissuaded only by the most grindingly uninteresting streaks of purely negative results. People who oppose it(or who rank it very low compared to other ends) will be appeased by only results that are trivially applicable to whatever they do care about. If, for example, one of these Higgs particles could be commercialized as a cure for male-pattern baldness or a source of HDTVs within the next two years...
  • by chill (34294) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @08:27PM (#32585516) Journal

    you gotta love nature. just when you think you figured out what is behind the curtain, nature reveals yet another curtain.

  • Ironically (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tybalt_Capulet (1400481) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @08:30PM (#32585542)

    They built the LHC at Cern for something that was found out at the place they were trying to make obsolete.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @08:38PM (#32585634)

    Anybody else think this is modern-day snake oil?

    No.

    Have you ever considered what technologies we wouldn't have today if people hadn't concerned themselves with the surprising spectrum of black body radiation over a century ago?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @08:39PM (#32585642)

    nope

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @08:45PM (#32585698)

    You can't win if you don't play.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @09:01PM (#32585822)

    In the trunk of your flying car?

  • Re:That's awesome. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @09:10PM (#32585918) Journal
    I'm afraid your reading comprehension leaves something to be desired.

    "Outside of people informed enough to oppose particular scientific projects as being ill-conceived compared to other ones, support for, or opposition to, research projects is pretty much an ideological matter. People who support science as an end will be dissuaded only by the most grindingly uninteresting streaks of purely negative results. People who oppose it(or who rank it very low compared to other ends) will be appeased by only results that are trivially applicable to whatever they do care about. If, for example, one of these Higgs particles could be commercialized as a cure for male-pattern baldness or a source of HDTVs within the next two years..."

    The first phrase intentionally excludes scientists in the discipline and very atypically well informed laymen from the rest of the discussion. For them, negative results are certainly of use(though, if you look at scientific publication patterns, even among the professionals, positive results publish better) and of interest.

    Then there is the category of interested laymen. The sort of people who like science, think space travel and big science machines are pretty cool, paid attention in high school/undergrad science classes, read science popularizations and maybe the occasional lighter paper, attend lectures when available, etc. Here, I stand by my assertion that an excessively dull string of negative results will blunt their enthusiasm. Not enough to turn them into the third category; but enough that they will probably lose interest in project X and go watch project Y instead.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @09:13PM (#32585964)

    (I'm pretty sure he hasn't ever considered that)

    there is this interesting feature of human nature where if you don't have tangible experience with something yourself the concept must either be wrong or not exist in the first place. "I don't understand the science behind quantum physics / global warmning / whatever and haven't heard a plausible car analogy to explain it, therefore all the scientists have made a big mistake and doesn't exist." the arrogance of introspective existence or something. or maybe just a lack of empathy.

  • by Danse (1026) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @09:13PM (#32585966)

    If we are going to get time travel out of it we would already be neck deep in time travelers and it would be impossible to get tickets to the world cup. Neither of those things is happening so this result will not give us time travel.

    Perhaps we're already knee deep in them and don't even know it. They're probably really good at creating identities for themselves, and if they ever fuck up, they could go back and fix it. Or perhaps this period in time is considered to be a pretty shitty time to come back to, so they don't bother?

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @09:37PM (#32586162) Homepage

    the arrogance of introspective existence or something. or maybe just a lack of empathy.

    Or maybe just the lack of science education. I took a college-level chemistry class recently. It kicked my ass, but it was worth it. When you can sit down with a piece of paper and a pencil and predict the results of some experiment mathematically, then go into a lab, perform the experiment, and see your results proven correct, you really get a feeling for, "Hey, maybe they really aren't just making all this shit up."

    Unfortunately, not many people today are given this experience/forced to have this experience.

  • by thrawn_aj (1073100) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @09:46PM (#32586242)
    Thank you! It's nice to know that a scientist did not come up with this name (as I idly speculated somewhere else on this page). Unfortunately, (as in this case), it only takes a bit of time before a snarky name or an in-joke is taken seriously by enough people that a whole "well scientists are looking for god too" movement builds up.
  • Re:That's awesome. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:23PM (#32586512) Homepage

    I guess to me it's strongly correlated with how universal in space and time the results are. It's fairly easy to do science which is good science as such, but just either very constricted, navel gazing or void of any fundamental insights. Of course case studies are to the soft sciences what experiments are to the hard sciences, but I don't see how studying ancient Egyptians will ever yield anything significant outside the field of ancient Egyptians. Understanding the fundamental particles and forces of the universe is extremely lasting knowledge and any insights or applications you can find can be used by all of humanity forever. To take one example, Magnetic resonance imaging [wikipedia.org] is very useful in medicine, less than 40 years old and depends on a deep understanding of nuclear magnetic resonance.

    True, some thing won't be practically useful now or in the future but how would you know that if you haven't discovered what it can and can't do? To me it's a little bit like handing an illiterate forest tribe a laptop without telling him anything about it, I doubt they'd find it useful because they'd have no idea what to use it for or even the knowledge or concepts to begin using it. The same goes for things that appear to be extremely costly, if you went back 50 years and tried to explain modern computers to an economist he'd short circuit because the cost would be beyond the GDP of the world many times over at the price/performance ratio he is used to. I have no idea what the first laser cost but I'm sure it was massive, today you can get them for next to nothing to use as a laser pointer or in every DVD player or PC with optical drive. But I guess many people are like the stock market, "long term" is what happens next year and equally short-sighted too.

  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @11:01PM (#32586754)

    (but I don't know if the phenomenon is actually FTL or not).

    It is, that's what makes it cool. When particles are entangled, if you move one the other moves with no outside influence - the action is instantaneous and distance doesn't matter. The hard part right now is keeping them entangled at a distance - the further apart you move the particles the harder it is to keep them from losing their entanglement. So long as they are actually entangled, though, distance doesn't introduce any kind of delay in the reaction of one particle to another. If they could get it to work across the world it would be phenomenal, but so far they've only managed a few feet.

    In any case, the parent poster was talking about actual applications of quantum entanglement today. As you said, we've got ideas, but no applications yet.

    I personally think understanding how/why mass exists is going to do a lot in the area of energy at first, and if it opens up a more correct theory of physics the sky is the limit really. There is no telling what it might do for us.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @12:27AM (#32587250)

    I remember hearing the theory that just as we get close to figuring out the universe, it instantly morphs into something more complex and confusing. Personally, it's the best explanation yet into how the universe works.

  • Re:That's awesome. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by daveime (1253762) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:10AM (#32588018)

    MAD is possibly the most naive policy imaginable, as it's based on the core assumption that no one would be stupid enough to launch first because they know they'd also be destroyed.

    Unfortunately, as Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea have demonstrated, they ARE stupid enough, and really don't care if they die for Allah or Kim or whoever.

    Very scary times indeed.

  • Re:That's awesome. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seahawk (70898) <tts@NOspAM.image.dk> on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @04:46AM (#32588412)

    Unfortunately, as Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea have demonstrated, they ARE stupid enough, and really don't care if they die for Allah or Kim or whoever.

    Clearly I missed the news report of Iran, Afghanistan or Democratic People's Republic of Korea launching nukes at anyone?

  • by Warbothong (905464) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @05:22AM (#32588550) Homepage

    I had a similar experience when I visited CERN. Granted it wasn't a spontaneous trip (was arranged as part of a particle physics course), but when being shown around it was repeated over and over that we can go anywhere we want (but that it's not a good idea to enter radioactive or cryogenically frozen areas, of course), we can take photos of anything, etc. This is because 1) it's a place of research, so nobody should be discouraged from researching CERN itself 2) due to the politics involved, no participating country has authority to stop people from any other participating country from doing anything they want 3) it's publicly funded, so should be available to the public and 4) it lowers worries about clandestine weaponisation of the technology they have (especially since the word Nuclear crops up a lot).

    It was a fascinating trip and I would recommend it to anyone :)

  • Re:That's awesome. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @06:14AM (#32588760)

    It may be popular to say that those regimes are insane, but even a superficial analysis suggests that's not the case with most.

    In Iran the development of nuclear weapons has considerable popular support as a patriotic struggle by a country that feels it deserves its place on the international stage. The government there has at the moment relatively little legitimacy, so anything that it can do to prop up its standing is a rational course. Do not mistake Ahmadinejad's silly rhetoric for a desire to use nuclear weapons; his actions make the most sense in the context of protecting the power of conservatives and status quo power structure in the Iranian government.

    Saddam Hussein was also not insane. In some sense he had a naive view of Bush, Cheney, and Blair's resolve to invade -- a naivety shared by many in the West. His actions prior to the second Gulf War were entirely rational in view of his efforts to maintain power for himself and the Baath party. He was vicious and cruel, misjudged the likelihood that an invasion would take place, and was operating from a position that didn't give him the same perspective that people in the West enjoyed (or perhaps more often found appalling), but in light of that understanding his actions made sense. He was not insane.

    The "filtered perspective" problem is even more acute in North Korea. We may view the North Korean leadership as erratic, but it has persisted against considerable odds since roughly 1950. I have been routinely impressed with the North Korean ability to press its strengths in spite of its poverty and isolation. It has managed to ensconce itself in a manner that makes it effectively invulnerable to any realistic outside influence. To the north it can extract concessions from, and depends on, China for material and political support. This is possible because China finds it useful to counterbalance Western influences in the region and is afraid of the economic impact of a North Korean collapse. To the south, North Korea has one of the world's largest armies positioned to rain flaming death on Seoul if unduly provoked. The North's leaders doubtless know that the North could not win a war with the South, but also that it doesn't need to win a war if it doesn't fight one. Meanwhile, the cost to the South of provoking the North are too great to imagine, so the North gets away with sinking a large South Korean warship, developing nuclear weapons, and so forth. The North knows there is no pressure that can be brought to bear against it, and it is not an accident that it has positioned itself this way. Indeed, it is worth noting that the United States -- bluster about chemical weapons and so forth aside -- decided to invade Iraq rather than North Korea; the US appears to have invaded Iraq precisely because it was not a threat. The North Koreans surely made note of that fact.

    The Afghan Taliban are the hardest for me to characterize in this context since I have little knowledge of the movement. It does, however, seem to be a relatively localized ragtag movement based on a noxious combination of ignorance, anachronism, Pashtun tribal law, and a particularly strict interpretation of Sharia. As such, it seems vanishingly unlikely that it would have ever been able to coordinate the deployment of a nuclear weapon through any meaningful power structure, let alone develop nuclear weapons. That is, the Taliban may not have represented enough of a functioning government to even reach the point of talking about whether or not it operated rationally.

    http://images.slashdot.org/hc/44/2ed12ade138c.jpg [slashdot.org]

  • Re:That's awesome. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yvanhoe (564877) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @08:48AM (#32589490) Journal

    Unfortunately, as Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea have demonstrated, they ARE stupid enough, and really don't care if they die for Allah or Kim or whoever.

    Actually, I am wondering... A corollary of MAD is that your nukes are useless unless you manage to make your enemies think that you are crazy enough to use them.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Giant_Lance [wikipedia.org]

  • Unfortunately, as Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea have demonstrated, they ARE stupid enough, and really don't care if they die for Allah or Kim or whoever.

    Sorry guy. The only country ever to actually drop the bomb on someone else has been the United States. And as far as the rest of the world is concerned, the US is just as if not more likely than any of the aforementioned basket cases to drop one again. All it would probably take is another relatively minor terrorist outrage.

  • Re:That's awesome. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mea37 (1201159) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @10:40AM (#32590426)

    1) Just because MAD is not applicable to today's circumstances, does not make it a naive theory. It did exactly its job in the circumstances for which it was created.

    2) If you write off Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea as "stupid", then you are a fool. Yes, their motivations differ from yours - enough so that you clearly do not understand them. However, you're claim that they're suicidal needs some support.

  • Re:That's awesome. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @01:14PM (#32592046)

    I'd also imagine that anti-matter weapons would leave some nasty side effects hanging around after detonation.

    That's one of the more interesting aspects of anti-matter weaponry. The entire concept is that there isn't anything of the bomb hanging around after detonation. This is of course, assuming the basic concept of an anti-matter 'bomb' in which matter and an equal portion of anti-matter are combined and in the process annihilated.

    Fission weapons (and fusion weapons are essentially fission initiated) don't really annihilate anything. The bonds are broken, or isotopes fused, but the matter is still there. That is the fallout.

    Antimatter+Matter... once it is 'done' it is basically done and speeding away from the location at the speed of light. Any lingering effects are likely due to whatever was at the site of the explosion that didn't react well to being exploded.

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