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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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  • We can all go Sliding to parallel universes, now!

    Right?

  • And people were questioning why we should build such big machines...
    • 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...
      • > 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...

        No. What would guarantee generous funding for the next 65 years would be the development of a successor to nuclear weapons (anti-matter bombs, for example). You have to address the primary interest of those who control the money: killing people.

        • by qeveren (318805)

          Incorrect. They have little interest in killing people, because there's little profit in that; they want to sell weapons to people who DO want to kill people.

          • > ...they want to sell weapons to people who DO want to kill people.

            I.e., the politicians: the people with the money, and the ones who have been financing physics generously for 65 years in hopes of getting even badder weapons.

            • by Cryacin (657549)
              At this point in time, I'd question whether they would fund anti matter weapons research. Tactically, do we really need a bigger boom than a nuke? I'd also imagine that anti-matter weapons would leave some nasty side effects hanging around after detonation.

              As to the size of the explosion, it is not a good thing to leave a smoking crater where your enemy used to be. You actually want to kill/turn any resistance, and then acquire resources and spoils of war. Secondly, it would be quite pointless to make a b
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                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) d

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

          by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @09:01PM (#32585838) Journal
          I'm not sure that the people with cash would really want an even more nuclear than nuclear option floating around...

          Being the only kid on the block with nukes has its perks; but that state lasted for about 20 minutes, back in the late 40's. Since then, anybody who has them has to contend with the fact that, if they actually do anything, pretty much everybody else will freak out and glass them. This has virtually obviated the theoretical killing potential. From their invention to the present, nukes probably trail machetes(never mind Kalashnikovs and assorted knockoffs) in terms of body count. You still have to have a collection of them on the mantle, kept polished and dusted, if you want to be part of the great powers club; but you don't actually get to use them, and you can't really stop uncouth little upstarts from collecting their own. Worse, you have to deal with the fact that, although you cannot use them, non-state, covert, or just plain nihilistic actors can. Back when you could be pretty certain that only real countries had nukes, you could rely on MAD. If some nutjob, or untraceable tool of somebody's intelligence apparatus goes and blows up something expensive, the incumbents lose, and don't have any good way of retaliating.

          Some sort of uber-nuke super-superweapon would, at best, bring you back to the late 40's situation(minus the enviable economic position of being the only major industrialized nation not squatting in a pile of its own rubble). At worst, it would just antagonize the other nuclear powers.

          There will certainly always be money to keep the existing stock dusted and polished, and react to any threats to its efficacy; but I suspect that, if you want military money, you'd do much better by developing weapons that they will be able to use without excessive diplomatic trouble. Drones, precision munitions, vehicles that can't be destroyed by explosively formed penetrators that can be fabricated by anybody with a supply of ammonium nitrate and metal forming skills somewhere between "early modern blacksmith" and "1850's machine shop", etc.
          • > Some sort of uber-nuke super-superweapon...

            You aren't thinking it through. There would be no lower limit to the size of an bomb made with stable anti-matter (not to mention what it would do for the propulsion of weapons and military craft).

            > ...vehicles that can't be destroyed by explosively formed penetrators that
            > can be fabricated by anybody with a supply of ammonium nitrate and metal
            > forming skills somewhere between "early modern blacksmith" and "1850's
            > machine shop", etc.

            And that's

          • by CODiNE (27417)

            nukes probably trail machetes(never mind Kalashnikovs and assorted knockoffs) in terms of body count.

            Where I live machetes still kill people everyday.

      • by Joe Tie. (567096)
        Don't forget the other affliction of old guys. Two things that will always be money makers. Helping old guys kill young dudes from other countries, and returning life to those old guys dead boners. The graveyard and the bone zone, you'll never go broke setting up shop there.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770)

        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

    • First thing I thought of when I read this is that there are five fundamental forces in the universe:

      1. Electricity
      2. Magnetism
      3. Gravity
      4. Weak Nuclear
      5. Strong Nuclear

      Considering that the Higgs boson was, in part, supposed to help explain how mass worked, it makes me wonder if this is the reason for the number they're arriving at.

  • Polytheism (Score:4, Funny)

    by drstock (621360) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @08:27PM (#32585514)

    So if the Higgs particle is the 'God particle', does this mean that polytheism is the way to go? Yay Hinduism?

    • IAAP and I wince every time I hear that moronic name for the Higgs. Probably a funding trick or some in-joke. Old physicists turning to religion when they feel their mind turning to mush in their twilight years is a sad end to otherwise illustrious careers (and not altogether implausible as a reason for this ridiculous name).
      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        Probably a funding trick or some in-joke.

        Or perhaps it's because it's the explanation that accounts for everything of substance in the universe (aka mass), yet has remained hitherto unseen.

        Sorta like a religious explanation of god, don't you think? God is a divine being responsible for the entire universe, yet nobody has seen him. Higgs boson is responsible for all the mass in the universe, yet nobody has seen it. Sounds like a "God particle" to me, especially since it's the lynch-pin for the existence of all matter in the universe.

        The only rea

        • Irrelevantist, more than anti. And I cringed (incorrectly - see later) mostly because of what that said about the scientist who named it (again, incorrectly). But that's neither here nor there, you see. Courtesy of a poster further down this thread, it turns out that Leon Lederman originally called it the "goddamn particle" (presumably because of how difficult it was to look for). His editor changed it to the "god particle" for obvious reasons. [source] [guardian.co.uk]

          Now that I think about it though, it wasn't such a bad

    • No three persons, one substance. Sounds like the Trinity to me. Christians win.
  • 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)

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hedwards (940851)
      Well, they were making a bet that they'd either need the additional power or that they'd get there first eliminating things more quickly. The problem though was that there wasn't any definitive evidence that they needed the extra power and the technology was sufficiently advanced that they screwed up in a few places, giving the guys over in the US the chance to keep plugging away at it. Since technically speaking the Higgs Boson still hasn't been found, the LHC still might do it, but they've lost a lot of t
    • Re:Ironically (Score:5, Informative)

      by ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @09:02PM (#32585840)
      To be fair, they didn't actually "find" any Higgs-boson particles. They found "a one percent difference between the production of pairs of muons and pairs of antimuons in the decay of B mesons produced in high-energy collisions." And I started digging through wikipedia and some really hairy PDFs to find out why that matters and then my head exploded. Did you know muon's can displace electrons? Or that they can actually take an electron and create an element called muonium, that is effectively really light (1/9th mass) hydrogen, for a fraction of a second? Fuck, man. I hate my job, why can't I do that?

      Anyway, from the Symmetry write up:

      While the Tevatron can perform these indirect searches, it is too early to tell yet if the Higgs bosons would have masses the Tevatron can detect or would only be within reach of the higher-energy LHC.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by John Hasler (414242)

      The LHC wasn't built just to find the Higgs.

  • by mbkennel (97636) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @09:05PM (#32585872)

    not the portentious/pretentious "God Particle".

    Leon Lederman called it The Goddamn Particle because finding it---or them---is so vexatious.

    His editor changed the title of the book, removing the -damn, to make it more commercially successful.

    quoth Peter Higgs: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jun/30/higgs.boson.cern [guardian.co.uk]

    Shall y'all moderate this "Informative" or "Funny"?

    • 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.
    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      Shall y'all moderate this "Informative" or "Funny"?

      Yes.

    • by Ken_g6 (775014)

      Well, that makes more sense for 5 particles. I could accept a trinity of God particles - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but not 5. I guess this way we can name the two negative Higgs' "Lucifer" and "Beelzebub".

  • ok, what with genetics, medicine, computer, cell, and other technological discoveries and advances being dominated by the US, we're supposed to think physics might be in that group too? But what about all the slashdot articles that say science in the US is dead? [slashdot.org] Obviously there has been a mistake. If the US isn't dominating everything, then there is cause for alarm and we must all get upset and stuff. And obviously the US is just failing in science and technology. Raise our fists in anger! America, Fa

  • by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday June 15, 2010 @10:35PM (#32586600)

    Whenever you look more closely, the universe is immediately replaces by something more complex and even more bizzare...

  • by pgn674 (995941)

    I wonder if this would help out Lisi's theory that the organization, and expression, of particles lines up with the mathematical E8 Lie group?

    Garrett Lisi on his theory of everything | Video on TED.com [ted.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by The_Wilschon (782534)
      No. It appears that Lisi's theory (as well as the Pati-Salam GUT upon which it is partially based) contains a single Higgs doublet, rather than the 2 Higgs doublets suggested by this D0 result.
  • It's fun to observe from the periphery - this result, the recent confirmation (maybe) that neutrinos have mass (otherwise they couldn't interconvert among their three types)...more and more cracks are appearing in the Standard Model. It's exciting. And probably the answer is 42.

"Our vision is to speed up time, eventually eliminating it." -- Alex Schure

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