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LHC Prepares Marathon Higgs Hunt 101

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the billion-dollar-gamble dept.
gbrumfiel writes "Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider are preparing to run the collider until the end of 2012 in the hopes of finding the Higgs particle, part of the mechanism that endows other particles with mass. The machine was originally supposed to stop in 2011 for a year long upgrade, but scientists now think they can find the Higgs if they run for longer. 'If we stop the machine with 3,000 people apiece in the experiments waiting for data, there is no way we could get home at night without having slashed tyres on our cars,' says Sergio Bertolucci, CERN's director for research and computing."
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LHC Prepares Marathon Higgs Hunt

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  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Monday December 13, 2010 @12:14PM (#34534994)
    I don't know. As a grad student myself, it doesn't sound much different than what I'm going through now, and a lot less painful.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 13, 2010 @12:18PM (#34535072)

    Not saying it does or doesn't, but at what point would they would decide to quit searching it for it?

  • by maxwell demon (590494) on Monday December 13, 2010 @12:22PM (#34535132) Journal

    Not saying it does or doesn't, but at what point would they would decide to quit searching it for it?

    Probably at the point at which they traced, with sufficient statistics, the whole energy range where the Higgs may be found, and didn't find a trace of it.

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Monday December 13, 2010 @01:46PM (#34535994) Homepage

    The article stated that a big driver for continuing the search at current energies is that Fermilab is right on their heels and might find the Higgs first if they take a break for a year.

    As I see it, the Higgs could fit into one of two energy ranges:

    1. A range that the limited LHC and Fermilab can both probe now, with the LHC having some advantage.
    2. A range that only the full LHC can reach.

    If it falls into the latter, then nobody is discovering the Higgs for a few years until they get the LHC in gear. If it falls into #1, does it REALLY matter that much who finds it first?

    If what we care about is the accumulation of knowledge then we should cooperate and not compete here. Retask the LHC for higher energies, and have Fermilab continue to explore the lower-energy space. This way we find the Higgs more quickly as we have two non-redundant operations working on the problem, rather than having one be completely redundant.

    Also, who knows what other interesting physics we'll find at the higher LHC design energies, that we're just pushing off for years sticking where we are at now?

    Can't the lead authors on the competing 1000-author papers maybe agree to pool their efforts, and settle for first and last on a 2000-author paper instead? :) Then we poor taxpayers footing the bill can at least feel like we're all getting SOMETHING for our money...

  • by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Monday December 13, 2010 @02:17PM (#34536294)
    "4, Insightful" instead of "Funny", eh? Must be a lot of grad students with mod points today.

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