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Data Review Brings Major Setback In Higgs Boson Hunt 180

Posted by timothy
from the breathless-pursuit-works-best-if-anaerobic dept.
Velcroman1 writes "The quest for the elusive Higgs boson seemed over in April, when an unexpected result from an atom smasher seemed to herald the discovery of the famous particle — the last unproven piece of the physics puzzle and one of the great mysteries scientists face today. Scientists with the Tevatron particle accelerator at Chicago's Fermilab facility just released the results of a months-long effort by the lab's brightest minds to confirm the finding. What did they find? Nothing. 'We do not see the signal,' said Dmitri Denisov, staff scientist at Fermilab. 'If it existed, we would see it. But when we look at our data, we basically see nothing.'"
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Data Review Brings Major Setback In Higgs Boson Hunt

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  • by The Living Fractal (162153) <`banantarr' `at' `hotmail.com'> on Friday June 10, 2011 @12:18PM (#36402092) Homepage
    Sometimes not seeing what you expected is worth seeing in itself...
  • Budgets (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Baby Duck (176251) on Friday June 10, 2011 @12:19PM (#36402096) Homepage
    I have a much cheaper device in my backyard that's good at finding nothing.
  • And of course... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by savanik (1090193) on Friday June 10, 2011 @12:22PM (#36402140)

    When they don't find it at Fermilab, and they don't find it at the LHC, they'll just say we haven't got enough power yet, and we need to build another one with even more power.

    The Higgs doesn't exist. The arguments for it sound just like the arguments of the 'ether' back in the 1900's. The standard model is wrong. Go back and fix it with pen and paper before spending a few trillion dollars trying to figure out why scientists can't do math.

  • Re:Budgets (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Living Fractal (162153) <`banantarr' `at' `hotmail.com'> on Friday June 10, 2011 @12:23PM (#36402166) Homepage
    No, you don't. Finding nothing in specific conditions is different than finding nothing in your backyard. I doubt you can collide subatomic particles in a controlled environment in your backyard.
  • by The Living Fractal (162153) <`banantarr' `at' `hotmail.com'> on Friday June 10, 2011 @12:25PM (#36402196) Homepage
    I disagree. Sometimes math fails (root: because we fail at math) and the only recourse is to smash things together to see what falls out.
  • If it exists where people are looking for it, it will confirm certain current theories. If it doesn't exist where people are looking, it damages certain current theories. If it doesn't exist at all, it calls for a complete rethink on many things.

    Basically, if the Higgs Boson exists where people think it does, it means our ideas about how the universe is constructed are well founded and once again science has provided evidence to back up its theories. If it doesn't, then that opens up doors for radical rethinks on those ideas, meaning possible new directions in which to go and new theories to seek evidence for.

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice&gmail,com> on Friday June 10, 2011 @12:28PM (#36402230)

    And of course you can provide evidence to back your assertion that the entire thing needs a rethink? Just from your comment, I'd rather give these scientists billions of dollars for the LHC than give you $10 for lunch.

  • THIS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 10, 2011 @12:33PM (#36402296)

    For sure --- I've been reading Dr. Dobb's Journal of Tiny BASIC Calisthenics & Orthodontia for years and yet no publicly funded research money has ever gone to this cause. It is beyond a crying shame.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 10, 2011 @12:55PM (#36402612)

    Actually not. Naively explained so you can understand it, the Higgs mechanism to work needs a Higgs mass between 114 GeV upwards to ~170 GeV. Outside of that region things don't work and it's safe to say you have to look for better ideas.

    The reason why physicist think the Higgs boson is there it's because 3/4th of the idea has already been discovered, the W^+ , W^- and Z bosons. What is left of the picture is that 1/4 which correspondes to the Higgs in the electroweak theory. If there is supersymmetry there might be 5 Higgs bosons which would make the discovery of each of them a little bit more difficult. But hopefuly feasable in the LHC.

    If you let me, I would give an analogy*. Think of you trying to solve a puzzle, a very complicated one indeed. After years of work you manage to assambly a consistent arrangement of all the pieces that not only fits, also gives a pretty picture. All there's to find a piece that you lost somewhere in the room to put it in it's place. At this point you are pretty confident that the chances of it not fitting are small, and that you got it right. But physicist don't take this for granted, they wan't to find the piece and prove it. And if it doesn't fit, don't worry, we will work on the puzzle again.

    *NOTE: If needed the image of the puzzle can be that of a car.

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