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Higgs Range Narrowed; Hunt Enters Final Stage 80

Posted by timothy
from the next-is-the-challenging-stage dept.
gbrumfiel writes "For forty years, the Higgs boson has remained a theoretical construct, but by Christmas, scientists may have a pretty good idea of whether it's real or not. Nature News reports that a new analysis has further narrowed the Higgs range, and data gathered this autumn at the LHC should be enough to show a faint signal from a Higgs, if it's there. (Already one signal has disappeared earlier in the year.) Physicists hope to finish their analysis of the autumn data by the year's end, but even if they come up empty-handed it won't be the end of the story. The Higgs is commonly referred to as the particle that endows others with mass, but its real appeal is the ability to unify the weak nuclear force with electromagnetism. If there is no Higgs, some other mechanism for creating a unified 'electroweak' force should be found inside the LHC."
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Higgs Range Narrowed; Hunt Enters Final Stage

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2011 @12:08PM (#38108774)

    For those of you interested in LHC physics I would highly recommend this blog:

    http://profmattstrassler.com/ [profmattstrassler.com]

    As far as I can tell the author is an extremely well-respected physicist (disclaimer: I am a theoretical physicist but do not work on LHC physics) and I also find his blog very clear and I like the extra level of detail.

    (The author also does not try to sell you his own favorite theory of everything, a thing I've seen happening a few times too many in the blogs out there.)

  • by Kz (4332) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @12:24PM (#38108872) Homepage
    Electromagnetism and weak nuclear force have a solid unification theory and supporting experiments since the 70's (and a few nobel prizes as back as '79 at least). Higgs boson is involved in electroweak symmetry breaking, and possibly unification of electroweak with the strong force.
  • Re:What is "real" ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr_Huber (160160) on Saturday November 19, 2011 @02:49PM (#38109882) Homepage

    As real as the neutrino. The neutrino was a prediction based on a model of physics at the time and remained theoretical for thirty years until an experiment confirmed their existence. Like the Higgs, it was thought to be nearly impossible to experimentally verify for a very long time. And when it was observed, it was not observed directly, but through the behavior of particles it interacted with. The interacting particles, in order to behave as they did, must have interacted with something that had the precise qualities ascribed to the neutrino. Therefore, a neutrino must have interacted with them. Therefore, neutrinos exist.

    Now we have hot and cold running neutrinos and can use them to probe all sorts of interesting things. But we have still not directly observed them in a detector, because, by their nature, they don't show up. But we know that when we see particles behaving as if they interacted with a near massless, half spin object interacting weakly, we call it a neutrino and move on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 19, 2011 @03:11PM (#38110028)

    US LHC Blog [quantumdiaries.org]
    I like this very much. Lots of physics explained for us mere mortals (who still have some scientific background).

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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