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LHC Discovers New Particle That Looks Like the Higgs Boson

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  • Found at 125 GeV (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @08:51AM (#40540623)
    Does somebody mind to explain why a particle that gives mass is... that heavy? (no pun intended, just my total ignorance. Intuitively I'd thought it'd be very light, since it's used to give mass to other particles)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I think thats the energy level needed to isolate it not the mass of the particle itself.
      • Re:Found at 125 GeV (Score:5, Informative)

        by Pro-feet (2668975) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:10AM (#40540797)
        No, no, it is really the particle's mass.
      • It is the mass (Score:5, Informative)

        by Roger W Moore (538166) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:28AM (#40540927) Journal
        The mass of the Higgs boson is just the energy needed to make the Higgs field vibrate. The reason that the Higgs field gives particles mass is that, at its lowest energy level, the value of the Higgs field is not zero and this non-zero field then fills the universe and binds to particles giving them mass.

        Hence the mass of each type of particle depends on the zero energy value (vacuum expectation value) of the Higgs field and how strongly the particle couples to it while the mass of the Higgs boson depends on how the energy density of the Higgs field changes as the strength of the field varies.
        • by Cow Jones (615566) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:50AM (#40541129)

          [the Higgs field] ... then fills the universe and binds to particles giving them mass.

          I'm not a physicist, so please correct me if I misunderstood. Are you saying that this field surrounds us and penetrates us, and that it binds the galaxy together?

          • No, not really (Score:5, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:10AM (#40541311)

            The field is everywhere, not just around us but also inside us. Everywhere and anywhere. Comparable to electromagnetic fields, except you can't shield them.

            What holds the galaxy (-ies) together is something else, that's gravity. Also a field, extending to fill the universe.

            The Higgs particle (or field, can't talk about one without thinking about the other) gives the universe mass (well, it's one of the things that do that) so perhaps some clever brainiacs might be able to think something up connecting the Higgs and gravity in such a way that it unites all the forces. That would be a garuanteed ticket to Stockholm and a place in history as the greatest discovery (or theory, if you like) since the discovery of fire itself.

            • Re:No, not really (Score:4, Informative)

              by gringer (252588) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:17AM (#40541375)

              Just in case you, or someone else, didn't get the reference:

              The Force [wikia.com]

            • Re:No, not really (Score:5, Interesting)

              by RaceProUK (1137575) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @11:23AM (#40541875) Homepage

              The Higgs field gives particles mass, and gravity acts on mass. Therefore, the Higgs field, while not binding the universe together, is vital for gravity to do so.

              it's probably over-simplified (there's no quantum weirdness described), but I think it sums up the link well enough.

              A thought occurs - if the Higgs is confirmed, and we find a way to cancel its effect out, hello anti-grav and inertia-free travel!

              Maybe we've found the Force after all... :)

          • by Elldallan (901501) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:46AM (#40541615)
            Hey at least The Higgs Boson sounds better than Midichlorians.
    • Re:Found at 125 GeV (Score:5, Informative)

      by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:00AM (#40540703) Homepage

      The Higgs particle is just the particle manifestation of the Higgs gauge field. Think of it as a huge block of jello through which all massive objects move. 125 GeV is the energy required to scoop out a bit of that jello and isolate it.

      • by tmosley (996283) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:10AM (#40540799)
        That sounds disturbingly like aether theory.
    • by jampola (1994582) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:04AM (#40540745)
      Dr Emmet Brown called. His response. "Whoa.... This is heavy!"
    • Yeah, I don't understand this either. If the Higgs boson gives all other particles mass, how can it weigh 133 times more than a proton? What gives the proton mass? It can't be 1/133th of a Higgs surely?
      • Re:Found at 125 GeV (Score:5, Informative)

        by yet-another-lobbyist (1276848) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:32AM (#40541487)
        It's because of what someone else explained further above: Higgs field is a quantum field, which fluctuates constantly. Particles spontaneously emerge and disappear all the time. Same thing is true for photons: even in a perfectly dark room, you have spontaneously photons appearing and disappearing. This leads to the so-called zero-point-field. Even when there are no "real" photons in a dark room, the electromagnetic field is not zero. It fluctuates around zero due to these so-called "virtual photons". Same is true for every quantum field. To generate a "real" Higgs particle you need 125 GeV. Virtual bosons come and go all the time (for free). Interaction with "massive" particles gives them their mass.
  • Massive (Score:5, Funny)

    by burisch_research (1095299) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @08:52AM (#40540633)

    This is a weighty finding.

  • by Quantum_Infinity (2038086) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @08:52AM (#40540635)
    I am glad they are being careful with their announcement and not jumping on it to claim 'I have found the Higgs Boson. Take that Tevatron!'
  • by klmth (451037) <mkoivi3@unix.saunalahti.fi> on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @08:53AM (#40540643) Homepage Journal

    In the press conference, Dr. Higgs summed the findings up nicely: "This is an achievement in experimental methodology." To detect this signal has required a momentous effort, and the good people at CERN have had the good fortune of reaching results quicker than anticipated.

    This isn't earth-shattering news or anything even unexpected, but it is still cause for celebration. Let us rejoice and then continue to push on towards new findings.

    • by toruonu (1696670) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:01AM (#40540715)

      Well it's not that much good luck really. CMS showed the expected significance of a SM Higgs boson for the full 5 channel combination to be ~6 sigma for 125 GeV. So seeing 4.9 sigma is actually a downward fluctuation (or in other words unlucky) or it's not Higgs.

      Also, it's odd to see how much worse ATLAS was. They got 10% more statistics, yet see about the same significance as CMS. They also presented only 2 channels (true, the most sensitive ones) and didn't even attempt to fit the mass of the new particle (while CMS gave 125.3 +- 0.6 GeV, a precision of 0.5%!!!) nor did they look at the other supporting channels that could indicate if this is SM Higgs or some other particle. CMS as an example sees some tension in the 2tau final state where there is actually a downward fluctuation and almost exclusion of SM Higgs. CMS also showed first fits of couplings to fermions and bosons and that was very interesting result. ATLAS just claimed the 5 sigma and approximate mass. Really expected more of them...

    • by Deadstick (535032) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @12:22PM (#40542313)

      This is an achievement in experimental methodology.

      In other words, this is Leonard making Sheldon's head explode.

  • by anandrajan (86137) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @08:55AM (#40540657) Homepage
    Here's a good introduction to the Higgs boson [profmattstrassler.com] and why it matters.
  • Phew.. that was close !!!

    • Technically, it was known as the "Goddamn particle". Someone, unfortunately, dropped the "damn" part, and the whole "god particle" nonsense exploded from there.

      (No, I'm not joking, though I may be oversimplifying a little.)

  • by Mal-2 (675116) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @08:59AM (#40540693) Homepage Journal

    Glad to see we may not be a Type 13 planet [tvtropes.org] after all...

  • Fake! (Score:3, Funny)

    by RockMFR (1022315) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:01AM (#40540709)

    Obviously this is a grand conspiracy by the Europeans to distract us from what really matters today - blowing shit up! If they really wanted to celebrate the Fourth, they would have blown up CERN.

  • by Pro-feet (2668975) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:05AM (#40540763)
    I made it in the auditorium after queueing through half the night, but it was totally worth it. The atmosphere was collegeial and almost rapturous, one of sharing a feeling that we have as a whole community worked for so long to prove some mathematical construction of almost 50 years ago to be really realized in nature.

    And let it now please NOT be a standard-model Higgs boson, but something a little more intriguing!
  • Great (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:05AM (#40540765)
    Now the "god particle" is proved everyone has to believe in Jesus
  • by jampola (1994582) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:08AM (#40540785)
    "Based on the Cern results alone there appears to be less than one chance in a million that this is fake, which is roughly the same probability as flipping a coin heads-up 21 times in a row."
  • by Twinbee (767046) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:16AM (#40540849) Homepage
    It's something, and probably the Higgs Boson, but we're not 100% sure. Here's a comment from a CMS worker:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/w0tty/higgs_boson_confirmed_at_5sigma_standard/c599ijb [reddit.com]

    Actually, we observed a new state at 125 GeV and it seems consistent with a Standard Model Higgs boson. We have NOT discovered the SM Higgs boson because we simply haven't confirmed that this new particle is the SM Higgs because we're only looking at mass itself. It could be something else with a mass of 125 GeV. To actually claim it is the SM Higgs, we need to confirm that it has spin 0, the right coupling ratios, etc. And that's what I'm working on right now. But it is very exciting because we have discovered new physics. Source: Working at CMS

  • by Higgs Bosun (2676655) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:17AM (#40540857)
    So, they might be mistaken. They've probably just detected me and got confused.
  • by Harold Halloway (1047486) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:34AM (#40540979)

    Already Apple have patented the new particle, on the basis that it gives the iPad mass so they must have invented it.

  • So... Now what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pla (258480) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:19AM (#40541395) Journal
    Don't take this the wrong way, consider me very excited to hear we've finally discovered the Higgs boson.

    But honestly? I would have preferred we didn't find it. However deep we look, the universe appears to fit the standard model flawlessly, just a matter of adding more decimal places to our store of knowledge. So, we found it, the standard model prevails yet again - Where does that leave gravity and QCD? What do we look for now?

    Or perhaps more to the point, does finding the Higgs, that everyone fully expected to find roughly where they found it, really answer anything? At the risk of sounding like I would ascribe some sense of agency to the question (I do not mean to - consider me an agnostic in the strictest epistemological sense), this just barely answers the "what"; Yet with billions of dollars and millions of man-hours and the highest tech known to Man, we haven't even come close to answering the "why". We have a handful of nice tidy self-contained islands that make up the fabric of the universe, with no better idea of why they exist or how they interact (in the mechanism sense, not the phenomenal sense) than we did a decade and many billions of dollars ago.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Pro-feet (2668975)
      The existence of the scalar Higgs field as the explanation of electroweak symmetry breaking, implies the existence of the hierarchy problem:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchy_problem

      So except for measuring all the particles' properties, which especially in case of the self-coupling will take many years, we will have to find an answer to the hierarchy problem. Hopefully that can come in the form of new physics, which is likely to also influence the Higgs boson properties like production and decay rate
  • by Andrewkov (140579) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:56AM (#40541689)

    Dr. Sheldon Cooper will be happy to hear about this.

  • by clickety6 (141178) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @11:06AM (#40541753)
    A Higgs Boson is a quantum of the Higgs Field which gives everything mass.
    The Higgs Boson has a probable mass of around 126 GeV.
    So what gives the Higgs Boson mass?
  • Higgs bosom (Score:4, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @11:42AM (#40541995)

    I've been trying to get a peek at Cindy Higgs' bosom since high school.

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @11:44AM (#40542015)
    For those of us that only took high school particle physics then got IT degrees (aka most of us) can someone post what a neutron, proton, and electron are actually made out of with this "standard model" and how the Higgs boson comes into play to give them mass? Oh and photons and neutrinos too since I think they have a tiny tiny tiny bit of mass so they must have a higgs boson inside them too or something but somehow express a different mass than "larger" particles. I dunno. Someone explain it, lol. I think that'd help explain this a lot better than some of the posts above which are still a bit over our heads.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @12:58PM (#40542621)

      Ok, this is going to be pretty rough, but here it goes:

      The Standard Model describes all the "point particles" which can't be subdivided. Each of these particles has a few constant parameters like electric charge, color charge, mass, and spin. Electrons are one of them (-1e charge, 0.51MeV mass, spin 1/2) as are neutrinos (0 charge, some...mass, spin 1/2) and quarks (+2/3 or -1/3 charge, a few different masses, spin 1/2). Quarks come together in groups of 2 or 3 to build particles like protons and neutrons (and a whole bunch more). These are what you'd consider matter (Fermions). There are also particles that serve as "force carriers" - all the fundamental forces like electromagnetism and the nuclear forces can be thought of as exchanges of these other particles. They have integer spin, and we call them Bosons. The photon for instance represents the electric field (it's massless), the W and Z bosons represent the weak nuclear force (they have mass), and Gluons represent the strong nuclear force (they have color charge, like quarks).

      The problem is that gravity isn't really mentioned anywhere in here, and unlike all the other particle parameters, "mass" seems pretty arbitrary. It's not a nice round number, so there has to be something else there behind the scenes. The solution to this is that we think there's another "field", which we call the Higgs field, and another force-carrying particle called the Higgs Boson. In the same way that particles with charge can interchange photons to "feel" the electric field, particles with mass can exchange Higgs bosons to "feel" the Higgs field. Particles that interact that way essentially tie up a bunch of energy in that reaction, and that extra bottled up energy is what we experience as mass. So the degree to which particles couple to the higgs field (you could think of it as their "mass charge" parameter) determines how much mass they have. And people way smarter than you and me have found equations that do, in fact, predict the right masses for various particles when you crunch the numbers.

      The problem with finding bosons is that they're really just intermediary particles - photons are obvious enough only because they travel at the speed of light. Bosons with mass go much slower, and wind up decaying or interacting before we can directly observe them. So this find by the LHC is *indirect* evidence of the Higgs, based on how much energy they're missing from various collision interactions. But it matches the predictions to a very high degree so far, so they're calling it good.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cgaertner (1004238)

        Quarks come together in groups of 2 or 3 to build particles like protons and neutrons (and a whole bunch more). These are what you'd consider matter (Fermions).

        You probably meant hadrons (particles made of quarks), not fermions (particles with half-integer spin, in contrast to bosons with integer spin). In particular, there are both fermionic and bosonic hadrons.

        There are also particles that serve as "force carriers" - all the fundamental forces like electromagnetism and the nuclear forces can be thought of as exchanges of these other particles. They have integer spin, and we call them Bosons.

        All force carriers are bosons, but not all bosons are force carriers. Force carriers are also called gauge bosons, as they are bosonic excitations of gauge fields.

        The problem with finding bosons is that they're really just intermediary particles - photons are obvious enough only because they travel at the speed of light. Bosons with mass go much slower, and wind up decaying or interacting before we can directly observe them. So this find by the LHC is *indirect* evidence of the Higgs, based on how much energy they're missing from various collision interactions. But it matches the predictions to a very high degree so far, so they're calling it good.

        The problem isn't the bosonic nature of the particle, but rather its mass and strength of interaction with other particles, which affect the ene

    • by thrich81 (1357561)

      I'll give you a partial try. I think that is is too much to ask to say what these particles are "actually made of" -- that requires too much of the vagaries of human language. What the physicists do now is produce mathematical models which match the observations. That said, the Standard Model represents particles such as electrons and photons as excitations of a field. A one dimensional model is a jump rope. The jump rope is the field -- if you wiggle (excite) the jump rope you make bumps in it. These

  • by DCFusor (1763438) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @05:44PM (#40544913) Homepage
    Riddle me this - photons and the supposed gravitons have infinite range due to zero (rest) mass. Strong and weak forces, heavy bosons, short range, right? I'll accept a counter-example that shows how I can manipulate the strong or weak forces from a distance larger than a nucleus or thereabouts. Not just fire some other non-boson particle into there (which then is that close or closer). So how does the Higgs work over all of space, guys? This is ridiculous as the SM being right to N decimals, and relativity also being right to N (N being however many we can measure). Yet, the huge gaping, embarrassing, festering (yet almost always not spoken of) wound in all physics is that - they can't both be right, yet in their own domains, they are. C'mon, even politicians do better - and this is from one of your own, I'm a scientist. Relativity says - can't have a big bang, all that concentration of stuff would be a black hole instead. Are we inside one? Does anyone have a frigging clue, or are all we scientists just singing choir behind a preacher who hasn't a clue or a self-consistent model. I know what I'd like to think here, but....

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