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Science

CERN's Higgs Boson Discovery Passes Peer Review Publication Hurdle 73

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-step-closer dept.
MrSeb writes "CERN's announcement on July 4 — that experiments performed by the Large Hadron Collider had discovered a particle that was consistent with the Higgs boson — has passed a key step towards becoming ratified science: Its findings have been published in the peer-reviewed journal Physics Letters B, effectively becoming science in the process. Before we actually know what the new particle is, CERN, the LHC, and the CMS and ATLAS teams must perform additional tests. The LHC had been scheduled to shut down for upgrades, but following the July announcement it has instead been smashing protons together nonstop, to produce more data for CMS and ATLAS to analyze. By December, it is hoped that both teams will have a much better idea of the properties of the new particle, and whether it is actually the Higgs boson."
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CERN's Higgs Boson Discovery Passes Peer Review Publication Hurdle

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  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by eexaa (1252378) on Monday September 10, 2012 @12:13PM (#41289637) Homepage

    Where is your god particle now?!

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

      by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Monday September 10, 2012 @12:49PM (#41290237)

      Who's your deity?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Winston: Ray, if someone asks you if you are a particle, say yes!

      (There's a duality joke in there somewhere)

      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        Winston: Ray, if someone asks you if you are a particle, say yes!

        (There's a duality joke in there somewhere)

        Wave if you are a particle.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Actually, "God Particle" was a cencorship by media of the real name. The researcher who came up with it (I don't remember hsi name, I'm terrible with names) called it the "God Damned Particle" because they were having so hard a time finding it. Media won't print the words "god" and "damn" together, so they dropped the "damn".

      God damned MSM censors...

  • Big Whoooop! It is not a news that a paper written by god knows how many people, that was revised time and time again by a big time collaboration getting the ok to be published! Seriously this not news at all.
    • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Monday September 10, 2012 @12:36PM (#41290015) Journal

      No, it is news in the same way that the January innageration of the winner of the US Presidential election will be news ( the winner having been announced in november). It won't be a suprise to anyone or really change anyone's life, but it will be a historical milestone that happens.

      • Well you do know that this is not yet pinned down as the Higgs boson!
        • Good point, but it would still merit a built point in the story about searching for the higgs.

      • by zlives (2009072)

        Higgs: the super massive superpac

  • by cpotoso (606303) on Monday September 10, 2012 @12:37PM (#41290045) Journal
    The impact factor of Physics Letters B is a mere 3.5. Not a high-profile journal by any means. This is a place where somewhat interesting results are published, not a place where one of the most important particle physics discoveries of the last decades should be published (Phys. Rev. Letters, Nature, Science, would come to mind as high-profile journals). This is a definite red herring.
    • by Pro-feet (2668975)
      The choice of journal is very intentional.
      Btw, a broader-scientist-public Science article is in the works.
    • It's simple my friend.

      1) Publish another paper in PRL-B this year
      2) watch its impact factor diverge due to citations to the Higgs paper
      3) ???
      4) Profit! -- or, rather, tenure!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is exactly like complaining that a professional ballet company isn't auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance, the television dance competition show. The purpose for an author of publishing in a high impact rating journal is to buy weight for their career. This paper is so well known that there is no point in that, they don't need the publicity, so they can just publish in whatever journal is more appropriate in terms of its subject instead of trying to chase fame - like how all papers should be publ

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        This is exactly like complaining that a professional ballet company isn't auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance, the television dance competition show.

        That's an amazingly good analogy.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is probably political -- note that PRL is USA and PLB is European...

    • by ultracool (883965)
      Different journals have different standards for the type of paper. For example, the format for Science and Nature articles tends to be less detailed and more focussed on the particular result obtained. Other journals are more suitable for more in-depth discussion of methods and their intricacies. Some of them, such as Physics Letters, promise rapid publication, whereas PRL etc., Science, and Nature can drag on for some time. Notice also that they have chosen to publish the papers open access, which not ever
  • by ocean_soul (1019086) <tobias.verhulst@noSpaM.gmx.com> on Monday September 10, 2012 @12:38PM (#41290067) Homepage

    In contrast to what many people think, passing peer review is not all that important. Among scientists, there is no such thing as 'ratified science'. This is only something that needs to be done to get a paper published in an scientific journal. That would be important if the publishers were trying to make other scientist aware of their findings or if they need publications in peer reviewed journals in order to secure money. Neither of those is really the case here.

    • Yep, all this means is that 3 people looked at their results and methodology and decided it looks legit. Three people is a peer reviewal.

    • by mill3d (1647417)
      Anyhow, I wonder who could peer-review findings coming from a unique instrument...
      • by Pro-feet (2668975)
        Well, to start with, there are two independent experiments.
        And secondly, from experience, those few peer reviewers can still ask damn good questions, even about papers signed by ~3000 authors.
    • Science is a continuum.

      At one end is remote viewing, telekinisis, and similar claims.

      At the other is what is usually taken as axioms.
      1+1=2, ...

      The higgs, and indeed the electron, is somewhere between these two.
      We have a good deal of evidence that the electron behaves mostly as current theories predict, to many, many decimal places.
      Any change in understanding of it pretty much either has to find thousands of earlier results flawed, or to be a subtle effect only visible at unexplored areas.
      Much like the initi

  • Ratified science? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday September 10, 2012 @12:43PM (#41290127)
    What the hell is ratified science? Peer review is an important part of the scientific process, but make no mistake there is no process or entity (journals, institutions, or otherwise) which officiates scientific process. Our state of understanding of the universe is in a constant state of flux; even work that has been peer reviewed can be proven wrong by later work, or work that has been rejected by peers can later be proven correct. Peer-reviewed research has a little more credibility than otherwise, true. However, this talk about "how research becomes science" seems reminiscent of "how a bill becomes a law," and the scientific process simply doesn't work like that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      [B]ut make no mistake there is no process or entity (journals, institutions, or otherwise) which officiates scientific process.

      The Illuminati respectfully disagree.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What the hell is ratified science? Peer review is an important part of the scientific process, but make no mistake there is no process or entity (journals, institutions, or otherwise) which officiates scientific process.

      There! See? Right there! See? SEE??? That's why GOD and religion and GOD are better than dumb ol' science! Y'all are just flinging crap around until you find something that sticks and then you all just scream about it until someone agrees with you, no wonder y'all think we came from monkeys! Over here, GOD and His religion made a perfectly well-structured boss man who tells us what science is and what we're allowed to do in GOD's name! And you city-boy college-types with your evil liberal liberalnes

  • I'm wondering, given the fact that scientific results are by definition falsifyable, what is the percentage of publications in major peer-reviewed journals (Nature, etc.), that eventually turn out to be (partly) incorrect?

    (Not that I'm questioning this particular discovery.)

    • Depends a lot on the field. There are probably a lot more errors in medicine [diabetesjournals.org] than in physics.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is probably a good place to raise a few references.

      1 - this is the place where withdrawn papers are noted, together with reasons: http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/
      2 - this article is an easy introduction: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/
      3 - to this paper, "Why most Published Research Findings are False: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

      and if that doesn't get me modded +6 for Informative.... :?

    • by osu-neko (2604)

      I'm wondering, given the fact that scientific results are by definition falsifyable...

      Duhem and Quine have made some points you might want to review before continuing to spread that particular fallacy...

  • [HILARIOUS] RAP NEWS 14: Higgs Boson Unbound (with Prof. Scott Ridley)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8xUd7Myeuk [youtube.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2012 @12:54PM (#41290327)

    "...Its findings have been published in the peer-reviewed journal Physics Letters B, effectively becoming science in the process..."

    This is nonsense. There is no requirement for 'peer review' before something 'becomes science'. Peer review can give a bit more authority (though it often has the opposite effect, of closing down the truth in favour of an establishment consensus, as happened, for instance, with the Piltdown Man fiasco.).

    Science works quite simply. Someone writes up a hypothesis, with evidence. If someone - anyone - can find a flaw, the hypothesis is disproven. It doesn't matter if the paper is written up by the Head of CERN, and a greengrocer from a nearby town disproves it - if it's disproven, it's gone.

    The idea that peer review is what MAKES science is a deeply dangerous one. It implies that there is a specific class of people who are the only ones allowed to 'know' technical things, or who are allowed to comment on them. It implies that people must agree with this technological elite, and are banned from thinking for themselves...

    • The idea that peer review is what MAKES science is a deeply dangerous one.

      Hear, hear. Perhaps substituting "independent" for "peer" might be worth consideration.

  • Has consensus effectively become science?

    Is this particle "consistent" with what we believe to be a Higgs Boson, or is it actually a Higgs Boson?

    • by RaceProUK (1137575) on Monday September 10, 2012 @01:45PM (#41291125)

      Is this particle "consistent" with what we believe to be a Higgs Boson, or is it actually a Higgs Boson?

      It's within the expected mass range, but its properties have yet to be determined, making it a Higgs candidate.

    • by ThreeKelvin (2024342) on Monday September 10, 2012 @02:20PM (#41291581)

      Consensus has nothing to do with science. Following the scientific method is science.

      And the particle the people at CERN have discovered is consistent with what we believe to be a Higgs boson, and might therefore actually be one. We haven't had time to do enough experiments to tell. The only things we know about the particle is that it's there and that it has a mass of ~126 GeV. We're assuming that it's the Higgs, because the Higgs is the only particle that is missing with a mass in that neighbourhood. (Gravitons ought to be heavier, as do dark matter, etc.)

  • So...how were the results replicated? Did another, unrelated team of researchers use the LHC to achieve the same results? If not, what the fuck, science? Aren't irreproducible results [nature.com] the butt of jokes? Ah, nevermind. I don't have a Ph.D., so as I have been informed many times before, on this very website, how am I to question Ph.D.s? I promise to be more trusting and less vigilant in the future.
    • by Pro-feet (2668975)
      Actually, two independent experiments, with on purpose different technological choices, blinded their data until a little before the announcement. Once the box was opened, on both sides the evidence for a new particle emerged, independently. TFS mentioned there are 2 teams: ATLAS and CMS.

      Btw, would you read my comment differently if you knew I had a PhD or not?
      It's not about trust. The fact that irreproducible results happen does not mean that all science is bad (was that a computer full of quantum mecha
    • There were two teams at the LHC that independantly came to the conclusion that there was a particle.

      And, though you might have been ironic, you caught the exact reason there are two independant sets of sensors, data analysis, etc. (Everything besides the accelerator ring.) Now, a third, completely independant reproduction of the result would be golden, but until we get it we'll have to make do with just a single reproduction of the result.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      I promise to be more trusting and less vigilant in the future.

      Why don't you try being more vigilant, as in actually trying to discover the answer to your questions instead of asking them rhetorically and trusting that your own assumptions must be right?

  • Now all we need is for someone to build another LHC to replicate the results.
  • I discovered the origins of the universe a long time ago when i read this sentence: "In the beginning, God ..."

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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