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Growing Consensus: The Higgs Boson Exists 254

Posted by timothy
from the actually-they-just-like-to-play-with-equipment dept.
It's a long, slow road from tentative discovery, to various forms of peer review, to wide acceptance, never mind theory and experimental design, but recent years' work to pin down the Higgs Boson seem to be bearing fruit in the form of cautious announcements. FBeans writes with excerpts from both the New York Times ("Physicists announced Thursday they believe they have discovered the subatomic particle predicted nearly a half-century ago, which will go a long way toward explaining what gives electrons and all matter in the universe size and shape.") and from The Independent ("Cern says that confirming what type of boson the particle is could take years and that the scientists would need to return to the Large Hadron Collider — the world's largest 'atom smasher' — to carry out further tests. This will measure at what rate the particle decays and compare it with the results of predictions, as theorised by Edinburgh professor Peter Higgs 50 years ago.")
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Growing Consensus: The Higgs Boson Exists

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  • by hedwards (940851) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:41PM (#43172479)

    What is this Higgs Bosun?

  • The name of the particle is the Higgs Boson. The article title is incorrectly using the possessive form.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:43PM (#43172515)

    Thank's for all your hard work, editor's.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:43PM (#43172523) Homepage

    You know we're going to see this headline:

    "Scientists prove that God exists."

    Scary.

    • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:00PM (#43172767)

      I'd prefer to hear about a truce between ardent atheists and fundamentalists where the former stops trying to disprove the existence of a divine creator and the latter stops trying to ban the teaching of evolution.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I have never heard of an ardent atheist who puts any effort whatsoever into disproving the existence of a divine creator. The notion is nonsense in itself, as there is noting to prove or disprove and no way to go about doing either.

        Clearly you've been drinking the fabricated controversy cool-aid.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by hedwards (940851)

          They exist, but they're rare, owing in large part to the fact that it's the burden for the believers to prove, not the non-believers.

        • I have never heard of an ardent atheist who puts any effort whatsoever into disproving the existence of a divine creator.

          True. Most ardent atheists want people to believe there no divine creator on faith.

    • c'mon.....this is slashdot not huffington post
    • >> You know we're going to see this headline:"Scientists prove that God exists." Scary.

      If there is proof, there is proof right?
      I dont care whether it is definitive proof that a god or multiple gods exist, or it is definitive proof that a god or multiple dont exist. As long as it is proper proof, and not the 'proof' that is used these days in religious matters.
      Maybe commercial flights to heaven as a holiday destination are possible. Ask God why he forbade us to "have no other gods before me" and where
    • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:29PM (#43173199)

      ...no, no -- that's not how it's going to be "picked up".

      Let's take a look:

      NBC News: Particle confirmed as Higgs boson [nbcnews.com]

      Associated Press: Physicists say they have found a Higgs boson [myway.com]

      Reuters: Strong signs Higgs boson has been found: CERN [reuters.com]

      Wall Street Journal: New Data Boosts Case for Higgs Boson Find [youtube.com]

      FOX News: Physicists say they have found long-sought Higgs boson [foxnews.com]

      Washington Post: A closer look at the Higgs boson particle that helps explain what gives matter size and shape [washingtonpost.com]

      Chicago Tribune: Strong signs Higgs boson has been found: CERN [chicagotribune.com]

      Sky News: Higgs Boson: Experts Sure Of 'God Particle' [sky.com]

      New York Daily News: Physicists say they have discovered crucial subatomic particle known as Higgs boson [nydailynews.com]

      Boston Globe: Physicists say they have found a Higgs boson [bostonglobe.com]

      BBC (UK): LHC cements Higgs boson identification [bbc.co.uk]

      BusinessWeek: Case for Higgs Boson Strengthened by New CERN Analysis [businessweek.com]

      The Daily Mail (UK): Scientists say they HAVE found the 'God particle' - but admit they still aren't sure what type of Higgs boson it is [dailymail.co.uk]

      The Independent (UK): Have they found the Higgs boson at last? Cern physicists say they're confident of 'God particle' breakthrough [independent.co.uk]

      Telegraph (UK): Higgs boson: scientists confident they have discovered the 'God particle' [telegraph.co.uk]

      News Limited (AU): Higgs boson, the God particle, discovered by CERN [news.com.au]

      US News and World Report: Physicists Observe Higgs Boson, the Elusive 'God Particle' [usnews.com]

      None of these articles make any links to "God" other than a few -- mostly UK, not US -- sources referring to it as the so-called "God particle", but even those explain exactly what this particle is theorized to be, not anything supernatural, "proving God exists", or having anything whatever to do with God.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Considering the media operates with not only with an expectation for godlessness but an appreciation thereof, I suspect such an admittance might actually be conceptually difficult for them. We'd never see it even in fact a universal supreme being (God) were discovered to exist.

    • by kasperd (592156)
      If the Higgs particle and the God particle are the same thing, does that mean Higgs is God?
    • by freeze128 (544774)
      ...but he's only 5000 years old!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Bigg Bosoms

  • If I understand this correctly, the Higgs is what gives particles their mass. Is there anyway we could influence them somehow to reduce the mass of a particle?

    • The Higgs field gives particles their mass. the particles make up the field.

    • The Higgs field is what give particles mass (in part anyway), the Higgs Boson is an excitation in this field, so the actual discovery is the Higgs field via finding the associated particle. If we are able to manipulate the Higgs field (which is currently all in the realms of SF speculation) then yes, we might be able to change the mass of particles in one way or another, but I don't expect to see inertial dampeners or anything similar in the next few decades. I'd be quite happy to be proven wrong, but it'
  • by decipher_saint (72686) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:58PM (#43172739) Homepage

    Dear Lord... the creature's power comes from electricity | radiation | tachyons | nanobots | god particles!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:59PM (#43172761)

    Or would that be putting Descartes before the force?

  • How does the Higgs Boson giver mass to other particles?

    And some other interesting questions:

    How is a Higgs Boson produced?

    Can we produce these particles at will?

    Can we affect gravity with them?

    • by FBeans (2201802)
      I would suggest that google is a better place to find out this stuff. here you are just going to get a list of gramatical errors and some arguments about Religion, and probably some OS wars... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21785205 [bbc.co.uk] The BBCis a good place to start, if you would like your questions answered :D
    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @02:06PM (#43173925)

      How does the Higgs Boson giver mass to other particles?

      The theory behind the Higgs mechanism motivated the search for the Higgs particle in the first place. It's well worked out. Check Wikipedia.

      How is a Higgs Boson produced?

      Practical answer: if you put enough energy in a small enough space you'll get all kinds of particles. Some of those will be Higgs'.
      Sciency answer: the Higgs particle is just a manifestation of a perturbation in the Higgs field, just like every other fundamental particle is a perturbation in it's own quantum field in modern quantum field theory. To produce a Higgs you pump enough energy into the Higgs field in a particular location.

      Can we produce these particles at will?

      If at will you mean by smashing other particles together at high speed and occasionally getting a Higgs out, yes. If you mean specifically producing a Higgs on command, no.

      Can we affect gravity with them?

      No. The Higgs field doesn't have anything to do with gravity: http://profmattstrassler.com/2012/10/15/why-the-higgs-and-gravity-are-unrelated/ [profmattstrassler.com]

    • by slew (2918)

      IANAP, but here's my take...

      How does the Higgs Boson giver mass to other particles?

      Nobody knows for sure, but people suspect that Higgs field (a complicated directionless/scalar field) interacts with other particles which creates the effect of expected non-zero rest mass. Other fields can yield non-rest mass effect so it's only the rest-mass that was problematic.

      How is a Higgs Boson produced?

      You don't really make them, they are more like a momentary "quiver" in the higgs field which immedietly decays into something else. Right now we are making this momentary quiver by colliding protons.

      Can we produce these particles at will?

      N

  • Flying cars, invisibility, peace in the Middle East, FTL travel, consensus on the original lyrics to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"?
    What?

    Also, can the Large Hadron Collider be used to find small and medium Hadrons?
    [ Seriously CERN, think about multipurpose usefulness once in a while. ]

    • by FBeans (2201802)
      Amusement park! The LHC must be one hell of a ride!
    • by Bucc5062 (856482)

      Flying cars, invisibility, peace in the Middle East, FTL travel, consensus on the original lyrics to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"?

      At first I thought you couldn't be serious, then I dove into the information river for a swim. [wikipedia.org]. Amazing, things you learn and beliefs shattered. "In the Garden of Eden"? Really? So I took it one step further and wanted to see a video to help remember the song. I found this one [youtube.com] and had a disconnected moment thinking "My God those guys were old even back then". I quickly understood it was just a bunch of old guys reliving their glory. Please, old rockers, don't go on tour any more, you don't live up t

  • by craznar (710808) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:21PM (#43173045) Homepage

    ... physicists celebrate mass.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @01:22PM (#43173067)
    I did not really see that number stated in the various articles. I read that the US Tevatron saw a 'hint" of Higgs with three possible events.
    The other thing I read in Physics Today is there are six classes and over thirty ways the Higgs can decay. Some ways are easier to see with current detectors than others. The July 4 announccment was based on at least two decay modes. The more modes the more confidence.
  • Bitching about spelling and grammar like Bosun and Higg's with the apostrophe.

    This post is still far better written then anything from the Huffington Post, a company of barely literate Gen Y'rs trying to write the "news" on their iPhones in between Tweets and popping Ritalin and Red Bull.

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @02:38PM (#43174407) Homepage Journal

    The Higgs is merely a liberal myth to get funding from big government by Photoshoping particle path photos using smelly hippie open-source software to claim they almost detected it.

    Next those commie atheist Sharia liberal hippies will tell you that subatomic particles work the same way inside poor people that they do inside wealthy job creators!

    Equality of physics? What's next, free sunshine?

    And those damned neutrinos CANNOT go through us Republicans. We have guns! Neutrinos only pass through surrendering cowards!

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