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Rumors of Higgs Boson Discovery At LHC 225

Magnifico writes "LiveScience is reporting that scientists are abuzz over a controversial rumor that the 'God particle' has been detected by a particle-detection experiment at LHC at CERN. The Higgs boson rumor is based on what appears to be a leaked internal note from physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 17-mile-long particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland. It's not entirely clear at this point if the memo is authentic... The buzz started when an anonymous commenter recently posted an abstract of the note on Columbia University mathematician Peter Woit's blog, Not Even Wrong. This could be a flat-out hoax or a statistical anomaly or... confirmation of the particle that bestows mass on all the other particles."
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Rumors of Higgs Boson Discovery At LHC

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  • Can't be (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The_Wilschon ( 782534 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @09:57AM (#35920780) Homepage
    If this is what I was hearing about at work on Friday (I'm a particle physicist), then it can't be the Higgs. The rate of production is too high by a factor of 40.
  • by ndogg ( 158021 ) <> on Sunday April 24, 2011 @10:03AM (#35920816) Homepage Journal

    This isn't the first time this has happened. I don't know why this particular event is getting so much attention.

    That said, one of the things that's exciting about this is that they are detecting it at higher energies than were expected by the Standard Model, which would mean that a few laws of physics might have to be rewritten. I love it when that happens. It's so boring when everything just falls into place where expected.

    Oh, by the way, the new season of Doctor Who. There was something I wanted to mention about it. I just can't remember what it was. It's like on the tip of my tongue.

  • by Maury Markowitz ( 452832 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @10:48AM (#35921040) Homepage

    This isn't the first time this has happened. I don't know why this particular event is getting so much attention.

    Because the LHC has been created, and funded, largely by "selling" the Higgs as a super-special "God particle".

    In fact it's nothing at all different than any one of the other particles in the standard model that were predicted and later found. Well, one difference, there are no other particles left in the SM, so if you want to have a job, you have to make sure someone thinks it's worth spending a few billion on.

  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @02:55PM (#35922832)

    I have a question for CDF folks:

    If this does indeed turn out to be a viable Higgs candidate, is its mass sufficiently low that the result could someday be duplicated/confirmed at Fermilab? Would it require more running time than is currently planned for the Tevatron? Would it possibly lead to an extension in order to confirm the LHC result?

  • by Werthless5 ( 1116649 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @03:25PM (#35923038)

    It's the first time that such a clear Higgs result has been found. This case is interesting for a few reasons

    1) It's in the mass-range that was excluded by LEP and Fermilab
    2) The cross section is ~30x higher than the Standard Model prediction
    3) It was produced as an internal communication (ie it was posted Wednesday so that the ATLAS Higgs group could look at it), but then ATLAS physicists posted and talked about by ATLAS physicists in departments around the country and on blogs around the internet. This indicates that all of the secrecy and careful step-by-step approval processes in order to prevent embarrassing false-positives is meaningless; if there's a really exciting bump in the data, then physicists will want to talk about it before all of the details have been checked over by other experts. This is both good and bad; it's good because these are scientists who are clearly very interested in their craft, but it's bad because now if the paper turns out to be wrong then it's going to make the entire ATLAS Collaboration look bad because the information was not meant to be shown publicly yet (ie if there's a mistake in some code somewhere and it gets caught during the coming weeks of review before the paper is even approved for internal ATLAS distribution, and months before it's approved for public consumption, then the ATLAS conveners will look stupid simply because a lot of scientists got a little too excited and jumped the gun)

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard