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CERN To Tap Unused Desktop Power To Help Find Higgs Boson 118

hypnosec writes "Research institute CERN has launched a new project to tap into the extra computing power from the public for its Large Hadron Collider atom smashing project. According to the organization, the LHC@home project will, for the first time, allow volunteers to aid in high-energy collisions of protons in CERN's Large Hadron Collider and in turn helping physicists to unravel the mysteries of the origin of the universe"
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CERN To Tap Unused Desktop Power To Help Find Higgs Boson

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  • Re:Save the Planet! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @01:51PM (#37046578) Homepage Journal

    You don't really find a single Higgs boson. You can't detect the Higgs directly. You have to detect its decay processes (usually, a pair of taus or photons), which can also be produced by other processes. You find it statistically: if you get more of those pairs than is accounted for by understood processes, and if the amount of the excess corresponds to the mount of excesses you'd expect from the Higgs, AND if the machine is running at an energy that you'd expect to produce the Higgs, you get to call it a detection.

    So you can count up how many Higgs events you thought there were, and then repeat the experiments focusing on the energy range you think the Higgs has. So, it's not quite the "eureka" moment you might hope for, but it's good enough to confirm the Standard Model.

    Whether all of that was really "worth it"... well, that's something else altogether.

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