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Why All the Higgs Hate? It's a 'Vanilla' Boson 205

astroengine writes "Decades of searching and a 7.5 billion Euro particle accelerator later, why is everyone so down on one of the biggest discoveries of the century? Well, as the evidence strengthens for a bona fide signal of a 'Standard Model' Higgs boson with a mass of 125 GeV, many scientists are disappointed that the discovery of an 'ordinary' — or 'vanilla' according to Caltech cosmologist Sean Carroll — Higgs removes any doubt for more exotic physics beyond the Standard Model. It's a strange juxtaposition; a profound discovery that's also an anticlimax. But to confirm the identity of the Higgs candidate, LHC physicists still need to measure the particle's spin. 'Until we can confidently tie down the particle's spin,' said CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci at this week's Rencontres de Moriond conference in Italy, 'the particle will remain Higgs-like. Only when we know that is has spin-zero will we be able to call it a Higgs.'"
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Why All the Higgs Hate? It's a 'Vanilla' Boson

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  • by Visserau ( 2433592 ) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @12:06AM (#43129039)

    TFA is mainstream butt-hurt-ness that the progress of science isn't appropriately entertaining, and unsurprisingly misses a few key points. Sure an announcement of 'we are making progress and confirming what we expected" isn't as exciting as the original announcement, but is just as important (if not more so) to the scientific process.

    When/if this particle is confirmed as the higgs, that does not remotely "[tie] up the Standard Model of physics in a pretty, neat, red quantum bow" (TFA) let alone "[remove] any doubt for more exotic physics beyond the Standard Model" (TFS). Both are patently false. A major reason for looking for the higgs in the first place (beyond confirming that part of the SM) is to being to actively investigate the higgs field, which is moderated by the higgs boson itself. The higgs does not impart mass to particles as is usually claimed (although it's not an unreasonable simplification). The higgs particles are what moderates the higgs field, the presence of which is what brings about mass in particles. (The higgs - and presumably all/most particles - are actually just field fluctuations. What we think of as a discrete particle is really then just the instantaneous average of the fluctuation [wave]).

    I can't find my exact sources for this, but at least some of them were from the Higgs section of this site, which I highly recommend. Meanwhile, this article is quite interesting anyway:

    http://profmattstrassler.com/articles-and-posts/particle-physics-basics/the-known-apparently-elementary-particles/the-known-particles-if-the-higgs-field-were-zero/ [profmattstrassler.com]

  • by mdenham ( 747985 ) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @12:57AM (#43129217)

    Since the Pauli exclusion principle only applies to particles with non-integer spin numbers, and zero is an integer, the answer is "yes, particles with zero spin are not subject to the Pauli exclusion principle".

  • by fiziko ( 97143 ) on Sunday March 10, 2013 @01:02AM (#43129229) Homepage

    Someone else has already said that, no, the Pauli Exclusion Principle does not apply. To expand further, "boson" is a term that specifically means "particle that is not subject to the Pauli Exclusion Principle." The term "fermion" is used for particles that are. Protons, neutrons, quarks and electrons are fermions, while the Higgs and all force-mediating particles (gluons, photons, W, Z, gravitons) are bosons.

  • And people so like to believe that science is objective, free of self-interest and politics, and trustworthy as a source of real world insight...

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