Eight Months Later, Physicists Double Down on Claim of Higgs Particle Discovery
No longer Higgs-like, now just Higgs
It was more than eight months and a week ago when Joe Incandela, the spokesperson for one of the research teams at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider stood up and announced the discovery of a new subatomic particle. “This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found,” he said.
That announcement set the physics world abuzz with claims that the long-elusive Higgs Boson—the particle thought to give all the other known subatomic particles mass—had been found. But, just because the new particle looked like the Higgs and smelled like the Higgs, no one in a real position to say so actually wanted to call it the Higgs. But now, after a bunch of follow-up work, says the Associated Press, physicists at CERN are ready to confirm what everyone wanted to hear. New Scientist:
The spokespeople of the two major Higgs-hunting detectors have now confirmed that the particle discovered in July is a Higgs boson. “The preliminary results with the full 2012 dataset are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson,” says CMS spokesperson Joe Incandela.
So, with the Higgs found we can shut down the LHC and all go home now, right?
“It is legitimate to call this beastie ‘a’ Higgs boson,” says Raymond Volkas, of the University of Melbourne in Australia, but not “the Higgs”.
Joe Incandela, who heads one of the two main teams at CERN that each involve several thousand scientists, said in a statement that “it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is.”
Never content, those physicists, are they?
More from Smithsonian.com:
Physicists Pin Down New Particle, Won’t Quite Call It the Higgs
Finally, For Real, We (May Have) Found the God Particle