Finally, For Real, We (May Have) Found the God Particle

Simulation of a detection of the Higgs boson in the CMS experiment.
Simulation of a detection of the Higgs boson in the CMS experiment CERN

“One of the biggest debuts in the science world could happen in a matter of weeks: The Higgs boson may finally, really have been discovered.” Says Wired reporter Adam Mann.

The hunt for the Higgs boson has been ongoing for decades, with the quest most recently tied up in the on again—off again status of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator. Building on a December report showing supposed signs of the Higgs’ existence,

“The latest Higgs rumors suggest nearly-there 4-sigma signals are turning up at both of the two separate LHC experiments that are hunting for the particle.” says Mann.

According to the New York Times’ Dennis Overbye,

Nobody who has seen the new data is talking, except to say not to believe the blogs, where a rumor of an enhanced signal has ricocheted around, and to warn that even if the signal is real, it may require much more data and analysis to establish that it actually acts like the Higgs boson and not an impostor.

Both Overbye and Mann report that the physicists in charge of the LHC programs searching for the Higgs are hoping to have the results worked out by the time a physics conference begins in Australia on July 4th.

The quest is so full of rumors and inklings both because finding the Higgs would be a truly important discovery, but also because of how the research is done, a point made more clearly in John Timmer‘s story Rolling the dice: understanding how physicists hunt for the Higgs.

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