Recently, there’s been a lot of speculation that scientists working with the Large Hadron Collider may have actually found the Higgs boson. While such a finding would need much more testing to confirm, a leaked video from CERN confirms that they’ve found something new, but no one is yet calling it the Higgs.
It seems that the search for the Higgs boson – also known as “not the God particle” – might be, if not over, moving into its next phase. An apparently leaked video from Cern - I say leaked, because it seems to be dated tomorrow – shows Joe Incandela, a spokesman for one of the experiments at the Large Hadron Colider, saying “We’ve observed a new particle”. It’s in the place they expected to find the Standard Model Higgs, but for the time being they don’t know whether it is or if it’s something unexpected. Anyway, here’s a very quick transcript of the first minute or two of his speech. I’ll get more down in a bit:
Joe Incandela, the CMS Spokesperson, on CMS progress on the search for the Higgs Boson, 4 July 2012:
We’ve observed a new particle. We have quite strong evidence that there’s something there. Its properties are still going to take us a little bit of time. But we can see that it decays to two photons, for example, which tells us it’s a boson, it’s a particle with integer spin. And we know its mass is roughly 100 times the mass of the proton. And this is very significant. This is the most massive such particle that exists, if we confirm all of this, which I think we will.
And this is very, very significant. It’s something that may, in the end, be one of the biggest observations of any new new phenomena in our field in the last 30 or 40 years, going way back to the discovery of quarks, for example. We see very, very strong evidence of the decay to two photons, and a very very narrow peak in the distribution. We see also the evidence of the decay to two Z-particles, which are like heavy photons, in this particular theory of elementary physics. And then we’ve studied the number of other channels that have reported, but these are less sensitive and are therefore less conclusive at the moment. But we are very excited. I’m extremely tired at the moment, so I may not appear to be as excited as I really am, but the significance of this observation could be very very great.
It could be ultimately seen that its properties are very consistent with the Standard Model Higgs, or it could be found out that its properties don’t exactly match the predictions for the Standard Model. And if that’s the case, then we have something really quite profound here. It could be a gateway, if you like, to the next phase of exploring the deepest fabric of the universe, which is pretty profound when you think about it.
And the other thing I would like to say is that obviously all of this is extremely preliminary. What we’ve looked for is a few grains on a beach, in one sense. I did some calculations, and if you replaced every event, every collision of the beams that we’ve scanned or had take place in our experiment over the last two years, if you let each one of those be represented by a grain of sand, you’d have enough sand to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. And the number of events that we’ve collected that we claim represent this observation are on the order of tens, or dozens. So it’s an incredibly difficult task, and it takes a lot of care and cross-checking. We’re re-calibrating, and we’ll have better results, even on the current data, when we release at the end of the month. But it’s very exciting.
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