“Particle Consistent With The Higgs Boson” Discovered At CERN

Posted by on July 4, 2012
Observation Of Potential Higgs Boson

Today, the crackpot scientists at CERN revealed the detection of something resembling the Higgs boson. Or, if you want, a detection consistent with a Standard Model Higgs.

That’s a far cry from several media reports claiming a definitive “discovery,” but something’s there. Whether it’s actually the Higgs or an entirely new particle is unclear.

What CERN did find, without a shadow of a doubt, is the heaviest boson ever observed, at an energy of about 125-126 GeV (gigaelectronvolts).

(Oh, and I’m just gonna sit this “Why A Low-Mass Higgs At 125 GeV Means The Universe Might Spontaneously Explode” link right here.)

According to CMS experiment spokesperson Joe Incandela, “The results are preliminary but the 5 sigma signal at around 125 GeV we’re seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found.”

The “5 sigma signal” he’s referring to is simply a scale of certainty, 5 sigma being the heighest achievable, at about 99.99994% confidence. Between ATLAS and CMS, the two experiments searching for the Higgs boson, scientists have observed signals between 4.5 and 5 sigma.

The God Particle?

The Higgs boson is like a very small, very important, and very missing piece of a modern physics puzzle. The one right in the center of the picture, invisibile but theoretically holding everything together. The final key.

It’s what gives every particle — all the matter in the universe — its mass. It’s why everything in the universe isn’t randomly shooting off in various directions at the speed of light. We owe a lot to the Higgs, I guess.

Truth is, the Higgs boson is needed to confirm our Standard Model of physics, and maybe even some new theories. Without it — well, if there turned out to be no Higgs, it’d (in a manner of speaking) be back to the drawing board.

Or, we could be dealing with a different kind of Higgs, something a bit more unusual that could help us understand such quandaries as dark matter. After all, we can only observe about 4% of the total matter in the universe, a fact that probably keeps some scientists up at night. According to CERN, a more “exotic” Higgs Boson “could be a bridge to understanding the 96% of the universe that remains obscure.”

While CERN hammers out the details, we can only sit here and speculate.

Read more: CERN experiments observe particle consistent with long-sought Higgs boson



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Post by Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. He manages Stranger Dimensions in between changing aquarium filters and reading bad novels about mermaids.