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View Full Version : Annonuncement on Higgs Boson found to be made today.



Peter Lemkin
07-04-2012, 06:42 AM
On Wednesday (July 4), scientists heading two major experiments at the LHC plan to announce their most recent findings at a physics conference in Australia with accompanying meetings in Geneva, Switzerland. What's more, senior scientists at European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) are hinting that there is strong evidence in their data that suggests the Higgs boson exists.

For the last year or so there have been "hints" of a Higgs detection, then those hints turned into "potential evidence." Now, will we finally get word of a bona fide discovery?

"I agree that any reasonable outside observer would say, 'It looks like a discovery,'" CERN physicist John Ellis told The Associated Press. "We've discovered something which is consistent with being a Higgs."

The Higgs boson is the last piece of the physics Standard Model, a collection of theories that underpin all modern physics. The Higgs particle is theorized to mediate mass -- like a photon (also a boson) mediates the electromagnetic force, i.e., light -- and creates the "Higgs field" that must pervade the entire Universe, endowing matter with mass.

If the LHC didn't detect signs of the Higgs particle, its non-discovery would turn modern physics on its head. But physicists are an inquisitive bunch, so a non-discovery would be just as exciting (if not more so) than a discovery. But for all the Higgs doubters out there, it's looking more and more likely the Higgs does exist and the Standard Model is as robust as physicists always thought.

So when the announcement comes from ATLAS and CMS physicists on Wednesday, will we get the definitive proof we've been (not-so-)patiently waiting for?

In the world of high-energy physics, it's not a question of slamming particles together and then photographing a Higgs boson screaming away from the carnage. Countless billions of collisions need to be recorded and the resulting spray of particles tracked. Like a photograph, more photons are needed to make the image appear defined and bright. If just a few photons hit the photographic paper, a very vague and fuzzy image is the result. The longer you leave the photograph under the light, more photons are collected and the better the image becomes.

This is basically what the LHC scientists are doing. They repeat the same experiment again and again and collect the huge quantities of data to gradually build an "image" of the kinds of particles produced inside the LHC as it smashes protons together at near the speed of light. Over time, statistical spikes start to appear in the data, suggesting particles of a certain energy (or mass) are being detected.

One statistical spike, at around the energy of one predicted variety of Higgs boson, has been growing stronger and more defined over the months, but at what point does that "spike" become a discovery and not just background noise? As this is a lesson in statistics of huge numbers, physicists have a way of categorizing how strong the signal is.

HOWSTUFFWORKS: What is the Higgs boson?

So far, the strength of this particular Higgs signal hasn't exceeded 4.3-sigma -- which relates to a 99.996 percent chance of the signal being real (and a 0.0004 percent chance that it's just noise). A 5-sigma signal, on the other hand, is regarded as the "Gold Standard" in particle physics, relating to a 99.99994 percent chance that the signal is real (and only a 0.00006 percent chance of it being noise). Only when the signal hits that magical 5-sigma standard can a discovery be announced.

This is why Ellis says that to any "reasonable outside observer" Wednesday's announcement will appear to confirm a Higgs boson discovery, but to particle physicists, the signal may be just shy of the 5-sigma mark.

There is another possibility. By combining the results of both the CMS and ATLAS detectors, CERN can check the results of one against the other. In the pursuit of the Higgs, they also combine the data from both (which is how the previous 4.3-sigma signal was derived). On Wednesday, however, we're not going to see a combined signal from both detectors.

"Combining the data from two experiments is a complex task, which is why it takes time, and why no combination will be presented on Wednesday," said CERN spokesman James Gillies.

So this opens up another possibility: perhaps one of the detectors has a 5-sigma signal and the other does not. This could be the source of the ambiguity. Regardless, we may be getting close and few people are doubting that these results suggest a Higgs discovery will soon be confirmed.

"Only the most curmudgeonly will not believe that they have found it," said cosmologist Sean Carroll.

Peter Lemkin
07-04-2012, 07:33 AM
The Cern physics laboratory near Geneva appeared to leak crucial details of its hunt for the long-sought Higgs boson particle on Tuesday when it accidentally posted a video (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomchiversscience/100168877/something-like-the-higgs-boson-has-been-found-probably/)announcing the discovery of a new particle on its website.

Senior scientists at Cern are due to reveal the latest findings in the hunt for the famed particle at a much-anticipated press conference in Geneva on Wednesday, and had tried to keep the results under wraps, despite intense rumours that the laboratory had found the particle.

But Cern, which takes credit for inventing the world wide web, inadvertently released a video interview on its website dated 4 July 2012 in which spokesman Joe Incandela states the lab has "observed a new particle".

A press officer at the laboratory blamed a technical glitch for the video going live. The interview was taken down shortly after.

Speaking on the video, Incandela stopped short of claiming the particle was the Higgs boson, saying more work was needed to be sure. "We have quite strong evidence that there's something there. It's properties are still going to take us a little bit of time," he said.

The details Incandela revealed suggest it has the hallmarks of the Higgs particle. "We can see that it decays into 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 this, which I think we will," he said.

"It's something that may, in the end, be one of the biggest observations of any new phenomena in our field in the last 30 or 40 years, going way back to the discovery of quarks," he added.

A spokesperson for Cern said the video went live on the internet due to a "technical fault". They added that the lab had recorded several videos in advance with spokespersons at the lab.

Two teams of physicists at Cern are preparing to announce their latest efforts to discover the Higgs boson at a press conference at the laboratory on Wednesday morning. Details will be unveiled by Fabiola Gianotti and Incandela, the respective leaders of teams that use the giant Atlas and CMS detectors to search for new particles.

The Higgs boson, named after the Edinburgh University physicist Peter Higgs, who proposed it in 1964, has become the most sought-after particle in modern science and its discovery is a major focus of research at the LHC.

Discovery of the particle would be proof of an invisible energy field that fills the vacuum of space. Without it, or something to do its job, there would be no stars, planets or life as we know it.

According to theory, the Higgs field switched on a trillionth of a second after the big bang that flung the universe into existence. Before this moment, all of the particles in the universe were massless and zipped around at the speed of light.

When the Higgs field switched on, it changed the future of the universe. Particles such as the quarks and electrons that make up normal matter felt a "drag" from the field, which manifests itself as mass. The more a particle feels the field, the heavier it becomes. Some particles, like photons, pass through the field untouched, and so remain massless and move at the speed of light.

Some theories known as "supersymmetry" predict the existence of several kinds of Higgs particles, along with a host of other particles that have yet to be discovered.

Whatever Cern announces, there is plenty more work ahead for the scientists. "If something significant and new is found on Wednesday that would be fantastic, but we're not going to know firstly that it's a Higgs boson, or secondly what kind of Higgs particle it might be, until we've made a much more thorough investigation of how it behaves," said Shears.

Peter Lemkin
07-04-2012, 08:12 AM
The only thing wrong in some of the explanations as to what the Higgs Boson is and its significance, are the referrences to the 'Big Bang'. I firmly believe, as do a growing number of scientists and astronomers, that there never was a 'Big Bang' and that was an attempt by astronomers and others to 'square' scientific theory with western religious dogma. For those interested, there is a film available on the internet called the Big Bang Never Happened and an alternative explanation that, IMHO, should in no way upset anyone's religious or philosophical underpinnings...and more accurately fits the scientific facts, physics, astrophysics and astronomy. But I digress....the likely find of the Higgs Boson is significant indeed. It is the particle/field [both] that gives mass [substance] to all in the universe. Thank goodness, no military applications are forseen with this discovery - it is purely scientific at this point.

Magda Hassan
07-04-2012, 08:22 AM
http://worldsciencefestival.com/events/higgs_boson_announcement/main

http://webcast.web.cern.ch/webcast/ (http://worldsciencefestival.com/events/higgs_boson_announcement/main)

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/07/watch-live-higgs-boson/


Here's some more information on the Higgs boson from Dr. Lawrence Krauss:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21277-what-is-the-higgs-boson-and-why-does-it-matter.html

Peter Lemkin
07-04-2012, 08:31 AM
I hate when people from the UK use treacle analogies, for that substance is totally unknown to exist in the USA. I can't find it in the periodic table of the elements.

...anyway, so now we have some physics explanation of what has been known from the dawn of man - that all things have mass and substance. Too bad as we better understand what exactly substance is, those running the Planet have less and less substance, and should be gotten rid of, en masse.

Peter Lemkin
07-04-2012, 10:41 AM
I was just watching the press conference live [I believe it will be rebroadcast here. (http://webcast.web.cern.ch/webcast/play_press.html)] It really was rather exciting. Peter Higgs who came up with the theory many decades ago [1964] was there with tears in his eyes. It is the first scalar particle ever discovered and puts humans at the edge of understanding the structure of the universe and reality in the years to come. Details are very technical, but need not be understood to appreciate the achievement. It is likely the forerunner of new steps in the understanding of physics equal to that of Einstien's...but will take a few more years to make clear and to express. The collider at CERN is to be repaired and will be 'down' for the repairs for two years. Once 'up' again, it will be working at electron voltages far exceeding what it now operates at. The more powerful the voltages, the deeper into the subatomic structure it can see....literally into the fabric of space and time....and perhaps some day an understanding of how space and time and gravity all fit in with the various forces of the universe in a GUT [Grand Unification Theory]. No doubt the weapons manufacturers are drooling at weapons beyond the hydrogen bomb and lasers et al. But those at CERN are really interested, I believe, in the theoretical physics and what GOOD can come out of this for humankind. If nothing else, a better understanding of the structure of the universe and all in it will certainly come out of this...but, this will take some years yet to even clarify fully what was discovered here and now. They believe it is a boson, likely a variant of the Higgs boson..perhaps even the Higgs boson, which is theorized to be the particle/field that gives all things mass. Any practical applications to come out of this discovery are unknown at this time.

Peter Lemkin
07-05-2012, 08:28 AM
Professor Parker has answered this question on the University of Cambridge website:

Most people imagine particles of matter to be like little billiard balls, which are stuck together in some way to make the solid objects which we see around us. We naturally expect the billiard balls to have some substance in their own right, making them, and everything which they form, massive. However, in modern quantum theories, matter is nothing like this. All the particles would, if left to themselves, have no mass at all, and fly around at the speed of light. There would be no atoms or people to study them.

The Higgs field is the proposed answer to this mismatch between our equations and what we see. The Higgs field fills all of space, and as the particles try to move through it, their interactions with it cause them to appear to have mass. This slows them down and allows them to bind together into the familiar forms of matter which we observe. This is a completely different picture of nature than the one we instinctively imagine – instead of matter having its own intrinsic properties, and moving about in empty space, many of the properties of matter are actually only due to its interactions with an invisible, all-pervasive field. The properties of "empty" space are crucial to the physicist's understanding of the world.

The Higgs boson itself is a vibration in the Higgs field, which can be created if enough energy is put into the field, like dropping a pebble into a pond. The LHC is the world's highest energy particle collider, and the collisions it makes create enough disturbance in the Higgs field to observe the Higgs boson, if it exists.

[So that strange 'notion' of the ultimate nature of the universe you had last time you were in the mountains, stoned or on shrooms or other such, were not so far off the mark....perhaps.]

Keith Millea
07-05-2012, 05:14 PM
The Higgs field is the proposed answer to this mismatch between our equations and what we see. The Higgs field fills all of space, and as the particles try to move through it, their interactions with it cause them to appear to have mass. This slows them down and allows them to bind together into the familiar forms of matter which we observe.

I love this video.;)

Okay,only people who have taken LSD can really understand what this woman is explaining.I have a couple of questions.

Could this woman actually be seeing the air molecules floating in the all pervasive Higgs field?
Is this as close as it gets for humans to actually be perceiving the Higgs field?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_F8L-RdwABc

Peter Lemkin
07-05-2012, 06:06 PM
The Higgs field is the proposed answer to this mismatch between our equations and what we see. The Higgs field fills all of space, and as the particles try to move through it, their interactions with it cause them to appear to have mass. This slows them down and allows them to bind together into the familiar forms of matter which we observe.

I love this video.;)

Okay,only people who have taken LSD can really understand what this woman is explaining.I have a couple of questions.

Could this woman actually be seeing the air molecules floating in the all pervasive Higgs field?
Is this as close as it gets for humans to actually be perceiving the Higgs field?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_F8L-RdwABc

One would likely answer differently if one were answering 'straight' or while tripping....one a physical answer; one a metaphysical one. On the very small [subatomic] and large [comic distances and sizes in all FOUR dimensions] things get very strange indeed - and totally UNLIKE what we normally experience or can experience. I'll defer to Terrence McKenna on your question.... I flew through the universe in controlled flight once...did I or not?!?! It depends. :popworm:She definitely saw those objects in the air...and he didn't.

Jan Klimkowski
07-05-2012, 07:15 PM
Keith - I hadn't seen that clip before, thanks for posting.

An Acid Epiphany.

"It's passed right through me."

"I wish I could talk in technicolour."

From an entirely "straight" 1950s woman who aspires to be seen as respectable and "normal".

I noted her sadness near the end when she realises her stuffy, besuited, interrogator cannot see what she is seeing.

I noted my sadness, that where I see Hope and Dreams of Goodness, Jolly West and his Merrie Men saw Vulnerability and Nightmares of Kontrol.

From the Edgewood Arsenal Range to the Killing Fields of the Phoenix Program to Kalifornia and Helter Skelter.

As the Bluebird might have sung:

Give me the child's sense of wonder, of epiphany, and I will make you a creature, I will mould you the man....

Lauren Johnson
07-05-2012, 07:46 PM
Keith - I hadn't seen that clip before, thanks for posting.

An Acid Epiphany.

"It's passed right through me."

"I wish I could talk in technicolour."

From an entirely "straight" 1950s woman who aspires to be seen as respectable and "normal".

I noted her sadness near the end when she realises her stuffy, besuited, interrogator cannot see what she is seeing.

I noted my sadness, that where I see Hope and Dreams of Goodness, Jolly West and his Merrie Men saw Vulnerability and Nightmares of Kontrol.

From the Edgewood Arsenal Range to the Killing Fields of the Phoenix Program to Kalifornia and Helter Skelter.

As the Bluebird might have sung:

Give me the child's sense of wonder, of epiphany, and I will make you a creature, I will mould you the man....

Is this woman's identity known? Has she communicated about the video? Or was she thrown away like a useless experimental primate?