March 14, 2013
Discovery Of Higgs Boson Particle Now Very Likely
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) says the latest analysis of data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator indicates that scientists did find the elusive Higgs boson particle last year.
The existence of the Higgs particle was first predicted at different times in the year 1964 by three different groups of physicists, including Francois Englert and Robert Brout in August; Peter Higgs in October; and Gerald Guralnik, C.R. Hagen, and Tom Kibble (GHK) in November. The discovery could validate the theories developed over the last 50 years that explain how elementary particles can have mass.
Now, eight months later, CERN presented new results at the Moriond Conference, further corroborating that the Higgs boson was indeed discovered last year. Scientists have now analyzed two and a half times more data than was available for the discovery announcement in July last year, and their findings suggest that the new particle is looking more and more like the Higgs boson.
“The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me 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,” said CMS spokesperson Joe Incandela.
ATLAS and CMS, the two teams of scientists collaborating at CERN who discovered the Higgs, compared a number of options while analyzing the data. Coupled with the measured interactions of the new particle with other particles, the new results provide a strong indication that it is, in fact, a Higgs boson that they discovered.
"The beautiful new results represent a huge effort by many dedicated people. They point to the new particle having the spin-parity of a Higgs boson as in the Standard Model. We are now well started on the measurement program in the Higgs sector," said ATLAS spokesperson Dave Charlton.
The team had to precisely measure the rate at which the boson decays into other particles and compare these results with predictions. The detection takes around 1 trillion proton-proton collisions with the LHC for each observed event.
The LHC has been shut down for a two-year period to undergo repair and upgrades before its work officially resumes sometime in 2015. The upgrades will cost about $54 million and aim to get the particle accelerator running at even higher energies.