November 9, 2014
God Particle Findings Were Inconclusive, According To New Analysis
Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
More than two years after physicists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced the discovery of a new subatomic particle, scientists continue to debate whether or not the new elementary particle they detected was actually the elusive Higgs boson.On July 4, 2012, CERN director general Rolf Heuer announced that his team had detected “a particle consistent with the Higgs boson,” and that the discovery was confirmed by two separate experiments (ATLAS and CMS). However, Heuer noted that additional data was required to confirm that it was, in fact, the so-called “God particle.”
Now, in research published last week in the journal Physical Review D, Mads Toudal Frandsen, associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark’s Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics Phenomenology, and his colleagues said that existing CERN data about the particle was inconclusive. They wrote that it was possible that CERN had found the Higgs boson, but equally possible the particle was something else.
While the researchers note that there are many calculations that indicate the particle discovered in CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2013 was indeed the Higgs particle, that there was no conclusive evidence to prove that. However, they said that most physicists do agree the experiments did discover a never before seen particle.
“The CERN data is generally taken as evidence that the particle is the Higgs particle. It is true that the Higgs particle can explain the data but there can be other explanations, we would also get this data from other particles,” Frandsen explained in a statement. “The current data is not precise enough to determine exactly what the particle is.”
“It could be a number of other known particles,” he added. “We believe that it may be a so-called techni-higgs particle. This particle is in some ways similar to the Higgs particle – hence half of the name. A techni-higgs particle is not an elementary particle. Instead, it consists of so-called techni-quarks, which we believe are elementary.”
Frandsen explained that techni-quarks could bind together in a variety of ways to form different objects – some combinations could create techni-higgs particles, while others could form dark matter. Therefore, he and his colleagues believe that physicists will find several different particles, each built by techni-quarks, at the LHC.
The techni-higgs particle and Higgs particle can easily be confused in experiments, the researchers explained. Though similar, they are two vastly different particles belonging to two vastly different theories of how the universe was created. While the Higgs boson is the missing piece in the Standard Model of particle physics, a techni-higgs particle, if it exists, would require the presence of a force to bind them together in order to form particles.
“None of the four known forces of nature (gravity, the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force) are any good at binding techni-quarks together,” the University of Southern Denmark explained. “There must therefore be a yet undiscovered force of nature. This force is called the technicolor force.”
“What was found last year in CERN's accelerator could thus be either the Higgs particle of the Standard Model or a light techni-higgs particle, composed of two techni-quarks,” it added, noting that Frandsen’s team “believes that more data from CERN will probably be able to determine if it was a Higgs or a techni-higgs particle. If CERN gets an even more powerful accelerator, it will in principle be able to observe techni-quarks directly.”