September 2, 2011
Higgs May Be Detected As Early As Christmas
Researchers at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) said that the hunt for the Higgs particle is well ahead of schedule, according to BBC News.
They said earlier this year they would either discover the Higgs or confirm is does not exist by the end of 2012.
The Higgs Boson is the particle that in the physics "Standard Model" allows other particles to have mass.
The discovery or elimination of the particle is one of the LHC's major objectives, and it may come as early as Christmas 2011.
"We could discover the Standard Model version of the Higgs Boson or exclude it earlier than expected. Could we discover it by Christmas? In principle, yes," Professor Guido Tonelli, a spokesman for LHC, said in a press release.
The Higgs particle was hypothesized in 1964 to explain how other sub-atomic particles have mass. The particle is the only major particle in the Standard Model that has not been observed.
The collider is an accelerator machine housed in a 17-mile circular tunnel under the French-Swiss border.
The current run of collisions designed to detect the Higgs will be completed by the end of October.
PhD student Richard Ruiz wrote in the physics blog "Quantum Diaries" that the possibility of an early Christmas present for the physics community was raised at the beginning of the week.
"What this means is that by the end of this year, not next year, we will definitely know whether or not the Higgs Boson as predicted by the Standard model exists."
However, Richard Hawkings, who speaks for the LHC's Atlas experiment, said the current data may not be enough to make a definitive statement on the Higgs.
"It's a bit optimistic. If the Higgs had been in an easy to find area then yes, we may have been able to have discovered it by Christmas," he told BBC.
"But what we have discovered in the past couple of months is that it´s in a region that's much harder to find.
"This will require more data and more time."
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