Higgs Boson, “Catch me if you can”

I am sure you have heard it, if not, which planet have you been living in? But just in case you are unaware about this celebrity particle, “The Higgs Boson”, we have provided some short introductory videos with also the latest news from CERN. Physicist may have just received a very early Christmas Present… or a very very late Eid Present. :) Check the latest.

What is a Higgs Boson?

How to Search for the Higgs Boson?

Latest from Around CERN… Have you found it? 

The first solid experimental evidence for the existence of the Higgs boson has been unveiled today by physicists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva. Members of the ATLAS experiment revealed evidence that the Higgs particle has a mass of about 126 GeV/c2. Physicists working on the rival CMS experiment released similar – albeit weaker – evidence for a Higgs with a mass of about 124 GeV/c2.

However, ATLAS spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti cautions that the measurements are not good enough yet to claim the discovery of the particle. [1]

The ATLAS measurement was made at a confidence level of about 3.6σ, which means that the measurement could be the result of a random fluke just 0.1% of the time. While these might sound like fantastic odds, particle physicists normally wait until they have a confidence of 5σ or greater before they call it a “discovery”. Anything above 3σ is described as “evidence”.

There are several reasons why particle physicists require such high confidence levels. One is the “look elsewhere” effect that arises because the data are sorted into mass/energy bins to create a histogram – which could concentrate fluctuations. After the look elsewhere effect is considered in the ATLAS result, the confidence level drops to 2.3σ, according to Gianotti.

Another potential problem is that there could be unknown systematic errors lurking in the experiment that could be responsible for the apparent result, and therefore requiring a very high confidence could help avoiding such errors.

Despite the preliminary results announced at CERN today, unravelling the mystery of the Higgs will take some time. Assuming that the signal at 126 GeV/c2 survives further analysis, the next step for physicists will be to tease out the precise nature of the Higgs they have discovered. According to Matt Strassler of Rutgers University in the US, a mass of about 126 GeV/c2 could indicate many different things. These include a Standard Model Higgs, a Higgs that is best described by theories beyond the Standard Model such as supersymmetry (SUSY), a “little Higgs” or various other theories. [1]

Musing Limerick by Prof Jon Butterworth

A physicist saw an enigma

And called to his mum “Flying pig, ma!”

She said “Flying pigs?

Next thing you’ll see the Higgs!”

He said “Nah, not until it’s five sigma!”

[1] PhysicsWorlds

Further Reads

Tantalizing Hints of Elusive Higgs Particle Announced

Detectors home in on Higgs boson

 

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