Physicists closing in on 'God particle' (Update)

Jul 25, 2011
European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientists talk in the Alice experiment control room in 2010 near Geneva during an experiment in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Experiments at the world's biggest atom smasher have yielded tantalising hints that a long-sought sub-atomic particle truly exists, with final proof likely by late 2012, physicists said.

Experiments at the world's biggest atom smasher have yielded tantalising hints that a long-sought sub-atomic particle truly exists, with final proof likely by late 2012, physicists said Monday.

"We know everything about the Higgs boson except whether it exists," said Rolf Heuer, director general of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).

"We can settle this Shakespearean question -- to be or not to be -- by the end of next year," he told journalists at a webcast press conference at CERN headquarters in Geneva.

Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Fermilab, meanwhile, also reported telltale signs of the elusive particle, heating up a longstanding rivalry between the two high-energy physics laboratories.

CERN and Fermilab have both reduced the range of mass within which the "God particle," as it is known, might be found to a fairly narrow, low-mass band.

"The search for the Higgs boson is entering its most exciting, final stage," Stefan Soldner-Rembold, spokesman for one of Fermilab's two key experiments, said last week in a statement.

Higgs or no Higgs, the stakes are huge either way, and could easily earn a Nobel Prize for the scientists who can take credit for the breakthrough.

The long-postulated particle, first proposed in 1964, is the missing cornerstone of an otherwise well-tested theory, called the Standard Model, which explains how known sub-atomic elements in the universe interact.

Without the 'God particle', however, that whole edifice falls apart because the Standard Model fails to answer one fundamental question: why do most elementary particles have mass?

British theoretical physicist Peter Higgs proposed a mechanism that would "save" the theory -- if the particle named for him truly exists.

"If you find the Boson Higgs, the Standard Model is complete. If you don't find it, then the Model has a serious problem. Both outcomes are discoveries," Heuer said.

A monitor showing the first ultra high-energy collisions is seen at the CMS experiment control room of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 2010 near Geneva. Experiments at the world's biggest atom smasher have yielded tantalising hints that a long-sought sub-atomic particle truly exists, with final proof likely by late 2012, physicists said.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) -- a 27-kilometre (16.9-mile) ring-shaped tunnel 100 metres (325 feet) below ground straddling the French-Swiss border -- is on track to crack the puzzle within 18 months, he said.

"The LHC is working beyond my expectations, as are the experiments" which, he added, are "now ready to bring us into unchartered territory."

Scientists have increased the amount of collisions delivered to the experiments by a factor of 20 over the last year, he noted.

The complex is designed to accelerate sub-atomic particles in opposite directions at nearly the speed of light and then smash them together, creating collisions that briefly stoke temperatures 100,000 times hotter than the Sun.

Researchers search the fleeting, sub-atomic rubble for clues to unsolved mysteries about the origin and make-up of the universe.

"But don't expect too much too quickly," Heuer cautioned. "We are a factor of ten away from (the collision force) we hope to have at the end of next year. We are just in the middle," he said.

The announcments at CERN Monday received an unexpected challenge from George Smoot, an American astrophysicist who won the Nobel prize in 2006 for pioneering work on the Big Bang, which set the known Universe in motion 13.7 billion years ago.

"Here we have a situation where people locked into a model -- the Standard Model -- because it was a great solution way before there was any data," said Smoots, seated among the journalists at the press conference.

"I think we are actually seeing a discovery, but because we have been so narrow and brainwashed in our focus ... (theorists) have not really looked at the fact that there are new possibilities out there."

Jean Iliopoulos, winner in 2007 of the prestigious Dirac Medal for theoretical physics and mathematics shot back with a rejoinder.

"The role of the theorists is not only to run behind data, but to anticipate it," he said.

Explore further: IHEP in China has ambitions for Higgs factory

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User comments : 40

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Pyle
3.2 / 5 (13) Jul 25, 2011
Nonsense fluff journalism. Fine for the Times. Shouldn't be republished here.

If you don't find it, then the Model has a serious problem.
No, it doesn't. It would only have a problem explaining the origin of mass. It is a massive problem, but doesn't affect the validity of the rest of the Model.
FrankHerbert
1.4 / 5 (58) Jul 25, 2011
A 'massive' problem, lol. What a pun.
jamesrm
3 / 5 (4) Jul 25, 2011
A massive non-serious problem?
thales
4.8 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2011
A non-serious massive non-mass problem.
Pyle
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 25, 2011
Did I really start that?

FH, please don't explain my lame attempts at humor. It seems to have a negative effect on the conversation. Although I suppose this article warrants this level of discourse.
Bookbinder
3 / 5 (2) Jul 25, 2011
Agree with Smoot. Theories and hints. Move on, please.
TomSullivan
1 / 5 (4) Jul 25, 2011
Rip Theory predicts that the god particle will found to be the TS Particle as defined by THE THEORY OF RIPS. The origin of mass and energy are defined in this theory.
TomSullivan
1 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2011
Well it seems that at absolute zero all motion stops. If the edges of particle/rips are not in motion, they would collapse into each other and that particle/rip would become non-existent. This could be considered an implosion, but really it is the collapse of matter. With this collapse, that small proximity would be as the universe was the instant before it started.
Rip theory predicts that this process is always occurring with the creation and annihilation of particles and virtual particles on the minute quantum scale. This process can occur at temps above zero kelvin, but at zero kelvin this process occurs on large scales, scales involving more than single quanta.
© Copyright 2011 Thomas A. Sullivan
Sean_W
4.4 / 5 (15) Jul 25, 2011
Does anyone other than writers really call this thing the "God particle"? It seems something scientists should find stupid and as for making concepts accessible to the public, anyone interested enough in science to read a story like this probably has heard the term "Higgs boson" before. Am I wrong?
Pressure2
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2011
Oh, they will probably find the Higgs boson only to find out it has nothing to do with the origin of mass.
ziphead
3.7 / 5 (6) Jul 25, 2011
We know everything about the God particle except whether it exists.


We know everything about the God except whether it exists.

Spot the difference
ziphead
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 25, 2011
Did I really start that?

FH, please don't explain my lame attempts at humor. It seems to have a negative effect on the conversation. Although I suppose this article warrants this level of discourse.


Bazinga???
Moebius
2.8 / 5 (4) Jul 25, 2011
"The role of the theorists is not only to run behind data, but to anticipate it," he said.


Except that it's the rare theory that makes specific predictions that are found to be true. Many are formed or constantly modified to fit the facts.

The Higgs will almost certainly be found. Not because the standard model is correct but because it describes reality well enough so far that its requirement of a mass mediator means that something that fits the bill will probably be found. Is it making a prediction or is it making the theory fit the fact that mass exists?

Newtonian physics described reality real well too once.
DarkHorse66
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2011
I've never quite understood WHY they are so certain that it takes a seperate particle to explain away the nature of mass as a property. Does that REALLY need to be?? That's not to say that the particle itself is a myth. I agree with Pressure2 on that point. Surely there are other options?

On another note, why does TomSullivan feel such a compulsive need to bring such a disputed theory into play at EVERY opportunity he gets? He is slowly torturing THAT hobby-horse to death! Also, why the need to put a copyright mark at the end of every post?? Unfortunately, the only impression that leaves, is rather tainted by a projected sense of arrogance. Sorry mate, but that is merely how it is coming across.
Vendicar_Decarian
4.2 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2011
"I've never quite understood WHY they are so certain that it takes a seperate particle to explain away the nature of mass as a property." - DarkHorse

It is because since second quantization, they have been trained to believe that fields are quantized and hence the gravitational field must be quantized as well. Momentum? Oh, that has to be quantized too.

Why? Because...

So you have to have a particle mediating the quantization.

Basically they are looking for a one trick pony that can explain everything to the limit of observation and computation.

So far, you must admit, they have had remarkably good luck.

If only they actually knew what they were doing.

Then I would have more confidence in their virtually non-existent explanations.
DarkHorse66
1 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2011
WOW! After trying to post on several occasions since I joined, I have FINALLY had a post go through successfully! And I did nothing different this time either.

A friend and I have just had a thought: IF the description of the Higgs as a uniqe mass imparter holds true, just how and where does it fit into the creation timelines ascribed to the Big Bang (or variations thereof)?
Also, no matter which sub-category a particle fits into, a particle is a particle, is a particle. So if it can impart mass, where does IT get it from? You can't impart what you don't already have. Or is it supposed to be some sort of 'lock and key' system, where the mixing of two other properties (one from the Higgs and one from the particle 'wanting' mass) creates the 'new' property we call mass?
FrankHerbert
1 / 5 (52) Jul 26, 2011
The way I understand it is the Higgs Field (made of Higgs bosons) is pervasive throughout the universe. All massive particles interact with this field. I've heard it described as causing a "drag" on the massive particles.

Photons for example don't interact with the field and are able to zoom through it unimpeded.
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2011
"You can't impart what you don't already have." - DarkHorse

My foot can impart a red welt on your backside. Does that mean my foot contains a red welt waiting to be transferred to your derriere?

ubavontuba
2.7 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2011
"I think we are actually seeing a discovery, but because we have been so narrow and brainwashed in our focus ... (theorists) have not really looked at the fact that there are new possibilities out there."
I LIKE George Smoot! Who else would have the audacity to suggest they may be discovering something else, altogether? I wonder what he thinks it might be?
DarkHorse66
2.7 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2011
@Vendicar Decarian: We all carry many potentials inside of us... Call it a potential red welt in your foot, waiting to be transmuted into a kinetic one expressed elswhere (made visible)....preferably energetically! But do you really need to resort to expressions of violence and crassness to get your meanings across?!?!?! What did I do to you?? There is no reason for making a personal attack, just because you deride what someone else has said!! I was only looking for people to share their thoughts about possibilities! Somehow, I doubt that even you really know for sure either. lol. At least FH was willing to answer in a rational and respectful manner. Which is how it should be.

Ap olgies if this slots into the thread out of place. I have no idea what (if anything) has been added on in the meantime. There does not appear to be live updating of incoming information and that is very annoying.

NOTE TO MODERATOR: Live thread updating would be appreciated!!!
c0y0te
3.2 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2011
Hmmm... God particle... Late 2012... Is it going to be before or after the apocalypse?!?
bluehigh
2.7 / 5 (7) Jul 26, 2011
@DarkHorse - you are going to need much thicker skin in this place.

DarkHorse66
1 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2011
@bluehigh - I do appreciate your comment - and that this kind of disrespect does appear to be his usual style. Pity. I was half expecting him to try it on anyway and it came sooner rather than later. At least he does not appear to be in the majority when it come to showing off his 'superiority' to us mere mortals. Truth be told, I was picturing myself returning that welt with a vengeance - either with hob-nail boots or wooden clogs. A pair of stiletto heels would do an even more remarkable job, but isn't a normal part of my wardrobe. Unfortunately, in this case.

Apart from that: H2O well-greased feathers = unconcerned duck :)

bluehigh
Jul 26, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
bluehigh
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 26, 2011
@Vendicar
The way I understand it is the Higgs Field (made of Higgs bosons) is pervasive throughout the universe.


Like an aether?
Deesky
5 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2011
I've never quite understood WHY they are so certain that it takes a seperate particle to explain away the nature of mass as a property.

Because that's what the standard theory of particle physics is predicting.

Does that REALLY need to be??

No, it doesn't. Nothing NEEDs to exist, but there is good reason to expect that it does exist. In fact, the Higgs mechanism was 'discovered' back in the 60s by three independent groups almost at the same time, so this more than a just-so theory.

Of course, in some ways, it would be even more exciting if the Higgs mechanism was completely ruled out, as this would send the theoreticians back to their slide-rules and perhaps lead to new physics. It's a win-win.
Deesky
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2011
@Vendicar
The way I understand it is the Higgs Field (made of Higgs bosons) is pervasive throughout the universe.


Like an aether?

Only as a superficial analogy.
hush1
4 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2011
The worst case scenario is naming something found Kervinrtrs instead of Higgs. That explains everything too.
rawa1
1 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2011
The problem with Higgs boson detection isn't in absence of virtual particles of vacuum, but with fact, these particles have no particular size/mass/energy density. This situation is similar to attempts for observations of density fluctuations of water with waves at the water surface: the smaller waves you'll use, the smaller fluctuations you can observe (if we neglect the existence of water molecules), because we basically can never observe the environment with its own waves.

As the result, these scale invariant density fluctuations (Brownian noise) are virtual from perspective of surface ripples, nevertheless they can still cause the attractive force between objects at short distances (an analogy of shielding Casimir force).

If physicists would take the dense aether model of vacuum seriously, they would get into such simple connections already before many years.
rawa1
1 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2011
In the light of the above explanation the fact, Standard Model cannot predict the mass of Higgs boson isn't problem, but a feature of the Standard Model. We could say, SM is more clever, then the physicists, who developed it and who are trying to interpret it in "hard numbers".

Well known "hiearchy problem" implies, that quantum corrections can make the mass of the Higgs particle arbitrarily large, since virtual particles with arbitrarily large energies are allowed in quantum mechanics. Because Standard Model cannot predict Higgs boson mass, it cannot use it in any equation, which actually means, it doesn't require it for anything from perspective of mainstream physics, which does care just only about numbers of its model, not about their philosophy at background.
RobertKarlStonjek
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2011
If the standard model needs the Higgs, why not just make some in the LHC?

:)
FrankHerbert
0.7 / 5 (48) Jul 26, 2011
The worst case scenario is naming something found Kervinrtrs instead of Higgs. That explains everything too.


lol good one
rawa1
1 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2011
IMO LHC just repeats the Tevatron route, which announced some Higgs at one of detectors and retracted it later with using of data from another one.

http://www.c90.bi...-signal/

Tevatron has a sensitivity up to 180 GeV and LHC up to 400 GeV. But lightest Higgs is expected at 115 - 145 GeV, i.e. well within the reach of both colliders.

Currently we have two colliders with four detectors and each of which produces different results. Some speculations about their averaged signals exist, but it's just a speculation in this moment, because these results differ significantly. We simply "need" more data.

http://blog.vixra...-combos/
rawa1
1 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2011
The worst case scenario is naming something found Kervinrtrs instead of Higgs. That explains everything too
IMO this scenario already happened. The top quark doublet found last year is a good candidate for Higgs doublet by its decay characteristic.
ant_oacute_nio354
1 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2011
The mass is the electric dipole moment.
The standard model can't have both.
ant_oacute_nio354
1 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2011
The mass is the electric dipole moment.
hush1
1 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2011
lol

"Do the orders still stand?"
(SOP - Standard Operating Physics)
"Did I say otherwise?"

"Terrified, petrified, mortified by you" -
John Nash portrayed in "Beautiful Mind"
ant_oacute_nio354
1 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2011
e.k.c = h (1 pi^3.alfa^2 /2)

e-electron charge;k-Boltzmann constant;
c-Light speed;h-Planck constant;pi=3.1415927;
alfa-Fine structure constant

alfa = 1/(137^2 pi^2)^0.5
dutchman
not rated yet Aug 01, 2011
"If you don't find it [the "Boson Higgs"], then the Model has a serious problem."

In that case, could that mean that the universe in general, and we specifically do not exist? Wow, *that* would be a load off my mind.... Or can one just infer that mass does not exist? In which case, we would all just spirit forms.

Sorry, my imagination is just working overtime.
Durgadas_Datta
1 / 5 (2) Aug 02, 2011
Our universe is of matter on opposite entropy path. Now how to get the glue to form bodies. For that we know standard model talks of four forces and one for mass creation . Out side universe is antimatter on opposite entropy path. So we know at common boundary the annihilation will produce FIVE GOD FORCES and injected into our universe as DARK ENERGY. LHC will soon find out these FIVE GOD FORCES.
DarkHorse66
1 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2011
Our universe is of matter on opposite entropy path. Now how to get the glue to form bodies. For that we know standard model talks of four forces and one for mass creation . Out side universe is antimatter on opposite entropy path. So we know at common boundary the annihilation will produce FIVE GOD FORCES and injected into our universe as DARK ENERGY. LHC will soon find out these FIVE GOD FORCES.


HUH!?!?!

Where did the assumption of opposite entropy paths come from? Or for that matter, that the outside of our universe is antimatter, just because matter dominates on the inside???

Also, it is not the 'forces' that LHC (or any other particle acceleration lab) would be seeking, it would be the particle responsible for generating the relevant fields, if such a search is what is called for. Somehow, not that they would be looking for evidence of the existence of EM-fields.......