Hints fade of elusive physics 'God particle'

Aug 22, 2011 by Kerry Sheridan
A European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientist checks a monitor at the Alice experiment control room in 2010 near Geneva during an experiment in the world's most powerful atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). International scientists searching to solve the greatest riddle in physics said signs are fading of the elusive Higgs-Boson particle, believed to give objects mass.

International scientists searching to solve the greatest riddle in all of physics said Monday that signs are fading of the elusive Higgs-Boson particle, which is believed to give objects mass.

Just last month, physicists announced at a European conference that a big atom-smasher experiment had shown tantalizing hints of the Higgs-Boson, as the search to identify the particle enters the final stretch with results expected late next year.

Sometimes described as the "God particle" because it is such a mystery yet such a potent force of nature, the Higgs-Boson -- if it exists -- represents the final piece of the Standard Model of physics.

"At this moment we don't see any evidence for the Higgs in the lower mass region where it is likely to be," said physicist Howard Gordon, deputy US ATLAS operations program manager.

ATLAS is the biggest particle collider lab at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)'s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

"I think it is true that the hints that we saw in July are not as significant -- they weren't very significant in July -- but they have gotten less significant now," Gordon told AFP.

However, physicists are not ready to rule out the possibility that it exists, and atom-smasher experiments must still sift through an immense amount of data at the low-end of the spectrum, he said.

"Basically the data has increased by about a factor of two since the report from the European Physical Society meeting in July because the Large Hadron Collider is producing lots of data," Gordon said.

"I think it has always been a possibility that the Higgs would not be there but I don't think we are ready to say that at this moment."

A statement summarizing the latest data, released at a conference in Mumbai, India, said the LHC's "ATLAS and CMS experiments excluded with 95 percent certainty the existence of a Higgs over most of the mass region from 145 to 466 GeV."

CERN research director Sergio Bertolucci whether the particle exists or not, scientists expect to know more by next year.

"Discoveries are almost assured within the next 12 months. If the Higgs exists, the LHC experiments will soon find it. If it does not, its absence will point the way to new physics," said Bertolucci.

The LHC, located near Geneva, Switzerland, is designed to accelerate protons to nearly the speed of light and then smash them together in house-sized labs where detectors record the seething sub-atomic debris.

The smashups briefly stoke temperatures 100,000 times hotter than the Sun, fleetingly replicating conditions which prevailed split-seconds after the "Big Bang" that created the universe 13.7 billion years ago.

In addition to ATLAS, CERN's CMS experiment, short for Compact Muon Solenoid, is a general-purpose detector that is also searching for the Higgs boson, extra dimensions, and the essence of dark matter.

"Whatever the final verdict on Higgs, we're now living in very exciting times for all involved in the quest for new physics," said CMS spokesman Guido Tonelli.

Explore further: The unifying framework of symmetry reveals properties of a broad range of physical systems

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User comments : 31

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flashgordon
2.9 / 5 (8) Aug 22, 2011
What's remarkable is we're not finding, anything. There's no quantum particles coming out anywhere. I suppose it's a bit early; i'm not sure how long they've been smashing particles; but, it certainly seems like a desert down at the energy regimes they're trying to find something, anything.
Noumenon
4.5 / 5 (52) Aug 22, 2011
Why does energy "congeal" into specific mass sizes.
jonnyboy
3.1 / 5 (16) Aug 22, 2011
getting closer by the day to the "Big Rethink" as they continue to eliminate all of the "nonreal" mathematical abstractions that have so twisted modern physics.
flashgordon
3.5 / 5 (8) Aug 22, 2011
Some people are really I guess hatefull is the word; Newton is right; just do the math in the background and don't talk to all these, people who can't have an intellectual discussion.

Anyways,

It would be amazing if all that string theory and supersymmetry theory(not to mention the higgs theory) gets cut down. Sounds like the slac massacre; but, then again, one theoretical work did make the cut; the work of Abdus Salem, Steven Weinberg, and Sheldon Glashow(not to mention Yang and Mills).
Callippo
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 22, 2011
The same situation like this one observed at Fermilab repeats. After initial signal the evidence vanes with increasing amount of data.

http://www.guardi...may/11/1
flashgordon
2 / 5 (4) Aug 22, 2011
thanks Callippo.
axemaster
not rated yet Aug 22, 2011
The smashups briefly stoke temperatures 100,000 times hotter than the Sun


Sorry, quick question... I was under the impression that temperature can only be determined in a system that is close to equilibrium, where the states are well defined. These high energy interactions seem to be far from any equilibrium, so how are they defining temp?

To put it differently, temperature is defined as a function of the entropy of a system, and entropy is determined by how the available states are being filled. If the states are poorly defined due to a collision event, then how is the temperature determined? Does temp even have any meaning in such a situation?
knowitall599
1 / 5 (15) Aug 22, 2011
Why are they wasting brain power looking for this particle? This is a waist of time. No human will ever and can never know the truth with the level of technology we have now.
Pete1983
4.1 / 5 (9) Aug 22, 2011
Why are they wasting brain power looking for this particle? This is a waist of time. No human will ever and can never know the truth with the level of technology we have now.


So you're suggesting we shouldn't look?

The only argument you could possibly have against the LHC is that "the money could be better spent elsewhere". Which I hate as a statement, because the issue of poverty isn't solvable by throwing more money at it, it's solvable by forcing economists to learn physics and maths.
hard2grep
4 / 5 (5) Aug 22, 2011
The LHC is an answer to a question. Is the standard model (explanation) correct? By building the machine and running it, we get a yes or no answer. I really hope we pin the tail on the donkey this time. Without that magical field, physics goes strange. I would rather have the Higgs and no real answer for anti-gravity stuff than an answer I do not comprehend.
StarGazer2011
2 / 5 (11) Aug 23, 2011
should be interesting if the standard model turns out to have as much correlation to reality as climate science :)
Of course being actual scientists, the physicists will create a new theory and model which will be better than the old one rather than try to hide evidence of the failure of the model.
JIMBO
2.5 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2011
I think its crystal clear that the amount of BS in scientific reporting is Off The Scale, & is only getting worse. Higgsy Will be found at approx. 123 Gev = 2pi*alpha^8*Mp, where alpha is the fines structure constant, & Mp is the reduced Planck mass.
Keep the faith !
Pete1983
5 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2011
@JIMBO - I love the idea of calling it Higgsy.

"Wanted by physicists all over the world. 'Higgsy', is thought to be still at large, and hiding somewhere around 123Gev."

"We don't want to cause unecessary panic, but the public should know that Higgsy could be everywhere, and you should not let your guard down."

Ah fun.
DarkHorse66
2.8 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2011
Perhaps the 'error' might not be in the maths, but in the interpretation in the nature (particle) of the beast. (Just because it sounds like a duck doesn't mean that it is one. After all, even the animal kingdom is a master at producing mimics, copycats and camouflage artists. The animal making the sound could well be another bird that is capable of mimicking other sounds.) Truth is, we are INFERRING that this is a particle, because we are following a certain set of rules to analyse the maths. Unfortunately there are no formulae for coming up with the accompanying bumper sticker: "I am definitely a particle" or "I behave like a particle, but I'm actually not one".
Alternatively: "Just because something has highly elastic properties, it doesn't automatically mean that it's a rubber band."
Having said that, I'm not sure exactly WHAT Higgsy is :) , but have an open mind. I'm just going to wait and see.
SOMETHING is at the source of mass.
Pete1983
5 / 5 (2) Aug 23, 2011
@DarkHorse66 - Completely agree, although I'm wondering whether we can even call it particle physics anymore anyway. I mean, as soon as you go quantum, it seems to me to be duality all the way. Wave check... but particle check... I'm beginning to think that "particle" and "wave" aren't even right anymore and we should just call it a big bunch of maths (at least for the meantime until we can interpret it).

Personally I like a multiverse interpretation, purely in the hopes of a universe where firefly wasn't cancelled... but that's just me.

Also in regards to you're mentioning inferring as well, again, full agreement, but until one is an expert in QCD, I don't think we can really comment. Reality is wonderfully weird.

Only just beginning study of QCD btw, unbelievably fun stuff, but yeah, reality wiggles a LOT, and it will be a few hundreds of years before we get this licked to the point that it makes any sense at all.
Crackpot
1 / 5 (1) Aug 23, 2011
The Standard Model has become very complex, and still not adequate! I wonder if other, simpler models would have a fairer chance to be put to test if not so much effort, money and prestige were already invested in the SM...

I would like to see "the neoclassical atom" being scrutinized... (http://classicala...pot.com)
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Aug 23, 2011
In physics proving a negative is as important as showing the existence of something. So whether they find the Higgs or not: From physics' point of view it's a win-win situation.

Do we need a big revolution if the Higgs doesn't turn up? Maybe not. The standard model is doing pretty good in all other aspects so we shouldn't hastily abandon all it tells us.

It may be just like with Newtonian gravity and Einsteinian spacetime: The former (while wrong) is a good approximation of the latter for non-extreme cases. The standard model may simply be a good approximation for an underlying principle.
Noumenon
4.6 / 5 (50) Aug 23, 2011
@flashgordon, Why did you rate me a one for asking a question? I don't care about ratings, but curious what motivates people.

PhysOrg should really get rid of the ratings already.
anadish
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
Remember a little voice who always said you find the solution to gravity and mass elsewhere? Rumpelestitlskin or Anadish? Who was he?
ant_oacute_nio354
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 23, 2011
The mass is the electric dipole moment!
Higgs doesn't exist.

Antonio Saraiva
Callippo
1 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2011
It's not just the waste of money, but the ignorance of more insightful opinions and the care about continuity of salary and jobs, what drives the neverending search for Higgs, gravitational waves and another artifacts. I'd tolerate it, if the same guys didn't fight against really useful findings, like the cold fusion. These modern alchemists are really pests of human society.
Callippo
1 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2011
In aether model the Higgs bosons correspond the tiny density fluctuations of underwater, which are dispersing surface ripples. Such a ripples are spreading like vortices, after then and they're gaining a rest mass. Unfortunately, we cannot observe these fluctuations just with surface waves: the smaller waves we use for observation, the smaller density fluctuations we get. The Higgs mechanism is scale invariant, which means, the same mechanism is responsible for dark matter, Cassimir force or Yukawa coupling. At all cases it manifests with gluing of particles at certain scale and increasing the mass of bosons, which are mediating their interactions. But it has no definite mass or size.

What's worse, with increasing distance from human observer size the things become fuzzy like the landscape under the fog. It applies both to the cosmological scale, both the quantum scale. This noise gives the Higgs boson the ambivalent character of fermions, too.
Callippo
1 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 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 this 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.

Even if we would find some Higgs for most massive particles observable, the indicia of fourth generation of quark and neutrinos would force us to assign new generations of Higgs boson for them too.
Pete1983
5 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2011
It's not just the waste of money, but the ignorance of more insightful opinions and the care about continuity of salary and jobs


I'm sorry but this is a meme I see all the time and it's pretty ridiculous really. This stems from the capitalist ideal that you only do what you're paid to do, and thats it. It's been shown that this isn't the case, and this is in fact only true in truly menial jobs.

We're not talking about a "league of scientists" that only want to see scientific advances in the way they want them to happen. I think you'd struggle to find any scientist that isn't excited about the prospect of cold fusion, and also dissapointed that it hasn't worked out for us the way we'd hoped.
Pete1983
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
The mass is the electric dipole moment!
Higgs doesn't exist.

Antonio Saraiva


Only just started studying QCD myself... and from all I can currently understand, I completely agree. However people who have been working on this for a while say Higgsy is hiding around somewhere. They might still find him.
Noumenon
4.6 / 5 (48) Aug 24, 2011
This stems from the capitalist ideal that you only do what you're paid to do, and thats it.


While I agree with the point of your post,.. in this sentence, you make no sense at all.
Yes
1 / 5 (3) Aug 24, 2011
I said this before:

There ain't such thing as a Higgs Boson.
I think that this farce is described in the bible: Daniel 2:31
Pete1983
5 / 5 (1) Aug 24, 2011
This stems from the capitalist ideal that you only do what you're paid to do, and thats it.


While I agree with the point of your post,.. in this sentence, you make no sense at all.


Sorry, it gets tricky to fit everything into the space provided by physorg, and that scentence did indeed not make much sense. I'm basically referencing the idea of correct pay for ones job, and that higher paid people are actually "working" harder, something that was proven wrong by a study commissioned by the Federal Reserve in America. I can't remember the exact details, but basically more pay only makes you work harder in menial jobs, whereas any job that requires thinking results in no performance increase for higher pay...
Pete1983
5 / 5 (1) Aug 24, 2011
I said this before:

There ain't such thing as a Higgs Boson.
I think that this farce is described in the bible: Daniel 2:31


Ok, I'll bite, how is this:
"Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statuean enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance."

in any way relevant? I mean, ignoring the fact that your referencing a fairy tale in relation to advanced particle physics, there is just no way you could interpret the above as being related at all.
Yes
3 / 5 (2) Aug 25, 2011
Thanks for biting
Of course you must continue reading.
its head is of good gold, its breasts and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass; its legs of iron, its feet, part of them of iron, and part of them of clay.
The statue is the particle physics. Now everything stands on this Higgs Boson. If it does not exist the whole statue will drop, it doesn't matter that everything above it looks so good and solid and promising. If the base sucks, we are in trouble.
For now all the particle theory is like religion.
Until we see the Boson of course.
Pete1983
not rated yet Aug 25, 2011
Thanks for biting
Of course you must continue reading.
its head is of good gold, its breasts and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass; its legs of iron, its feet, part of them of iron, and part of them of clay.
The statue is the particle physics. Now everything stands on this Higgs Boson. If it does not exist the whole statue will drop, it doesn't matter that everything above it looks so good and solid and promising. If the base sucks, we are in trouble.
For now all the particle theory is like religion.
Until we see the Boson of course.


So I guess your on the side of God being a space alien and "heaven" is in fact his space ship?

I'd say it's unlikely, but it's significantly more likely than the normal Christian view of God, I'll give you that.