Particle physicists report 'intriguing hints' of Higgs Boson

Dec 14, 2011 By Ben P. Stein
Real CMS proton-proton collision events in which 4 high energy muons (red lines) are observed. The event shows characteristics expected from the decay of a Higgs boson but is also consistent with background Standard Model physics processes. Credit: Copyright: 2011 CERN

Yesterday physicists in Europe reported possible signs of the Higgs boson, a missing piece in the particle-physics puzzle long suspected of giving elementary particles -- such as electrons and quarks -- their mass.

Reporting the latest analysis of collision debris from the world's highest-energy particle smasher, the researchers do not have enough data to declare a discovery -- another round of next year should produce more answers -- but they gave a likely range for the Higgs if it exists. Researchers presented their results in a webcast and widely watched seminar from , the European Organization for , in Geneva, Switzerland.

"The excitement is palpable, and there are an incredible number of extremely competent and brilliant people looking at the data," wrote Drew Baden, a University of Maryland professor of physics in an email to Inside Science . "If the Higgs is real, we will know for sure soon. But not on [this] Tuesday," wrote Baden, who belongs to one of the detector teams presenting today's results.

The would make up a Higgs field that permeates all of space.   Other particles, passing through it, would interact with the field to varying degrees, and that is how they would get their mass. Mass can be considered as a measure of inertia, or resistance to motion. An electron would interact with the Higgs field relatively weakly, and as a result would not experience as much resistance to its motion. A quark  would interact with the field more strongly, and its motion would experience greater resistance as it travelled through space. Photons, or particles of light, are massless and would not interact directly with the field at all.

Buried hundreds of feet below ground on the Swiss-France border, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN accelerates protons to the highest energies they have achieved to date. Physicists have produced multitudes of proton-proton collisions at these record-high energies since March 2010. When protons smash against each other, the collision creates a ball of energy from which new particles can form, including the Higgs boson. Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2, shows that matter and energy are interchangeable, so from the energy of the collision, massive new particles can be created.

The mass of the Higgs boson, if it exists, has been larger than what particle accelerators have been able to produce until recently. Present results at LHC, and earlier ones at the Tevatron accelerator at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, ruled out the existence of the Higgs in certain mass regions.

Researchers from two LHC detectors, known as ATLAS and CMS, presented new data at today's long-awaited seminar. Fabiola Giannoti, head of the ATLAS experiment, reported an excess of events from the collisions that may suggest the production and decay of the Higgs.

Giannoti reported that her team's data suggests that the most likely mass region for the Higgs lies between  about 116-130 gigaelectron volts, or  GeV, which corresponds very roughly to 116-130 times the mass of the hydrogen atom. She reported an excess of collision events at around 126 GeV, but could not conclusively declare a discovery. Guido Tonelli, spokesperson for the CMS experiment, also reported what he called "intriguing, tantalizing hints" of the particle. His team reported a most likely mass range for the Higgs at between 115-127 GeV, with their results most compatible with a mass of 124 GeV. Both teams do not have enough statistics to declare a discovery.

Together, these two groups have independently found intriguing collision events between 124 and 126 GeV, suggesting that the Higgs may have been produced at the LHC.

"I think it is significant that the two collaborations, analyzing independently of each other and with data from their quite different detectors, both see Higgs-like events in this same mass range," University of Maryland particle physics theorist Raman Sundrum, who is not part of either detector team, wrote to Inside Science shortly after the seminar ended. "If this holds up I think it would be a monumental scientific discovery and the result of Herculean and brilliant efforts."

However, all researchers emphasized that at this point there is still a chance that previously discovered particles, or background noise, may be responsible for their signals. Each group emphasized they found a relatively small number of interesting events in the mass ranges that they reported. Statistically, there are several chances in a thousand that the results are a fluke. More collision events can reduce these odds to the point that the researchers can reasonably conclude that they have discovered signs of the actual particle.

Named after Peter Higgs, one of the theorists who postulated it in 1964, the Higgs boson would prevent a breakdown of the Standard Model of . One of the most successful theories in the history of science, the Standard Model describes three fundamental forces -- electromagnetism, the weak and strong nuclear forces -- as well as the menagerie of known particles in the universe, from quarks and electrons to photons and neutrinos. Without the Higgs, the model would be unable to explain important differences between the forces and why some particles have mass and others are massless. 

However physicists would view a conclusive detection of the Higgs as the beginning, and not the end, of an era of discovery. Just as Einstein's general theory of relativity incorporated all the predictions of Newton's original theory of gravity but enabled predictions of new things such as black holes, the Standard Model, fortified by a Higgs boson that has been proven to exist could lead to more advanced theories, as well as new physics.

"We do not know where its further careful study will lead," wrote Sundrum. "We are just at the beginning of the journey."

The larger theory known as supersymmetry calls for the existence of "superpartner" particles that would accompany all known particles. String theory, an even more elaborate description of nature, says the fundamental building blocks of the cosmos are not particles such as electrons but that even result from vibrating strings and other objects such as membranes that are far too small for current scientific instruments to detect. 

Still, Sundrum cautions against reading too much into today's results. He said that the news does not rule out the possibility that the could actually be a class of particles. And they also don't validate new physics theories such as the supersymmetry model.

"The best evidence for supersymmetry would be detection of super-particles themselves," wrote Sundrum.

After today's announcement, physicists are reserving judgment, saying that the data is chiseling away the possibilities of where the Higgs may be located.

More collisions are likely to settle the question.

"There's nothing conclusive we can say right now," said Baden.  "If all goes well we will likely have a conclusive result by this time next year."

Explore further: How cloud chambers revealed subatomic particles

Source: Inside Science News Service

4.5 /5 (11 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New experiments constrain Higgs mass (w/Videos)

Mar 13, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The territory where the Higgs boson may be found continues to shrink. The latest analysis of data from the CDF and DZero collider experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermilab now ...

Endgame for the Higgs Boson

Sep 14, 2011

The last missing piece of scientists’ fundamental model of particle physics is running out of places to hide.

The hunt for the Higgs steps up a gear

Aug 28, 2008

The hunt for the Higgs boson, the most highly sought-after particle in physics, received a boost this month with the release of two new results from the Tevatron particle collider at the US Department of Energy's ...

LHC experiments eliminate more Higgs hiding spots (Update)

Aug 22, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Two experimental collaborations at the Large Hadron Collider, located at CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, announced today that they have significantly narrowed the mass region in which the Higgs ...

Recommended for you

How cloud chambers revealed subatomic particles

1 hour ago

Atoms are made of electrons, protons and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are in turn made up of quarks. These are just some of the elementary particles that make up the foundation of modern particle physics. ...

When a doughnut becomes an apple

2 hours ago

In experiments using the wonder material graphene, ETH researchers have been able to demonstrate a phenomenon predicted by a Russian physicist more than 50 years ago. They analyzed a layer structure that ...

Uncovering the forbidden side of molecules

Sep 21, 2014

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have succeeded in observing the "forbidden" infrared spectrum of a charged molecule for the first time. These extremely weak spectra offer perspectives ...

User comments : 27

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

vidyunmaya
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 14, 2011
Cosmology needs best of brains trust.
Necessity-Demand :east west interaction
Cosmic Dance of Lord SIVA is an interface.
Mis-conceptions, Chaotic state or ambiguity boomerangs
rawa1
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 14, 2011
This is how this evidence really appears http://www.aether...cale.gif http://www.aether...nels.gif If only cold fusion findings would be accepted with such an impatience...
Turritopsis
3 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2011
Forcing two atomic nuclei together increases energy density. Density directly relates to temperature. Fusion is a hot event. Cold fusion is a myth.

You can manipulate the conditions to lower the input force required to initiate fusion but fusion requires extreme heat to weaken the resistive force of atomic nuclei.

For fusion to take place two nuclei must directly collide with one another. The em energy of atoms causes them to deflect one another. The closer to the atomic nuclei another atomic nuclei gets the higher the force of resistance. You must literally ionize atoms into a plasmic state before fusion can occur.

You can't create plasma at cold temperatures. You can't fuse two atoms without increasing their density. Density is temperature.

Fusion is always a hot event.
leonardofolsneslea
1 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2011
Above my own Photon Theory, I think a continuous list of particles including fusion products (these processes are indeed HOT in there in the LHC collider) are bound to fail as electron with photon should be almost impossible to make and various other "unnatural" fusion products (also inlcuded in the Table of Elements, above, let's say 105?)! More is coming (hoping to include, finally some questions to BBC Have Your Say)! Cheers!
leonardofolsneslea
1 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2011
BBC Have Your Say: So the latest observation, reading about the Higgs' Field, is that the Higgs' Field breaks with the nature of (outer) space as the best vacuum there is in the Universe (unless one has by now, produced a better one on Earth). Rather, one can argue that photons by nature/"design" travel at that speed because that's what photons do and are capable of, much like recording the (running) speed of a jaguar, an animal, after its prey!
Is it really necessary to have the Higgs-Boson to explain mass? Why can't ordinary particles have mass simply by property, that is, mass is part of their nature?
BBC World Have Your Say Here's a Q and A on the Higgs Boson: [url]
And isn't "Technicolour" a blow in the air?
Wasn't the intention in the first place (by 3,5 TeV/7 TeV) to smash these pieces smaller? So that the Protons would be split to smaller bits? Then CERN presents masses on 125 GeV? What? (1/2 hopefully.)
Callippo
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 14, 2011
Forcing two atomic nuclei together increases energy density. Density directly relates to temperature. Fusion is a hot event. Cold fusion is a myth.
Nope, it's valid only when naked atom nuclei are considered. At the case of proton colliding with nickel atom the proton is not only repelled with nickel nuclei, but attracted with all electrons surrounding the atom nucleus too. So there exists a net force, which allows the proton to come closer to the atom nucleus, than it would correspond the temperature given. It means, there is a balance of attractive and repulsive forces, which may lead to the resonance under certain range of conditions. In such case the proton could get such an amplitude, which would throw it into nickel nuclei periodically, so that the cold fusion can take place even at low temperature.
leonardofolsneslea
1 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2011
Posted to News 4 Jax God-particle-coming-into-focus - 475880/5346918 - 1js680z index - html in relation to "Gravity" _forces_ are a whole different thing than energy by photons! Forces are given by a kind of smashing force, popularly speaking and this hinges on to the extent of this "Technicolour" set-up! You can't make "forces hop out the hat" like that! To look for forces is "to look for a car _in motion_"! (Or a photon in motion...) This "forces talk" is therefore doomed to fail as well!
To summarise the masses: Higgs Boson is suggested to 125 GeV(/c(2)), Proton 938.272046(21) MeV(/c2), W boson, 80.398±0.023 GeV/c2, Z boson, 91.1876±0.0021 GeV/c2 and (finally) the Up quark 1.7 - 3.1 MeV/c2! Good? -> then the questions... You find more on the eV (mass) values on Wikip.!
Callippo
2 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2011
For example, the people fear of wild animals and the wild animals fear of people, so they're both repelled mutually. But if you surround your home with food, this food will attract wild animals, so they can get into close contact with humans occasionally. This is probably the way, in which domestication of first animals happened.
leonardofolsneslea
2.3 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2011
So the last message (don't shoot!): The forces issue in physics is really a meeting here of classical physics and these nuclear physics (all including string theory and quantum mechanics). All this has been under hard debate concerning the divide between classical physics and "new" physics and how to make it all come together! This merger or unifying work in physics should keep everyone interested occupied (with good, hard challenges) for a very long time! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (iff. this is relevant)!
leonardofolsneslea
1 / 5 (3) Dec 14, 2011
Callippo, I have studied Philosophy of Science and I have provided an _analogy_ to a question in hand. I'm sorry you fail to see this (and that you may experience problems with the "energies out there in nature, so to speak")! Besides, your comment has no relevance to this link, you clever boy! Also, with such a 10-minute-email address by klzlk.com, you seem to be very faceless for your idiot words!
El_Nose
5 / 5 (1) Dec 15, 2011
@leonardofolsneslea

i know Callippo might be so compelling you lost the train of thought that started his comments -- go back and look -- it'sokay we'll wait -- Turritopsis posted right before, well seven hours, you did, so if you read what he wrote you can clearly see that Callippo is responding to the earlier comment.

and Callippo clearly believes in the ecat -- i hope its true but not holding my breath - but i am scouring the web weekly to keep up to date.

and rawa i know where you got those slieds from -- they were part of the CERN presentation this week... no matter who renamed them go to slashdot.com and look over the LHC article that was posted - follow the links and download the two slide shows 13MB each... those slides are in there.
NMvoiceofreason
2.5 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2011
@leonardofolsneslea
"Is it really necessary to have the Higgs-Boson to explain mass? Why can't ordinary particles have mass simply by property, that is, mass is part of their nature?"

Without the Higgs field, and the Higgs Boson, there is no way to "backfit" mass into the equations of the Standard Model. We know the Standard Model works, to over 17 digits of precision.

The problem is having a sufficient mathematical description of the nature of particles that explains how they get their mass. Higgs explains some electroweak stuff that goes off the rails if it doesn't exist, so at least that part of the Higgs model must be correct.

Further, there is no explanation of mass changing particles (like neutrinos) that vary in their mass. So it is important to have a mathematical description of how particles obtain and lose mass.

The problem is that the Higgs isn't it.
Doschx
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 15, 2011
some serial ratist came through and 1'd all of y'all.
AmritSorli
1 / 5 (1) Dec 15, 2011
Mass is an energy form of quantum vacuum in symmetry with diminished energy density of quantum vacuum. Presence of mass diminishes energy density of quantum vacuum respectively to the energy of a given mass. A given particle with a mass diminishes energy density of quantum vacuum, mass-less particle does not diminish energy of quantum vacuum. In order to explain mass of elementary particles this view does not require existence of the hypothetical boson of Higgs.

rawa1
1 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2011
Without the Higgs field, and the Higgs Boson, there is no way to "backfit" mass into the equations of the Standard Model.
Exactly the opposite is the true. Standard Model cannot predict the mass of Higgs model, so it cannot put it into any equation and use it for additional predictions: every possible value is correct. During time, Higgs boson mass was guessed from 109 -12 GeV to 760 -21 GeV, plus two unconventional theories with 1900 GeV and 1018 GeV. Well known hierarchy 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.

http://physicswor...nt/11353

There are so many comparably likely models - most of which contain continuous parameters whose values aren't calculable right now - that the whole interval is covered almost uniformly.

http://arxiv.org/...44v6.pdf
rawa1
1 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2011
In my opinion the fuzzy behaviour of Standard Model regarding the Higgs boson mass predictions isn't bug but a feature, as it indicates, the Higgs field is of "unparticle" nature: something like the fractal clouds on the sky. These clouds are inhomogeneous too, so they can provide a robust mechanism for spontaneous symmetry breaking, but they're still random enough to exhibit only weak peaks at the power spectrum. There is actually many collisions at LHC, which lead to the symmetric decays, but the physicists all ignore them, they're just looking if they're more intensive at some part of energy spectrum.

IMO Higgs field is just a high energy density analogy of the CMBR noise at the quantum scale: this CMBR noise exhibits quite pronounced power spectrum with many peaks too, but without some distinct particles responsible for it.

http://th.physik....trum.png
rawa1
1 / 5 (3) Dec 15, 2011
In dense aether model the space-time is modelled with water surface: the time dimension is perpendicular to the water surface. The light waves correspond the transverse waves in this analogy. The dimensional scale for their spreading is limited with dispersion at both ends: the tiny ripples are dispersing with Brownian noise, whereas these large ones are dispersing into longitudinal waves at distance. The point is, the geometry of these fluctuations is self-similar: they can be modelled with system of dense packed hyperspheres, which leads into dodecahedral geometry of density fluctuations. At the case of CMBR this geometry can be observed like the peaks at the power spectrum of CMBR field.

http://physicswor...ws/18368

My assumption is, the same feature should be observable at the power spectrum of particle collisions, attributed to Higgs field. IMO Higgs field is simply extremely miniaturized version of dark matter foam, which reflects the symmetry of Universe.
leonardofolsneslea
1 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2011
You may want to check out Slashdot org under "LHC Homes In On Possible Higgs Boson Around 126GeV", message nr. 207, and The Kill List and the Photon Theory that's added there for all the virtues they can present... Enjoy! You know, the whole thing, the "split time-units after Big Bang", the "supersymmetry" on this basis, the "symmetry" and "symmetry break and the rest", it's... *for you to decide* (incl. other mysteries of this kind)! So therefore, at this point I don't go into that, but I admit that speculation is fun and it's going to be exciting to see how the map of science develops! Cheers!
Callippo
3 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2011
Whereas theorists (the stringy ones in particular) are already convinced with success, the experimentally oriented physicists are still cautious and sniffing carefully http://www.quantu...like-one
Pirouette
1 / 5 (2) Dec 18, 2011
Forcing two atomic nuclei together increases energy density. Density directly relates to temperature. Fusion is a hot event. Cold fusion is a myth.

Callippo says:
Nope, it's valid only when naked atom nuclei are considered. At the case of proton colliding with nickel atom the proton is not only repelled with nickel nuclei, but attracted with all electrons surrounding the atom nucleus too. So there exists a net force, which allows the proton to come closer to the atom nucleus, than it would correspond the temperature given. It means, there is a balance of attractive and repulsive forces, which may lead to the resonance under certain range of conditions. In such case the proton could get such an amplitude, which would throw it into nickel nuclei periodically, so that the cold fusion can take place even at low temperature.

@Callippo. . .forgive my asking because I don't know the terminology, equations and everything else involved, (cont'd)
Pirouette
1 / 5 (3) Dec 19, 2011
but what you seem to be describing with your Cold Fusion, is a "pendulum effect", with the proton going back and forth between the nickel nuclei, and the electrons. . .somewhat like a metronome or the pendulum in a grandfather clock. Am I wrong in this that the process produces heat? If that's the case, how does it happen?
My apologies to everyone else, but I am interested in the possibility of Cold Fusion as a safe alternative to fossil fuels. Callippo may be wrong, but it might work after all. Nobody knows yet.
leonardofolsneslea
not rated yet Dec 19, 2011
If we could only make ITER by Cadarache work first! Cold fusion is a bit off... :-)
bluehigh
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 19, 2011
Nobody knows yet.
- Pirouette

Many people know that "Cold Fusion' exists. It is though, a matter for society to deal with the consequences of implementation. A significant part of the world economy is fossil fuel dependent, including many millions of jobs. The challenge is to avoid destroying the current economic system, so as to permit the introduction of energy alternatives. Wind, wave and solar power don't constitute a threat because they are not viable alternatives. 'Cold Fusion' on the other hand could wipe out a significant slice of big corporations and wealthy capitalists. Do you believe they are going to let that happen?

When laws are introduced to stop home based 'Cold Fusion' production (safety grounds maybe) and allow the greedy to continue to rob us, then viable energy alternatives might become available.

In the meantime ... it doesn't work.
Callippo
3 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2011
Am I wrong in this that the process produces heat? If that's the case, how does it happen?
The heat doesn't occur because of these undulations, but because the proton merges with the atom nuclei. It's analogy of electron K-capture, just the hydride anion is involved there instead of electron. http://en.wikiped..._capture
Pirouette
1 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2011
Nobody knows yet.
- Pirouette

Many people know that "Cold Fusion' exists. It is though, a matter for society to deal with the consequences of implementation. A significant part of the world economy is fossil fuel dependent, including many millions of jobs. The challenge is to avoid destroying the current economic system, so as to permit the introduction of energy alternatives. Wind, wave and solar power don't constitute a threat because they are not viable alternatives. 'Cold Fusion' on the other hand could wipe out a significant slice of big corporations and wealthy capitalists. Do you believe they are going to let that happen?

When laws are introduced to stop home based 'Cold Fusion' production (safety grounds maybe) and allow the greedy to continue to rob us, then viable energy alternatives might become available.

In the meantime ... it doesn't work.


@bluehigh. . .thanks for reminding m of the present oil, coal and gas fat cats.
Pirouette
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 19, 2011
With all that in mind, and the fact that Obama (and other world leaders) are supposedly against fossil fuels but exact a major source of revenue through taxes from their use. . . and successful people who are spreading around money from the drilling, digging and fracking to other people whose lives are made more meaningful from the earning and acquiring of that money. . . . makes me wonder if Obama, et al, could possibly put their (our) money where their mouth is and invest in a dark horse such as Cold Fusion. . .with taxpayer money, of course.
If someone says, "pretty please", a good deal of it being sincere. . .perhaps Obama, et al, would consider the weighing of differences and values between fossil fuels, the potential of a tried but largely unproven Cold Fusion technology, and a cumbersome windmill technology and an off and on technology of Solar Power. A strongly suggestive open letter to Obama might help to bring about a new intervention to stimulate funding for C.F. testing.
Callippo
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 19, 2011
@Pirouette: this strategy exists already http://pesn.com/2...America/

I'd strongly urge all responsible people of all countries to promote the cold fusion research by all means possible at all communal levels achievable. Or we would face the real troubles in near future, including the deep economical crisis and the perspective of nuclear war confrontation. The people should learn from Great Depression and the social inequilibrium, which escalated into WWW II. The wars aren't unavoidable, just the civilization must become sufficiently conscious and self-aware at the global level. Currently we are rather behaving like clueless particles of gas.