Understanding what's up with the Higgs boson

Jun 28, 2012 by Paul Preuss
A simulation of the two-photon channel shows what ATLAS sees when the decay of a Higgs boson results in the production of two gamma rays. The blue beads indicate intermediate massive particles, and the bright green rods are the gamma-ray tracks. While the two-photon channel is the least likely Higgs decay, it is easier to observe than others with even noisier backgrounds.

(Phys.org) -- CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, will hold a seminar early in the morning on July 4 to announce the latest results from ATLAS and CMS, two major experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) that are searching for the Higgs boson. Both experimental teams are working down to the wire to finish analyzing their data, and to determine exactly what can be said about what they've found.

"We do not yet know what will be shown on July 4th," says Ian Hinchliffe, a in the Physics Division at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), who heads the Lab's participation in the . "I have seen many conjectures on the blogs about what will be shown: these are idle speculation. Things are moving very fast this week, and it's an exciting time at . Many years of hard work are coming to fruition."

Last December, not long after the had shut down for the winter, ATLAS and CMS both reported slight excesses over background of two kinds of signals consistent with the expected signature of a . The LHC started running again at a higher energy this spring, and, says Hinchliffe, "In that short time we've already doubled the data. But even if both experiments were to confirm what they saw last year with new data, no one can be certain that it is the Higgs."

Why can't they know? And what's a Higgs boson anyway?

Why particles have mass

A Higgs boson is an – a fleeting, grainy representation – of the Higgs field, which extends throughout space and gives all other particles their mass.

At the instant of the big bang, everything was the same as everything else, a state of symmetry that lasted no time and was immediately broken. Particles of matter called fermions emerged from the sea of energy (mass and energy being interchangeable), including quarks and electrons that would much later form atoms. Along with them came force-carrying particles called bosons to rule how they all were related. All had different masses – sometimes wildly different masses.

Using the concepts of a Higgs field and Higgs boson, the explains why quarks, protons, electrons, photons, and a wide-ranging zoo of other particles have the specific masses they do. Oddly, however, the Standard Model can't predict the mass of the Higgs itself. That will only be learned from experiment.

Understanding what's up with the Higgs boson
ATLAS’s innermost detector consists of three barrels, the diameter of the outermost equalling 24 centimeters (less than 10 inches), plus three disks; 80 million pixels cover an area of 1.7 square meters (18 square feet). Particle tracks are followed through three layers of pixels, initiating precise measurement of each event.

It will be far from simple to know when the Higgs has actually been found. Any particle that packs as much energy as the Higgs lasts only a miniscule fraction of a second before it falls apart into other particles, each with lower energy, and these fall apart into still lower-energy particles, finally leaving a set that ATLAS or CMS can see or infer. According to the Standard Model, the Higgs can decay by half a dozen different patterns of tracks, or channels.

The probability of each path varies. For example, there's a low probability that a Higgs with mass equivalent to 100 billion electron volts (100 GeV) of energy would decay into a pair of W bosons, carriers of the weak interaction. Yet if its mass were 170 GeV, the probability of its decaying by that channel would be very high.

But earlier measurements, including those made last year at the LHC and at Fermilab's Tevatron, have already excluded many possible masses for a Standard Model Higgs. Of the narrowing possibilities, the hints that ATLAS and CMS saw in 2011 were in the neighborhood of 125 or 126 GeV.

The two channels involved, called the two-photon channel and the four-lepton channel for short, are certainly not the most likely decay routes, says Beate Heinemann of Berkeley Lab's Physics Division, who is also a professor in UC Berkeley's Department of Physics. "The probability that a 125-GeV Higgs would decay into two gamma rays is about two tenths of one percent, and the likelihood that it would decay into four muons or electrons is even smaller."

Finding the music in the noise

Background noise is the key. Even though the two-photon and four-lepton channels have a low probability, they are relatively free of noise from particle debris that obscures evidence of other channels. More probable routes for the decay of a Higgs with mass near 125 GeV would be to a bottom quark and antibottom quark, or a pair of W bosons, or a pair of tau particles, but all these are much harder to detect.

Heinemann, recently the Data Preparation Coordinator for ATLAS, says knowing what to look for is crucial. "Bunches of protons cross through each other 20 million times a second inside the ATLAS detector, with an average of 20 collisions at each crossing." Electronic filters automatically cull the events to 100,000 per second of possible interest. Sophisticated software further reduces the cull to a few hundred events per second that are recorded and stored for later study. Says Heinemann, "We try to keep everything anyone can think of that might be interesting."

The products of data reduction are colorful diagrams of spectacular sprays of particles from proton-proton collisions, recorded by the concentric layers of detectors that ATLAS wraps around the beam line. What makes the diagrams so intricate and precise begins in the Inner Detector, largely designed and built at Berkeley Lab, as was much of the filtering and sifting hardware and software.

"The LHC produces far more particles per collision than any accelerator before it. Not confusing them requires finer granularity and finer resolution, which means many more detector elements close to the beam," says Murdock "Gil" Gilchriese, who headed the Berkeley Lab group that worked on the ATLAS Inner Detector.

The very heart of ATLAS is a pixel detector consisting of 80 million tiny silicon rectangles 50 microns (millionths of a meter) wide and 400 microns long, each connected to its own electronics – many millions of transistors bathed in the most intense radiation an accelerator has ever produced.

At CERN, U.S. participation in the ATLAS and CMS experiments alone numbers well over 1,500 people, not to mention significant U.S. contributions to other experiments and the accelerator itself. Fermilab hosts the U.S. participation in CMS, and Brookhaven National Laboratory is the U.S. host for ATLAS.

"About 20 percent of the ATLAS collaboration comes from the U.S.," says Heinemann, "and one of the largest contingents is from Berkeley Lab, many of us in key positions. For example, Kevin Einsweiler, who led the ATLAS pixel project, is currently ATLAS's Physics Coordinator, guiding analysis of the data. Michael Barnett has long held the post of Outreach Coordinator. At any given time we may also have 10 students and 10 postdocs working on . There are a lot of us, and much of the time many of us are on the job at CERN."

Whatever news comes out of CERN in the wee hours of the morning on July 4, hints and indications so far are just the beginning of the search to pin down the Higgs and learn its characteristics. The Higgs search commences a long voyage of discovery into a realm of unexplored physics, of supersymmetry, dark matter, miniature black holes, extra dimensions of space – and other, unanticipated wonders that defy prediction.

Explore further: First in-situ images of void collapse in explosives

More information: More about ATLAS is at atlas.ch/
Wikipedia's discussion of the Higgs is at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson

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Tangent2
1.8 / 5 (16) Jun 28, 2012
But even if both experiments were to confirm what they saw last year with new data, no one can be certain that it is the Higgs


Wasn't that the point of building this monstrous machine in the first place?
Archea
1.6 / 5 (32) Jun 28, 2012
The point of this machine was to provide the occupation for redundant HEP community, who lost its jobs with the end of cold war era and nuclear weapons development - as Michio Kaku recognized and named well. Now we have to build even larger machine for to keep there drones happy - it's as simple as it is.
Temple
5 / 5 (21) Jun 28, 2012
@Tangent2 "Wasn't that the point of building this monstrous machine in the first place?"

The history of science is replete with experiments designed to test hypotheses, but instead proved inconclusive.

Any experiment involves all manners of assumptions based on the current state of knowledge. When an experiment validates or invalidates a hypothesis or provides a null-result, it expands knowledge. Knowledge which opens new avenues to greater understanding.

The purpose of the LHC wasn't to find the Higgs, it was to give us access to the physics occurring at such extreme energies, an area that was purely theoretical before the LHC.

Not finding the Higgs at the energies theorized actually teaches us a great deal.

We're gathering real results upon which new theories can be built. That's what the LHC does, and that's what future 'Even Larger Hadron Colliders' will do.

The frontier of Science has always been filled with 'mistakes' or 'errors' (sometimes laughable). That's how we learn.
dschlink
4.9 / 5 (13) Jun 28, 2012
Simply put, if a confirmed signal exists at 125/6 GeV; then they will focus on that region and gather additional data. With enough data they can verify that it is the Higgs. Once you know there's a bear in the woods, not a lion, you can tailor your hunting techniques.
Archea
1.5 / 5 (17) Jun 28, 2012
The purpose of the LHC wasn't to find the Higgs
CERN physicists know about it better than you: "One of the major targets of the LHC program is the search for the SM Higgs boson"
Bowler_4007
4.2 / 5 (12) Jun 28, 2012
I agree with temple, we still haven't found Gravitons (if they exist), the Higgs may be one of the main reasons for it being built but it is certainly not the only reason
Archea
1.3 / 5 (13) Jun 28, 2012
The purpose of LHC was definitely NOT to find a graviton. Which must be clear for everyone, who at least pretends some interest about physics (BTW you were upvoted by Milou for it).
Bowler_4007
4.1 / 5 (9) Jun 28, 2012
Whoa hold your horses I didn't say or imply it was designed to find Gravitons, I used them as an example of yet unresolved science
Shamuss
3.5 / 5 (8) Jun 28, 2012
Good Afternoon powers-that-be,

Please immediately place Archea in control of all of the world's money and resources so that he may discern the best way to utilize them and maximize the scientific output of our world. If you need to locate him he is hiding out at physorg ranting about the uselessness of the current scientists and experiments.

p.s. nevermind, he just bitches for bitchings' sake..
Archea
1.2 / 5 (18) Jun 28, 2012
so that he may discern the best way to utilize them and maximize the scientific output of our world
Which human activity payed from public money doesn't need a public control? The twenty years standing denial of cold fusion at one side and waste of resources in search of Higgs and gravitational waves at the second one illustrates well the weakness of communistic approach and incompetence of mainstream science, physics in particular, whenever it gets out of public control. http://pesn.com/2..._Domino/
qitana
1.8 / 5 (12) Jun 28, 2012
The Higgs boson is in Africa, dying from hunger
javjav
3 / 5 (2) Jun 28, 2012
But even if both experiments were to confirm what they saw last year with new data, no one can be certain that it is the Higgs


Wasn't that the point of building this monstrous machine in the first place?


Yes, but that statement is just about what could be said in July. They expect to "fully" confirm or discard it (sigma 5) by the end of year.
dogbert
1.2 / 5 (17) Jun 28, 2012
We have spend massive amounts of money and time searching for something which probably does not exist.

I suspect better uses could be put to scarce resources.
Sean_W
2.3 / 5 (12) Jun 28, 2012
The Higgs boson is in Africa, dying from hunger

The only reason anyone is dying of hunger in Africa is that socialist god-kings are forcing dependence on them and blackmailing naive western donors. Science, art and wealth creation in the West has nothing to do with it.

Whether anyone should be allowed to take the wealth of westerners against their will and decide what science should be pursued with it is a separate question.
Archea
1 / 5 (11) Jun 28, 2012
I'm not against building of huge accelerators in cosmic space at the safe distance from Earth, where we could analyze the possible states of matter ad nauseum - but we should solve the economical, environmental and socio-political problems first. The happy life of all people - not just the scientists should be the priority here. The fact, we are dealing more and more with useless abstract problems into account of the really important findings indicates, the scientific activity is driven with people, who are already separated from actual needs of the rest of society. In essence, what we are doing is just another way of religious offering, ordered with priests of modern era for purposes, the meaning of whose remains unclear. The nonsensical character of such dealing becomes more and more apparent: we are serving the physicists, instead of vice-versa.
Sean_W
2 / 5 (6) Jun 28, 2012
We have spend massive amounts of money and time searching for something which probably does not exist.

I suspect better uses could be put to scarce resources.


What they are searching for is data about how matter and energy behave in a context which has never been explored by science before and will test limits of current physical theory. If the money was not being used for this it would likely be used to provide solar panels for penguins, museums dedicated to thimbles or grants to institutions of the perverted arts.
Archea
1.1 / 5 (12) Jun 28, 2012
If the money was not being used for this it would likely be used to provide solar panels for penguins, museums dedicated to thimbles or grants to institutions of the perverted arts.

Or even worse: for arms race and military actions. The question is therefore not to limit the money invested into research, but how to prioritize this research. Some prioritization indeed already exists, but it's adjusted in the way, which serves for the community of scientists, not for the rest of society. For every player of strategical games (like the Warcraft, AgeOfEmpires) it's well known, it has no meaning to invest the precious resources into research of items and features, which cannot be used in the given epoch of the game. Such way of strategical long-term thinking is essentially missing in the contemporary research. We simply need to introduce more science into redistribution of resources.
Archea
1 / 5 (11) Jun 28, 2012
I'm sure, if the mainstream physics wouldn't ignore the cold fusion findings before twenty years, it would got already the social prestige comparable to the success in construction of nuclear weapons before sixty years and the grant support sufficient for way more adventurous projects, than the LHC currently is. Its mediocre approach regarding the cold fusion finding actually served as a disservice not only for the rest of human society, but even for the physicists as such.
vacuum-mechanics
1 / 5 (7) Jun 28, 2012
A Higgs boson is an excitation a fleeting, grainy representation of the Higgs field, which extends throughout space and gives all other particles their mass.

By the way, it is interesting to note that why all particles need to get mass from Higgs field, and where Higgs field got its mass? May be something was misinterpreted and this unconventional view could give some hint.
http://www.vacuum...mid=9=en
Archea
1 / 5 (11) Jun 28, 2012
The reason of why Higgs field exists is essentially dual to the reason, why in general relativity the flat Universe cannot exist. The space must be always curved, or it couldn't exist at all. The water surface analogy of space-time demonstrates that every space, i.e. the path requiring some time for its passing must be composed of huge amount of tiny gradients, the overcoming of whose requires repetitive acceleration and deceleration. The cumulation of large amount of these gradients is what makes the traveling trough space so slow, i.e. the space so large. But the requirement of these gradients introduces the necessity of some intrinsic inhomogeneity of space-time, i.e. the presence of Brownian noise. Without Brownian noise the water surface is unthinkable and it couldn't be composed of particles. Well, and the Higgs field is the manifestation of this intrinsic inhomogeneity of the space-time at quantum scale. It principally doesn't differ from CMBR noise at the human distance scale.
flicktheswitch
5 / 5 (7) Jun 28, 2012
...but we should solve the economical, environmental and socio-political problems first.... - Archea

You are assuming three things erroneously:
1) That there are research efforts not already directly related to the issues you mention. False.
2) That you can turn high level physics research on and off worldwide like a faucet and the right resources just magically appear. A bit silly.
3) That pre-selection of certain areas of research (and exclusion of others) based on current knowledge/assumptions will provide the best resolution for the issues you mention... or even a single resolution for them. This is not how fundamental exploratory research works.

E.G.: If, for example, the LHC discovers fundamental science leading to effective free energy, you resolve multiple human issues at once, including all of those you mentioned and many more besides.

Are they specifically looking for that? No.
Will they find that anyway? Maybe.
That's the beauty of fundamental research.
Archea
1 / 5 (12) Jun 28, 2012
The Higgs field therefore manifests in the same way, like the CMBR field: with Yukawa force, which is low-dimensional analogy of Cassimir-Polder force at the microscopic scale and it's responsible for gluing of massive particles into pairs, for example for formation of top-quark pairs. The simplest way, how to detect the Higgs field is therefore the detection of particle pairs, i.e. symmetrical products of particle collisions occurring in particle accelerators. The main problem in interpretation of Higgs boson in this way is, in Standard Model it should manifest preferably with formation of heavier particle pairs rather than with production of gamma ray photons. It's because the massive particles exhibit more intensive Yukawa force than the lightweight ones. We know about dimers of top quarks, but not about dimers of up/down quarks. This is the introductory point of the characterization of LHC collision products as a Higgs boson compliant with Standard Model.
Archea
1 / 5 (10) Jun 28, 2012
IMO the most probable explanation of this controversy is in fact, the Standard Model is not complete yet and it allows the forth generation of particles: the superheavy quarks and neutrinos. The pairing of these particles in Higgs field is indeed the most intensive, but because these particles are extremely unstable, they decay directly into shower of gamma ray photons before they can be detected as such. Which is what we are observing by now: the excess of gamma photons pairs over the pions and muon pairs. Therefore the most systematic explanation in context of Standard Model would probably consist from introduction of the fourth mixing angle into Cabbibo matrix and from consideration of quark oscillations between third and fourth particle generation. To prove this model we should detect this oscillation first for example for neutrinos and maybe even for top quarks directly.
Temple
5 / 5 (7) Jun 28, 2012
Archea:
Temple:
The purpose of the LHC wasn't to find the Higgs
CERN physicists know about it better than you: "http://cdsweb.cer...102.pdf"


You hoist yourself on your own petard.

The pupose is indeed the search. Whether the Higgs is found or not is irrelevant, we learn either way.

Do you see the difference between searching for the Higgs and finding the Higgs?
Archea
1 / 5 (10) Jun 28, 2012
That there are research efforts not already directly related to the issues you mention
This is the same problem like with politicians, lawyers and bank managers. They're getting pretty expensive for human society - but they cannot be simply executed, because they're indispensable in certain extent. We cannot avoid whole the physical research, so we should accept some redundancy of it as a necessary evil. But it doesn't mean, we shouldn't attempt to minimize this evil whenever possible.

you can turn high level physics research on and off
Of course not, but I don't see the building of new generation of colliders perspective in context of utilization of their results outside of science. We should simply cut these projects in similar way, like the Americans scratched the SSC project before years. No animals were harmed during this and I'm sure, the HEP physicists will get enough time to transfer their interest into more perspective areas of research.
Archea
1 / 5 (11) Jun 28, 2012
If, for example, the LHC discovers fundamental science leading to effective free energy
It's impossible from simple reason: the LHC itself is everything but just free device. It's huge expensive energy consumer instead and to expect, it will lead to the finding of cheap widespread energy source is simply zero in such case. You cannot expect the accidental finding of frozen ice at the Sahara desert. The cheap widespread energy source must be searched in common everyday phenomena, like the hydrogenation of nickel or magnetostriction of solenoid core. If you would need the ten billion dollar collider for some accidental finding, then you can be sure, that this finding will not be accessible for normal people anyway.
Archea
1.3 / 5 (14) Jun 28, 2012
Whether the Higgs is found or not is irrelevant, we learn either way.
You don't need a crowd of qualified theorists for such trial-error approach after then. We are paying the theorists just for careful cost-effective planning of experiments. You're essentially saying, that the science is nothing more, than just random mutations and the useful solutions (like the cold fusion) are accepted just after when all thinkable alternative ways for their denial/ignorance are exhausted. Sorry, but after then I don't see any reason for why to pay some theorists at all: the empirical people like the Edison would be enough for it.
infiniteMadness
4 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
the purpose of LHC was to discover Teleportation, Time Travel, Spawning Black Holes with infinite energy pools, what The Big Bang 100% really is and what came before it and super conductivity with no side effects...it will all be revealed on July 4th and that date marks our rise as civilization from Type 0 to Type 1.
jsdarkdestruction
5 / 5 (6) Jun 29, 2012
I'm sure, if the mainstream physics wouldn't ignore the cold fusion findings before twenty years, it would got already the social prestige comparable to the success in construction of nuclear weapons before sixty years and the grant support sufficient for way more adventurous projects, than the LHC currently is. Its mediocre approach regarding the cold fusion finding actually served as a disservice not only for the rest of human society, but even for the physicists as such.

ahhh. now it makes sense. its another zephyr sockpuppet. not even worth refuting. i thought we had aqquired a new troll. zephyr, fuck off and stop polluting these articles with your babble. thank you.
AtlasT
1.3 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
not even worth refuting
Well - at the moment, when you have no relevant counterarguments, then every response is even undesirable, as it would increase the noise/signal ratio in this thread.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (7) Jun 29, 2012
zephyr, fuck off and stop polluting these articles with your babble. thank you.

He doesn't get it. Just like someone who gets repeatedly thrown out of his neighbors appartment for pissing on teh carpet he always comes back in and does it again.

The man must be the most annoying (and obtuse) person in real life.
frajo
5 / 5 (2) Jun 29, 2012
We have spend massive amounts of money and time searching for something which probably does not exist.
I suspect better uses could be put to scarce resources.

IF we end up knowing for sure that there is no Higgs boson and that the standard model is not anymore suitable to serve as standard
THEN we are a lot wiser and the money was well invested.
antialias_physorg
4.9 / 5 (8) Jun 29, 2012
For all those who think that all this data which has been generated (even if the Higgs is not found) doesn't teach us loads of stuff have no concept of how science works.

Get this through your heads (and I know I am going to recieve flak for this, but unless you have a counterargument your 'righteous anger' is misplaced):
Scientists are smarter than you. All of you. Every single one of them. If that weren't the case then you'd be doing science and not some shitty job (or posting out of your Mom's basement).

They are way more imaginative in how to render real information from data than you can imagine (it is impossible for dumber people to think how smarter people think - otherwise they wouldn't be 'dumber people').

Even NOT finding stuff that is expected is immeasurably valuable in coming up with new theories.
frajo
5 / 5 (3) Jun 29, 2012
The man must be the most annoying (and obtuse) person in real life.

He could be the attention whore side of a Jekyll & Hyde personality being the most inconspicuous and boring person in real life.
AtlasT
1 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
Scientists are smarter than you. All of you. Every single one of them.
Individually yes (I know about many aether proponents, even between Nobelists) - but as a community they failed with cold fusion and I'd expect, they will fail with Big Bang cosmology, gravitational waves and many other things. We shouldn't overestimate the culture of experts, just because they're an experts, i.e. specialists only. The point isn't, whether the scientists can get into correct conclusions, but whether they get into it faster, than with trial-error approach, i.e. when all other alternatives are exhausted. Because the physicists are motivated to keep their jobs and research positions as long as possible, they're not very motivated into seeking of correct solution in very fast way.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (8) Jun 29, 2012
but as a community they failed with cold fusion

There is no such thing as a 'science community' in the way you envision (like some cabal of intimately connected guys in white lab coats plotting world dominion)
There are individual research groups. Within a group you are fairly well connected. Then you have some personal connections to people in the field (these differ already for every one in your research group). And that's basically it when it comes to your research. You connect people as neede (e.g. if you read an paper and you want to include the algorithms but and don't fully understand it you call up the author).

Scientists can't fail "as a group" because they don't work "as a group" on any one subject. There are always several groups working on stuff (the more specialized the lower the number). But these groups work (with teh above exceptions) completely indpendently of one another.
ant_oacute_nio354
1 / 5 (3) Jun 29, 2012
The mass is the electric dipole moment.

Antonio Jose Saraiva
AtlasT
1 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
..there is no such thing as a 'science community' in the way you envision..
The decisions in science are the result of intersubjective opinion based on mediocracy. For example just the proponents of mainstream science like you argue often: but aether theory is considered disproved, the cold fusion is considered not working, the Heim theory is considered a fring theory. If the opinion of scientific community as a whole doesn't exist, who are you actually talking about? I can give you a number of individuals, who are scientists, but the believe in aether model, they do support the cold fusion or they're considering Heim theory working....

So when you're saying, scientists can't fail as a group, then you're actually saying, that the science as a whole has no testable opinion about aether model, steady-state universe model or cold fusion. After then I don't understand your problem with these models, theories and findings, if they don't contradict the science as a whole...;-)
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
The decisions in science are the result of intersubjective opinion based on mediocracy.

WHAT decisions? There is no 'decision making body' in science that tells research groups as a whole what to do. Not in fusion research, not in climate research and not in any other field of research.

What one researcher argues for (or against) on a purely personal/subjective level has no impact whatsoever on the decisions of any other group on how and on what to conduct their research. Irrespective of that person's standing.

So when you're saying, scientists can't fail as a group, then you're actually saying, that the science as a whole has no testable opinion about aether model

They also have no testable opinion on unicorn poo. And for teh very same reasons. Scientists look into stuff that is promising and not outright false from the word 'go' to anyone with a highschool school understanding of maths and physics.

AtlasT
1 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
.What one researcher argues for (or against) on a purely personal/subjective level has no impact whatsoever on the decisions of any other group on how and on what to conduct their research..
It seems, you're living at some remote planet with quite different research habits. For example, at the moment, when OPERA claimed superluminal neutrinos, then the ArXiv.org was suddenly full of explanations of this alleged phenomena. When OPERA retracted its stance, then everyone was surprised, how someone could ever consider such a nonsense... The most evident example was the cold fusion research: when Fleischmann & Pons announced their discovery, everyone tried to replicate it, when the negative results were published, no one attempted to replicate it anymore with exception of few convinced individuals. The number of peer-reviewed publications speaks for itself: every important finding is followed with bunch of followers.
AtlasT
1 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
The schematically thinking people like you have rather idealistic vision of reality - which is one of reasons, why I don't trust the experts in general: they're describing the reality in the way, which they want to see - not in the way, in which it does really exist.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
When OPERA retracted its stance, then everyone was surprised, how someone could ever consider such a nonsense...

The media were surprised. Scientists work with the data. They got data and tried to fit it with theories which could be tested. The data was shown to be flawed and so those theories collapsed. That's just how science goes sometimes. No one was berating anyone else in the scientific community for taking it seriously at first (because the OPERA guys DID show that they had excercised all due dilligence and double/triple checked before publishing)

when Fleischmann & Pons announced their discovery, everyone tried to replicate it, when the negative results were published, no one attempted to replicate it anymore

Exactly the same thing as above. When the initial experiment was shown to be false then it was laid to rest. That's why people try to replicate stuff in the first place: to double check.

If it doesn't check out it goes the way of the Dodo.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Jun 29, 2012
The number of peer-reviewed publications speaks for itself: every important finding is followed with bunch of followers.

Of course. If something interesting turns up scientists will try to work on it (buckyballs, graphene, whatever... even when cold fuson turned up they did that). So OF COURSE you get a lot of publications in that field. What else do you expect?

why I don't trust the experts in general: they're describing the reality in the way, which they want to see

If experts describe (independently of one another) reality the same way then that's historically a pretty good thing to go on. Certainly better than a non-expert making stuff up that doesn't fit with observation (cold fusion, dense aether, whetver else pet theory you have).

Experts are experts for a reason. They work on stuff. Or do you disregard the advice of your doctor because he's an expert and you're not - so your opinion automatically (by your twisted logic) MUST be closer to the truth?
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
Or do you disregard the advice of your doctor because he's an expert

Have you ever gotten a second and third opinion which differed from the advice given to you by the first doctor?

Since the article is of a physical nature:
[Physicists] are way more imaginative in how to render real information from data than you can imagine

That is the very problem at times. They are too imaginative. I can imagine the motion of stars within galaxies WITH or WITHOUT involving Dark Matter. I can imagine the rapid acceleration of stars around Sag A WITH or WITHOUT blackhole mechanics.

We don't know that Dark Matter exists, but that seems to be the prevailing theory right now. We don't know that Black holes exist, but that seems to be the prevailing theory right now.

We don't know that the Big Bang took place.

All of these theories are imagined by incorporating the limited data we have, and are investigated by search for supporting evidence.
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
It is like dreaming and within that dream investigating whether you are dreaming.

Then you begin flying. There is some supporting evidence that you are dreaming. But maybe this is reality, and you really can fly. Then you begin to investigate whether flying is possible in reality. But wait, how can you investigate whether flying is really possible if you are in an imaginative state?

There is no certainty in Science. We cannot objectively quantize Nature because we reside within it.
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
Consider this:
We are looking for the quotient of *a divided by *b. We define *b as a value approaching 0. Starting at 1 as the value for *b we get the quotient equalling *a. The closer *b gets to 0 the higher the quotient becomes. As the value for *b gets infinitesimally small, the quotient becomes infinitely large.

In Science there is no true answer. Just like *a divided by 0 has no answer. Science equals *a/0. Scientific research is the approach to truth, as precision increases (the closer we get to zero), the more information we gain. But no matter how much information we gain, the true answer doesn't emerge. There is no certainty, *a/0 is not something we can conclusively answer, the study of Nature doesn't yield the truth.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Jun 29, 2012
Have you ever gotten a second and third opinion which differed from the advice given to you by the first doctor?

Yes. But I have never had the hubris to tell a doctor that he doesn't know shit and I know what's making me sick better than him.
That is the very problem at times. They are too imaginative.

First you say they are too established. Now you say they are too imaginative. Make up your mind(s).
They are imaginative ABOUT how to get information out of hard data. That doesn't mean they 'imagine' (i.e. make up) the information that is there. There are very rigorous standards on what is information and what isn't. I'd urge you to check out the wikipedia page on information theory.

Information theory is "science 101". Without a full undertanding of that you can't even begin to argue about anything scientific.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Jun 29, 2012
There is no certainty in Science.

And no one who understands the least bit about science ever said there was. (Caveat: there is no POSITIVE certainty. But there are things you can be absolutely certain about taht they AREN'T. I.e. you can show that Newtonian gravity is NOT how gravity works or you can show that having a definite momentum and position (and hence determinism) is NOT a possibility.)

We are looking for the quotient of *a divided by *b.

Math is an abstract tool. Strictly speaking mathematics is not a science (as it is not falsifiable or testable). 'Truth' has also no place in science (for the above reasons).

You're just listing naive strawmen here. Please go to a site that explains to you what science is before you come here and read about the results science generates (certainly before you comment on any of it...that would save you a lot of grief and us a lot of crigeing at the contents of your posts).
Turritopsis
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 29, 2012
All scientific theories are conjecture.

In a court of law we have proof beyond a reasonable doubt (which in other words means the simplest scenario, Occams razor). There is no absolute proof.

When dealing with scientific data the same applies. The scientist interprets the data in the most simplistic of ways, to convince himself (and others) that the model he came up with (his theory) fits observation (data). Truth is there are an infinite number of possible models that can be conjured up that will have that same data fit. So we look for the simplest possible scenario, ie Occams razor (because we believe that Nature operates in the most simplistic of ways). But Nature is not confined to any such law. The Scientist gives a subjective interpretation of the objective reality, based upon personal beliefs and biases, no matter how hard he/she tries to keep objective.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Jun 29, 2012
All scientific results are conjecture.

Soß That does not mean that all are equally good or bad. Some conjectures fit well with observations and have good predictive value (big bang, dark matter, black holes). Others are bad conjectures that don't fit observable data (cold fusion, dense aether, astrology, ... )

Science is about what works. It's about using, at any one time, the best theories we have. Whether they are 'true' or not is completely irrelevant.

I think I can make a convincing case that no scientific theory CAN be shown to be ultimately true. But that doesn't mean that they cannot be immensely USEFUL - which is all science (and knowledge in general) is about.

The Scientist gives a subjective interpretation of the objective reality, based upon personal beliefs and biases,

Which is still infinitely better than what you advocate: Pulling unsubstantated theories out of your rear just becauser you like the sound of them.
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
Do you even understand Zephirs Dense Aether Model (DAM)? I don't. You continually dismiss it without any supporting evidence against it. That is unscientific.

The Michelson-Morley (M-M) experiment tested for an Aether wins blowing through the Universe.

I don't want to destroy the facts behind Zephirs theory, but from what I gather, the Aether is blowing perpendicular to our dimension. M-M showed there was no wind blowing parallel to our dimension. 

Consider our Universe as the x axis on a graph. M-M showed that there is no wind blowing from positive x to negative x or vice-versa.

Apologies in advance Zephir. In the DAM, the Aether wind is blowing across the x axis, going from positive y to negative y, or vice-versa. So crossing our dimension (our Universe).
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
Here's what burns me a little about this. It's no whether or not they'll FIND the Higgs, is that they might not even know if they actually DID or DIDN'T...

It will be far from simple to know when the Higgs has actually been found. Any particle that packs as much energy as the Higgs lasts only a miniscule fraction of a second before it falls apart into other particles,...


Excuse me? Where was this statement when you were begging at the public trough??
Silverhill
5 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2012
@dogbert
We have spend massive amounts of money and time searching for something which probably does not exist.

I suspect better uses could be put to scarce resources.
...said King Ferdinand to Queen Isabella.
dogbert
1 / 5 (2) Jun 29, 2012
Silverhill,
I suspect better uses could be put to scarce resources.

...said King Ferdinand to Queen Isabella.


Not at all. The circumference of the earth was known even to the Greeks over a thousand years before Columbus approached them for money.

Their bet was almost a sure thing.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (7) Jun 29, 2012
Do you even understand Zephirs Dense Aether Model

You mean a theory that uses an analogy to explain a fundamental issue. And that fundamental issue in turn causes the analogy? Something so directly circular that a schoolchild would see it at first glance.

Yeah. I understand it. It's hogwash.
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (3) Jun 30, 2012
What one fool can understand, another can.
Archea
1 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2012
..from what I gather, the Aether is blowing perpendicular to our dimension. M-M showed there was no wind blowing parallel to our dimension..
Dense aether model actually predicts the M-M experiment, because Maxwell's theory was based on aether model and it leads into negative result of M-M experiment too. A tiny violation of it (Lense-Thirring frame drag) is consistent with aether model: a complete Lorentz invariance would be nonphysicial, too. Light is formed with transverse waves and every transverse wave is moving trough the particle environment without relation to the reference frame of it. The tiny capillary waves at the water surface can move AGAINST stream of water in this way.
AnandVTA
1 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2012
How complex is the world/Universe we live in? Will it yield all its secrets at one go or will it leave us breathless after each discovery, testing the limits of human stamina? I think there is need for a principle similar to anthropic, one which says that human beings shall be in the same scientific state of mind as it is now at any given time in th future. Always groping for the truth, i.e.. The implications of this principle are huge. It implies that we shall never be in a scientific nirvana; we can never claim, we know it all. I call it entropic principle.

That aside, I know that the
1. world is a fractal.
2. It started with chance differentiation of 0 & 1. Sat and Asat. Yin and yang. the pattern of zeros and ones grew outward in N dimensions and it one particular direction normal to the front of this expanding frontier IS a program that describes the workings of the Universe!
3. to follow.....

AnandVTA
1 / 5 (3) Jun 30, 2012
3. What happens if a symmetry is broken. Is it like a node in a tree graph. Higgs boson a is node and gives rise to so many fundamental particles, bestowing mass to each of them?

AnandVTA
1 / 5 (3) Jun 30, 2012
3.1 In this case i have a query...how many higgs boson were there originally. Was there only one which bestowed mass to all the particles; were there many? [Point 3 does not follow 1&2- cause "i don't know that" should be the proper heading ... ].
frajo
5 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2012
Do you even understand Zephirs Dense Aether Model (DAM)? I don't. You continually dismiss it without any supporting evidence against it. That is unscientific.

How scientific is it to use lots of clones?
It doesn't want to be taken seriously. It just wants to play.
Archea
1 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2012
If I wouldn't banned, I would use one account only all the time.
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (2) Jun 30, 2012
Here is the problem I see here Zephir. Aether as a medium is considered a substance, opposed to a field as is the accepted idea of a Universal medium today.

Let's think of 2 crafts for a moment. 
1. A rocket engine - acts upon a craft by pushing on it in the opposing direction of its motion. 
2. A propellor - pulls the craft by pushing against the crafts surroundings.

If a substance filled medium was the Universal base, a propellor would have the ability to move a craft through the vacuum of space.
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2012
The only way I could see the Aether theory working would be in a multidimensional way as I've outlined above by simplifying our Universe (by reducing our 4 dimensions of space-time into a single dimension (x axis)). In this way our Universe would be a sort of hologram set in a higher dimensional reality.
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2012
The Aether would be always present within our Dimensions but the actual presence would not be detectable as the interaction would be a transitory one. The Aether would instantaneously transition through our Universal dimensions. The only way that there would be any possible detectability would be if a minimum unit exists (Planck time), in this way the Aether would be detectable from our Universe for only the shortest possible moment of time. In this sense our Universe would be a Hologram riding on the Aether.
Silverhill
not rated yet Jul 01, 2012
Silverhill,
I suspect better uses could be put to scarce resources.
...said King Ferdinand to Queen Isabella.
Not at all. The circumference of the earth was known even to the Greeks over a thousand years before Columbus approached them for money.

Their bet was almost a sure thing.
What I meant was the notion that the Indies could be easily reached (or: reached with comparable ease) by sailing westward. Ferdinand was not in favor of the project...I wonder if he was aware of the great distance involved?
elektron
not rated yet Jul 01, 2012
These are indeed wonderful, exciting times to be alive. When ones stops to contemplate what humanity is delving into it's pretty damn amazing. Whatever comes out of the LHC, will be astounding if for no other reason that it gets us a wee bit closer to the physical fundamental nature of reality.
jsdarkdestruction
5 / 5 (2) Jul 01, 2012
If I wouldn't banned, I would use one account only all the time.

dont you think thats a hint?
Archea
1 / 5 (3) Jul 01, 2012
..a propeller would have the ability to move a craft through the vacuum of space...
It indeed has. For example Heim's drive is based on propelling with using of inertial properties of the vacuum in similar way, like the jellyfish is using. This jellyfish creates a vortex ring from its environment and after then it expels it. Heim drive applies the inertial acceleration to the vortex ring of vacuum created with magnetic field. It technically means, the drive creates a particles (vortices) from vacuum and then accelerates them.

BTW Scalar Higgs field is nothing else than just aether. The Higgs bosons are density fluctuations of that field similar to Brownian noise at the water surface.
Turritopsis
1 / 5 (3) Jul 01, 2012
Heims drive is a multidimensional one. It works (theoretically) by opening up our 4 dimensional space-time by creating a magnetic field around the space-craft, bringing 2 extra (and later 4) dimensions into our Universe.

Let's return to the graph. The x axis is our 4D Universe. So our Universe is equivalent to y=0. In other words f(x)=0. For the Heim drive to work we have to stretch our Universe to encompass all values from y=negative1 to y=positive1. We are in essence expanding our Universe by stealing from extradimensions. Now our Universe f(x) = negative1 to positive1. We've transformed our 4D space (f(x)=0) into a wider dimensional space (f(x) = negative1 to positive1).

The graph is now different than when we began. Originally where x equaled 0 we had the origin of x, and where y equaled 0 we had the origin of y. Now positive y begins at positive1, and negative y begins at negative1. The x axis gained the y values between negative and positive 1.
Archea
1 / 5 (3) Jul 01, 2012
For example, the fact that BCS theory doesn't work for HT superconductors doesn't mean, that the Cooper pair don't exist at low temperatures. They indeed do exist, but they're not relevant for actually deep reason of superconductivity - they do exist as a manifestation of some deeper underlying mechanism. The same situation applies to Higgs boson: the particles are massive, because they're all formed with massive field - not because this field does some density fluctuations and massive Higgs bosons in it. The formation of such bosons is undeniable consequence of its massiveness in similar way, like the formation of any other bosons in it, so to say.
Archea
1 / 5 (3) Jul 01, 2012
The fact, that the Heim's theory of six parameters is able to derive the mass of hundred particles with relative error bellow one percent without need of any Higgs boson - whereas the mainstream physics cannot do it even with twenty six parameters indicates clearly, just the Heim's theory describes the mechanism, in which particles are getting their mass, not the Higgs mechanism (which is limited to W/Z bosons only after all). The Higgs is essentially insignificant for it, even if it exists.
Wid
5 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012
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"neighbor's step-aunt brought in $19301 the previous month. she is making income on the internet and got a $549400 house. All she did was get blessed and put into action the advice revealed on this web site"

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El_Nose
not rated yet Jul 02, 2012
@ people

the LHC cannot produce collisions at 125/6 GeV -- nor can it focus collisions at that energy level.

It can however record information and look at only the collisions that occured near that energy level. Its like asking a shot gun to eject each pellet at a certain speed --- or asking a tree to drop leaves from only a certain hieght -- not possible - but you can choose to look a the instances that fit your critieria
Iqbal Latif
1 / 5 (2) Jul 02, 2012
Mankind misery is rooted in its inability to tap energy from a universally available complimentary source. If we are able to smash fundamental particle physics better, a sustainable source from the core of atom without radioactive residue will make gloom a fry cry.

Humanity is at the cusp of overcoming the hurdle soon towards a new trajectory of growth, this is our new tryst with fate. Malthusian predictions through harnessing sources of fossil fuel and mastering internal combustion engine saved mankind; now with LHC we are upping the ante. Free water, air and energy is our innate vocation. Cheap Energy is the missing link that ensures prosperity over scarcity, peace over war.

Collective benefit of mankind to feed 9 billion in next few decades will require LHC study. Poverty, famine and hunger may be replaced by munificence that every new era of scientific discovery has ensured. The resource/ population bottleneck that man is ensnared with can be busted with LHC reserach.
AtlasT
1 / 5 (1) Jul 03, 2012
..Mankind misery is rooted in its inability to tap energy from a universally available complimentary source...
I'm not very sure, if such an universal energy source would improve the ecology and or even quality of human life. The implementation of cold fusion would undeniably solve the contemporary fossil fuel crisis, but it will promote further overpopulation of Earth. What must be changed here is the human thinking too.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 03, 2012
Mankind misery is rooted in its inability to tap energy from a universally available complimentary source.

I think you have a misunderstanding of the term 'energy'. To get anything useful (usable work) you have to have a gradient of stuff from which you can extract energy (water running down a hill will work. Water sitting in a puddle at the bottom won't). Form this example you already see that stuff tends towards equilibrium by itself - giving up it's 'stored' work if it can (see thermodynamics).
Any easily accessible source of such energy is also one that goes to equilibrium by itself very quickly (that's why we have oceans where we have them - and not on mountaintops)

Only the 'stable' (read: hard to access) repositories of energy remain for any appreciable amount of time (i.e. the billions of years the universe has existed). The rest is already gone.
elektron2kim
1 / 5 (1) Jul 14, 2012
@ antialias_physorg

WHAT decisions? There is no 'decision making body' in science that tells research groups as a whole what to do. Not in fusion research, not in climate research and not in any other field of research.

What one researcher argues for (or against) on a purely personal/subjective level has no impact whatsoever on the decisions of any other group on how and on what to conduct their research. Irrespective of that person's standing.

You make it sound like they work for their own money and in their own freetime - most of them don't and are forced into acceptable behaviour of their funding people. A person with ideas not being accepted as mainstream facts needs to work for it by results and accepted writings being pulished. It's just a matter of limits in a work situation and friendships, not a conspiracy point of view. Would be impossible to gain access to a lab without a bit of "We like your research, here is the key and money/salary".