Physicist's blog post rumors Higgs discovery at Fermilab

Jul 13, 2010 by Lisa Zyga weblog
The CDF detector at Fermilab. Credit: Fermilab.

(PhysOrg.com) -- A rumor that Fermilab’s Tevatron may have discovered evidence of a light Higgs boson wouldn't be the first unsupported speculation from Tommaso Dorigo, a physicist at the University of Padua in Italy, on his lively blog, but it is probably one of the most intriguing. Even a slight possibility that the world’s second largest accelerator has beaten the largest, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in finding the last particle in the Standard Model is enough to catch most people’s attention.

“It reached my ear, from two different, possibly independent sources, that an experiment at the is about to release some evidence of a light Higgs boson signal,” Dorigo writes at his blog, A Quantum Diaries Survivor. “Some say a three-sigma effect, others do not make explicit claims but talk of a unexpected result. That the result comes from the Tevatron is for sure, since the LHC experiments do not have nearly enough data yet to search for that elusive particle, and other experiments in the world have not nearly enough energy to produce it. However, I am unable to understand whether the rumor comes from CDF or from D0 [Fermilab's two particle detectors].”

Both CDF and DZero have been collecting data for many years, and have been narrowing down the possible energies and masses at which a might appear. As Dorigo notes, last November, the two experiments jointly released an improved Higgs limit. With the additional data they’ve gathered since then (Dorigo estimates 50% more data), the scientists may have narrowed the limit even further. Last year, physicists even predicted that they would have a 50% chance of detecting the Higgs by the end of this year.

In Dorigo’s blog post, the “three-sigma effect” refers to the statistical certainty of the result, corresponding to a 99.73% chance of it being correct. Generally, a three-sigma effect isn't classified as a true discovery; rather, a five-sigma (or 99.9999% chance of accuracy) is considered a high enough degree of certainty to be considered a fully acceptable discovery. Yet, three-sigma would still mean strong evidence of the existence of the Higgs. On the other hand, some physicists are hoping that the Higgs doesn’t actually exist, since this could provide clues to a theory beyond the .

Dorigo is not part of the group(s) that may have discovered the Higgs evidence, and he is quick to admit that the rumor is pretty groundless right now. It seems that he just wants to share the excitement of the rumor he’s heard with the rest of the world. He adds that more news about the subject may be revealed by physicists later this month at the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Paris.

Tommaso Dorigo's blog post: "Rumors About A Light Higgs"

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User comments : 21

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Sazzle
4.6 / 5 (9) Jul 13, 2010
I heard a rumour that the moon is made of cheese and I have evidence too, Wallace and Gromit went thefe for a grand day out and ate some of the stuff, I saw it on TV so it must be true. Im still awaiting a suitable article about this rumour on a scientific News site though. Since rumours appear to be sufficient to generate scientific news now, I shouldnt have to wait very long. However if the Higgs was discovered then that indeed would be news. Come on "News" or not? if it is then publish if not then dont.
Bob_Kob
4.5 / 5 (2) Jul 13, 2010
I hope all the other sources i'm hearing about this aren't coming from the exact same rumor..
gunslingor1
3 / 5 (1) Jul 13, 2010
The Higgs is not the last particle yet to be found in the standard model, correct me if I'm wrong here? They still haven't found the graviton, dark matter, micro singularities, what else?
Parsec
not rated yet Jul 13, 2010
The Higgs is not the last particle yet to be found in the standard model, correct me if I'm wrong here? They still haven't found the graviton, dark matter, micro singularities, what else?
The standard model doesn't include a consistent gravitational theory. Everyone knows it is incomplete on several grounds. Micro-singularities simply violate our understanding of quantum theory and I do not believe they are related to the standard model. Dark matter is one good example of unknown particles.
gunslingor1
not rated yet Jul 13, 2010
thanks 20 parsecs. i think humans have a long way to go, if we can survive this first hill
frajo
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 13, 2010
The standard model doesn't include a consistent gravitational theory.
There are two "standard models". The standard model of particle physics and the standard model of cosmology. Both are incomplete.

Dark matter is one good example of unknown particles.
Or of unknown parameters of gravitation. Or of extra dimensions.
Jigga
2 / 5 (6) Jul 13, 2010
Before neutrino oscillation finding, the Standard Model contained 19 arbitrary dimensionless constants describing the masses of the particles and the strengths of the electroweak and strong forces. After the discovery of neutrino mass the new Standard Model requires 26 fundamental dimensionless constants, whose numerical values are, to the best of present understanding, arbitrary.

If the description of dark energy requires more than the cosmological constant, yet more constants will be needed. Standard Model is rather regressive epicycles model, then the predicative heliocentric model.
docjape
5 / 5 (1) Jul 13, 2010
Its just a rumour that's got out of hand - confirmed by Fermilabs:

http://twitter.co...96561721

More interestingly is what's behind this rumour - and I don't mean over imagination or exploding ego ;-)
gunslingor1
1.5 / 5 (2) Jul 13, 2010
I don't understand why you phycisists keep calling these "dimensions" when your really talking about "properties of space-time", your only confusing people. the 3 spacial dimensions are properties of s-t, i.e. no matter how small an area or how large an area you observe in s-t, the area always has h, w & d. The same is true for time. These are fundamental properties of space, not dimensions or sides of a shape.
I find it better to think of these dimensions as properties of space-time, not another single dimension shooting inwards into infinitely nor like an array of arrays.
I find this to be the most coherent view of extra and known dimensions. I like to think of a particle, not as a particle or a wave, but to define it specifically and soley as a bend in one or more properties of space, bending exponentially as you get closer to the center, possibly to infinitey. I suspect gravity is an averaging accumulation of all these bends.

Stick to engineering? or am I on to something?
El_Nose
2.5 / 5 (2) Jul 13, 2010
@ gunslinger

then how do you describe the space that a photon occupies. It has no length width or height -- dimensionless is very accurate description because by everything we know it exists as a point that travels in spacetime if you will. but yes it does exist at a certain time.

Since we have no particle for mass ( no Higgs) to measure its size we state that the mass must be located at the center of whatever particle we are looking at -- thus this center this point is deminsionless and is our very incomplete concept of mass.
gunslingor1
2.7 / 5 (3) Jul 13, 2010
How could a photon occupy space if it does not exist in a space. It has to have h-w-d, whether or not it is has a discrete or continous boundry is irrelevant. If your really talking about a photon being a true point in space, the smallest point possible, like a pixel on a screen, Then I think your just quantifying empty space and a photon in that space would just equate to an expression of one or more properties of space. Since its a photon, Electricity and Magnetism would be the greatest expression of the properties of this pixel of space-time. but perhaps a more subtle expression of another property of that same pixel would explain why a photon can be at two places at the same time. I don't agree that a photon is dimensionly, it's like a black hole. You can't define a BH's spatial dimensions because the black hole is stretching space to infinitely small magintude, thats what a black hole is, a bending in the gravitational property of space. I propose the same for all point particles
Jigga
1 / 5 (5) Jul 13, 2010
IMO Higgs boson is the same fuzzy unparticle stuff, like the virtual bosons responsible for Casimir force - their effective mass depends on surface geometry. Just at the case of Higgs boson the upper bound is limited by mass of top quark, so it can form a fuzzy signal, corresponding the dilepton channel of top quark decay, which was observed already.

Mr. Dorigo himself putted the nail into Higgs boson coffin by his previous announcement of fourth generation of quarks in 450 GeV range.

http://www.scienc..._go_away

If even more massive quark exists, then its corresponding Higgs should exist too.
DocM
not rated yet Jul 13, 2010
Tweet from Fermilab Today -

http://twitter.co...labToday

"Let's settle this: the rumors spread by one fame-seeking blogger are just rumors. That's it."
andyd
not rated yet Jul 13, 2010
"Let's settle this: the rumors spread by one fame-seeking blogger are just rumors. That's it."

Which neither confirms nor denies the truthiness of the rumour.
JIMBO
3 / 5 (2) Jul 14, 2010
I like Dorigo's blog, but feel that blogs are an utter waste of a physicist's Action = time X Energy. If one is engaged in the study of nature, one does not have time for tittilation of the public, nor free energy to expend to manage a blog. Those that do have little hope of making a fundamental breakthrough.
Jigga
1 / 5 (4) Jul 17, 2010
Actually, Dorigo published recently another proto-science discovery of fourth generation of quarks. This discovery is of approximatelly the same relevance like the finding of Higgs boson anounced (three sigma).

And quess what? This blog article was handled by NewScientist quite seriously and it got full coverage in media.

http://www.newsci...ion.html

The whole trick is, most of physicists actually doesn't believe in concept of Higgs boson on background - despite the massive propaganda in CERN related media, the main purpose is to justify expensive experiments at LHC.

The title of recent NewScientist another article "In SUSY we trust: What the LHC is really looking for" illustrates clearly, physicists are aware of the conceptual problems of Higgs field concept. The article should be interpreted like: "Uhm, well, ... we actually don't believe, Higgs boson will be ever found at LHC - so we should concentrate to supersymmetry.."
Jigga
1 / 5 (4) Jul 17, 2010
With respect to AdS/CFT duality the success or problems with particle search at Planck scale will be replicated/mirrored at cosmological scales (WIMPs detection) and vice-versa. Therefore it's not so strange, when dual situation appeared recently in media, when scientists started to speculate, (primordial) gravitational waves cannot be found at all due the "quantum-spread", which would render detectors of gravitational waves useless in the same way, like the LHC at quantum scale.

http://tinyurl.com/ya3q2hm

This is a demo, how seemingly spontaneous scientific PR is basically working - layman public should trace subliminal messages of it for to get the realistic picture about opinion of this community in the noise of journalism and propaganda.
gwrede
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 17, 2010
Kinda cute of the Tevatron folks to use Gossp Daddy. He obviously sincerely believes and advances all this stuff, and thus nobody suspects publicity or politics behind it all.

Of course the Tevatron needs to be in peoples' minds, lest it starve of oblivion. I'd do the same thing. Light Higg's, heavy Higg's, who cares. It's like politics: who cares what they talk, as long as they do! Popularity isn't about being popular, it's about being on everybody's mind!
Jigga
1 / 5 (3) Jul 18, 2010
Of course he does. But the fourth generation of quarks is the same "three-sigma" rumor, like the Higgs boson.

Just try to explain, why first case was hyped, wheres the second one was refused as rumor.
Shootist
1 / 5 (2) Jul 18, 2010
Before neutrino oscillation finding, the Standard Model contained 19 arbitrary dimensionless constants describing the masses of the particles and the strengths of the electroweak and strong forces. After the discovery of neutrino mass the new Standard Model requires 26 fundamental dimensionless constants, whose numerical values are, to the best of present understanding, arbitrary.


Just to be clear on Mass. Heim Theory correctly predicts the Rest Mass of the fundamental particles within the margin of error of experimentation.

Something, is not arbitrary.
Jigga
1 / 5 (4) Jul 18, 2010
Don't tell it to me - I know quite well, physicists are wasting money of tax payers by development of their own impotent theories (string theory in particular) - while ignoring these working ones.

Should they be punished for it?

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