Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Have they found the Higgs boson

LHC claims new particle discovery. Cern scientists reporting at conferences in the UK and Geneva claim the discovery of a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson.

The particle has been the subject of a 45-year hunt to explain how matter attains its mass.

CMS, one of the two Higgs-hunting experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, has reached a level of certainty worthy of a "discovery".

The other experiment, Atlas, has yet to report its results.

The team claimed they had seen a "bump" in their data corresponding to a particle weighing in at 125.3 gigaelectronvolts (GeV) - about 133 times heavier than the proton at the heart of every atom.

Indications are strong, but it remains to be seen whether the particle the team reports is in fact the Higgs - those answers will certainly not come on Wednesday.

The result announced at Cern, home of the LHC in Geneva, was met with applause.

The CMS team claimed that by combining two of its data sets, the researchers had attained a confidence level just at the "five-sigma" point - about a one-in-3.5 million chance that the signal they see would appear if there were no Higgs particle.

However, a full combination of the CMS data brings that number just back to 4.9 sigma - a one-in-2 million chance.

Excited to see what Atlas finds!!!

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