Has CERN "found" Higgs?

Apparently not, but something interesting is happening.

The buzz on the blogosphere is that there will be an announcement on July 4th that the Higgs Boson has been proven to exist, but not "found." And by "proven" it is meant that empirical evidence of its existence has been gathered, as opposed to a mathematical argument that it must exist or that they have a jar of them and are ready to pass out free samples to reporters. One of the project researchers, John Ellis, has said "We've discovered something which is consistent with being a Higgs."

What is the Higgs Boson? George Musser will be happy to explain. It looks important. If it exists, that is:

image by davidpc


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I've grown tired of this game in modern physics. Empirical data is not the same as a direct confirmation. I know how badly everyone wants this final piece of the puzzle to be found but, seriously? We are better than this as physicists. If the standard model needs a revisiting than so be it. We either wait till we have confirmation that the hypothesis was correct or we keep testing. We teach 5th graders that. This extends even beyond the Higgs. Into Dark Matter, and M-theory and anything else. Its time to stop claiming what we know through implied data and refusing to admit we may have been wrong.

It is reminiscent of epicycles is it not? From the outside it looks like a foundational crisis in particle physics.


Imma wait and see what they say on July 4th. Then, we'll declare modern science and the Standard Model dead. Or not.

It sometimes seems to me that there's a debate to be had between "empirical data" (as in, why does that bit of metal emit electrons when I shine a light on it?), and "of the known models which fit this distribution of measurements, this one is currently the least worst." according to this or that commonly accepted statistical technique. (You can tell I'm a very old-fashioned mathematician, I guess.)

Especially when the dataset in question is bigger than the mean time between failure of the experimental equipment, which modern particle physics seems to be getting close to.

By Ian Kemmish (not verified) on 03 Jul 2012 #permalink

Just recently Cern announced neutrinos were faster than light... which was soon found to be in error... it got them alot of press coverage like cold fusion... now this "G-d particle"(higgs boson) has excited the media again... It may be possible that since europes economy is not doing well CERN is trying to desperately validate itself and the billions it spends on high energy physics.... (I am pro physics ) by creating as much public interest as possible. This is indeed a critical area of research creating new possibilities in clean free energy (fusion) and even anti gravity technology. The world should support this research and progress onward..it is a sign of the coming of Mosiach... Chabad.org James Ainoris

By james ainoris (not verified) on 03 Jul 2012 #permalink

But they didn't announce that neutrinos were faster than light. They announced, after much consternation, that they had measurements that could be explained by neutrinos going faster tha light, which they made clear seemed impossible to them, or that something else was going on. then they retested with a better method of measurement and were still stumped, and they made clear that they felt stumped, not that neutrinos were going faster than light. Then they wiggled a cable and it was loose and suddenly the data conformed to the Standard Model.

I don't know about a conspiracy to get press. We'll see tomorrow!

The Higgs Bison is just the beginning of our understanding of our surroundings...This is a particle and nothing more...like a speck of dust in the air...it does hold our universe together, but not with it knowing it...our world as we know it is defined by who we are and what we do in our lives...it is a great discovery, but it will not be the last...there is an entire universe out there to explore...let's get on with living or we better get on with dying as a human race.

By brian koeberle (not verified) on 03 Jul 2012 #permalink

These are free flowing particles that don't interact with physical beings, like ourselves...welcome to the fourth deminsion and the parallel universe.

By brian koeberle (not verified) on 03 Jul 2012 #permalink

Ethan and many other bloggers took OPERA to task by leaving out all the "Well, this is the data, and it is odd because it shows FTL Neutrinos, so can you lot have a look at what we corrected for to see if there's a mistake or we really have found FTL neutrinos". Completely unlike what you (correctly) did there, Greg.

Worst were Ethan et al going "What about SN1987a!". Which doesn't prove naff all, other than there are also subluminal Neutrinos because we weren't looking for a neutrino pulse 3 years before we knew the star was going supernova.

Really lacked critical thinking. Everyone can do it. And it's why the scientific method is used, because we can't guarantee we won't do it again on anything.