Experimental Particle Physics: Still Really Difficult

So, the news of the moment in high-energy physics is the latest results being reported from a conference in Europe. The major experimental collaborations are presenting their newest analyses, sifting through terabyte-size haystacks of data looking for the metaphorical needle that is the Higgs boson.

And what are those results? It sort of depends on who you ask. Tommaso Dorigo points at the final data from the Tevatron and claims victory; Matt Strassler thinks the lack of evidence at the LHC is almost as important, though there is progress there in excluding some new regions. The net result is a step of size dx in the general direction of progress, but still a long way from anything conclusive. I think.

My primary reaction to this is relief. I'm partly relieved that I'm not an experimental particle physicist, but mostly relieved that they didn't discover the Higgs in a way that would make me look foolish for not talking more about it in How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog. The current results make me feel better about being vague and equivocal about the Higgs in the book. And since this is my blog, the really important thing is how I feel about the whole thing...

Also, here's me and Emmy talking about the canine version of particle physics, just because:

No sign of the Bacon Boson, either, but Emmy's still hopeful.

More like this