One of the biggest debuts in the science world could happen in a matter of weeks: The Higgs boson may finally, really have been discovered.
Ever since tantalizing hints of the Higgs turned up in December at the Large Hadron Collider, scientists there have been busily analyzing the results of their energetic particle collisions to further refine their search.
“The bottom line though is now clear: There’s something there which looks like a Higgs is supposed to look,” wrote mathematician Peter Woit on his blog, Not Even Wrong. According to Woit, there are rumors of new data that would be the most compelling evidence yet for the long-sought Higgs.The possible news has a number of physics bloggers speculating that LHC scientists will announce the discovery of the Higgs during the International Conference on High Energy Physics, which takes place in Melbourne, Australia, July 4 to 11.
In the rigorous world of high-energy physics, researchers wait to see a 5-sigma signal, which has only a 0.000028 percent probability of happening by chance, before claiming a “discovery.”
The latest Higgs rumors suggest nearly-there 4-sigma signals are turning up at both of the two separate LHC experiments that are hunting for the particle. As physicist Philip Gibbs points out on his blog, Vixra log, if each experiment is seeing a 4-sigma signal, then this is almost definitely the long-sought particle. Combining the two 4-sigma results should be enough to clear that 5-sigma hurdle.
Of course, Gibbs reminds us that the rumors come with some caveats, such as the fact that they are vague and not completely reliable. Scientists outside the experiment also don’t yet know how much data has been analyzed from this year, meaning that the rumored results could disappear with further scrutiny.
The Higgs boson is the final piece of the Standard Model — a framework developed in the late 20th century that describes the interactions of all known subatomic particles and forces. The Standard Model contains many other particles — such as quarks and W bosons — each of which has been found in the last four decades using enormous particle colliders, but the Higgs remains to be found. The Higgs boson is critical to the Standard Model, because interacting with the Higgs is what gives all the other particles their mass. Not finding it would severely undermine our current understanding of the universe.
The Higgs boson is a small theoretical particle, which is the smallest part of the Higgs Field (assuming it exists). It is necessary for a set of rules in physics that we call the Standard Model, but it has yet to be found in an experiment. If the results of the work at CERN can not show that the Higgs boson exists, much of our entire understanding of physics will need to be re-written. It is important in the scientific world because many scientists believe that it is responsible for giving mass to all known particles that have mass.
, a law which states that no energy is created or destroyed, but instead it is transferred. First, the energy starts out in the gauge boson that interacts with the Higgs field. This energy is in the form of kinetic energy as movement. After the gauge boson interacts with the Higgs field, it is slowed down. This slowing reduces the amount of kinetic energy in the gauge boson. However, this energy is not destroyed. Instead, the energy is converted into mass-energy, which is normal mass that comes from energy. The mass created is what we call a Higgs boson. The amount of mass created comes from Einstein's famous equation E=mc2, which states that mass is equal to a large amount of energy (i.e. 1kg of mass is equivalent to almost 90 quadrillion Joules of energy - the same amount of energy used by the entire world in roughly an hour and a quarter in 2008). Since the amount of mass-energy created by the Higgs field is equal to the amount of kinetic-energy that the gauge boson lost by being slowed, energy is conserved.