What is a Higgs Boson?

Today, CERN the laboratory behind the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is set to make an announcement about the discovery, or not as the case may be, of the so-called “God Particle”, the elementary particle formed just after the Big Bang, almost 14 billion years ago that is posited to give all other particles the property we know as mass.

Here’s a snippet from the CERN press release on today’s announcement. I’m paraphrasing, of course:

“A seminar will be held blah blah on 13 December blah blah sufficient blah blah to make significant progress in the search for the Higgs boson, but not enough to make any conclusive statement on its existence or non-existence…blah blah blah blah… ”

It’s that phrase “not enough to make any conclusive statement”, that gets me. In other words, after more than two years of activity (not counting the 2008 false start) and terabytes of data generation, they’re confident in telling the world that they have a hint of a possible tentative suggesion of an inference of a sneaking suspicion that the Higgs Boson might putatively exist…or not.

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3 thoughts on “What is a Higgs Boson?”

  1. If taken individually, the significance of one of the excesses in one of the channels from one of the analyses from one of the experiments is about the same as rolling a die twice and coming up with 2 sixes in a row.

    What *is* interesting is when you combine all the channels of all the analyses in the two experiments and you see something much more significant.

    However – it is still not enough to make an observation and certainly not enough to make a discovery. We have seen many fluctuations of this size come and go already this year.


  2. In a seminar held at CERN, the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented the status of their searches for the Standard Model Higgs boson. The main conclusion is that the Standard Model Higgs boson, if it exists, is most likely to have a mass constrained to the range 116-130 GeV by the ATLAS experiment, and 115-127 GeV by CMS.

    CERN claims tantalising hints but these are not yet strong enough to claim a discovery.

    In fact, by its own admission, chances of this happening are similar to throwing a double six with a pair of dice.

    Tantalising hints are NOT scientific evidence. CERN has found nothing. Watch out for imminent Higgsgate headlines…

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