Higgs Boson announcement expected from CERN today

UPDATE 5:57 AM The live webcast from CERN is overloaded but it appears that uncertainty still exists about the HB, they may have glimpsed its signal around 126 GeV – see below – Anthony

“The God Particle” may have been found.

Scientists in Geneva are expected to announce they have caught a glimpse of the elusive Higgs Boson on Tuesday in a press conference planned for 8 AM EST.

The particle is a vital factor in science’s understanding of the universe, but it has never been seen by scientists in any particle accelerator, perhaps until now. The theory of its existence goes all the way back to 1964.

Finding the Higgs Boson is one of the main goals of the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which recently started operation amidst worry that the search for the HB might open a rift or create a small black hole.

If scientists have gotten a  glimpse of the Higgs, it could have far-reaching consequences in particle physics. It is the only particle predicted by the current favored theory of particle physics that has not yet been observed experimentally. Its discovery would likely validate the Standard Model theory.

Some trivia from the Wikipedia entry on it:

The Higgs boson is often referred to as “the God particle” by the media,[50] after the title of Leon Lederman‘s book, The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?[51] Lederman initially wanted to call it the “goddamn particle,” but his editor would not let him.[52]

I’m sure our physicist friend Luboš Motl will have some coverage at The Reference Frame once the announcement is made for us folks that are three quarks shy of full set of fermions.

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The Guardian reports on live tweets and what portions of the webcast they could view

While Fabiola Gianotti goes through the slides from the Atlas experiment, excluding various energies for the Higgs signal, here’s some thoughts from Prof Stephan Söldner-Rembold, Head of the Particle Physics Group at the University of Manchester:

ATLAS and CMS have presented an important milestone in their search for the Higgs particle, but it is not yet sufficient for a proper discovery given the amount of data recorded so far. Still, I am very excited about it, since the quality of the LHC results is exceptional.

The Higgs particle seems to have picked itself a mass which makes things very difficult for us physicists. Everything points at a mass in the range 115-140 GeV and we concentrate on this region with our searches at the LHC and at the Tevatron.

The results indicate we are about half-way there and within one year we will probably know whether the Higgs particle exists with absolute certainty, but it is unfortunately not a Christmas present this year.

The Higgs particle will, of course, be a great discovery, but it would be an even greater discovery if it didn’t exist where theory predicts it to be. This would be a huge surprise and secretly we hope this might happen. If this is case, there must be something else that takes the role of the “standard” Higgs particle, perhaps a family of several Higgs particles or something even more exotic. The unexpected is always the most exciting.

From Cern: “#ATLAS sees a small excess at a Higgs mass of 126 GeV coming from 3 channels. Local significance: 3.6 sigma but only 2.4 sigma globally”

That’s not enough for a “discovery” (which techically needs 5 sigma) but it is very interesting evidence for the Higgs.

Also: “#ATLAS excludes a #Higgs mass between 131 and 453 GeV at 95% confidence level at #CERN Higgs seminar”

Fabiola Gianotti has finished her presentation. So far,we know that Atlas seems to have found evidence for a bump around 126GeV for something that looks like the Higgs.

Next up is Guido Tonelli, spokesperson for Cern’s other main detector, the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS). As @iansample says, “So. What we’re looking for now is whether CMS detector has seen Higgs-like signals around the same mass (126GeV).”

How science has changed…doing some searching on the Atlas experiment, I came across this commercialization of the science at the Atlas store. At least they aren’t offering Pecan logs.

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Cuthbert

The webcast will be shown here;
http://webcast.web.cern.ch/webcast/

cui bono

Oh wow! Proper science with proper probabilities. Congratulations to all at CERN. It’s been a long wait but well worth it!

TomO

So, the Higgs field is The Aether then eh? 🙂
It will be interesting to see how the berks in the MSM mangle this ……

Exciting stuff!
Also recently discovered: enough electrons to power a star
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/donald-scott-voyager-1-updates-solar-electron-flux/

It’s Motl without the final s and I predict they’ll report hints rather than evidence

Thanks for thinking about this discipline, Anthony!
If there are real fans of particle physics among WUWT folks, the webcast at
http://webcast.web.cern.ch/webcast/
will begin at 8 a.m. Boston Winter Time. If you will watch it, you may also open a chat box
http://xat.com/chat/room/12544185/
where you may share your feelings or ask questions. I hope it will remain manageable. 😉

“Well let you know when it whizzes by….”

Ibrahim

Bet: If they have found this one they’ll have to find the next.
Higgs +

Stephan

OT but… [snip – simply saying so doesn’t make it OK here]

wayne

Don’t know why I always thought they would not find it, but, this will be interesting. During the 70s through early 90s I was always stuck to this “particle physics” tube waiting for the next shattering breakthrough.

Mike McMillan

I didn’t quite get the gist of that CERN animation. Is there some particle exchange mechanism involving the Higgs that does the curving of spacetime?

I mentioned on a couple Facebook posts that this could be a “massive” announcement.

Vince Causey

I am stunned.
I was confident that no such particle existed. Here’s why.
It was an idea that came out of left field by Peter Higgs in the sixties to answer the question why particles have mass – ie inertia. Since there was nothing in the standard model that provides an eplanation, Peter put forward the idea that inertia is the observed effect of an undiscovered field, named the Higgs field. He believed that it is particles moving through the Higgs field that gives the appearance of inertia. This gave rise to the realisation that if there is a Higgs field, there ought to be a corresponding particle. This is because in the standard model all fields are associated with particles that carry those fields. The particle that carries the electo magnetic field is of course the photon.
The problem I have is that such a field is a return to the theory of the aether. This was discredited by Einstein – if you have an aether, then that implies an absolute space, an absolute frame of reference against which all other frames can be measured. It also appears to violate Newton’s first law of motion, since it would imply that if particles are interacting with a field that is responsible for their inertia, then those particles should not continue to move in a straight line at constant velocity unless acted upon by an external force.
They may well have discovered a new particle, but does it mean that the Higgs field exists? That is the question.

If they have found it, I will give the EU 6 months before they tax it.

Luminiferous aether was unfashionable when it was just an understandable energy field. By defining it as a “particle” which can only be observed by elite physicists commanding billion-dollar research budgets, it becomes fashionable again.
Sort of like outhouses. When they were wooden shacks that any old peasant could build, they were unfashionable. Now that they’re highly expensive Carbon-Neutral Composting Toilets, requiring special EPA permits, they’re haute enough for San Francisco.

Ian E

The Godot particle seems a better name!

Alan the Brit

Have they sorted out the “time-travelling” particles yet? Is it real or is just satellite drift causing a misreading?

Alex the skeptic

Now that is science. We also recently had from CERN the results of the CLOUD experiments, led by Jasper Kirkby. Can CERN give these results as much exposure as the Higgs Boson will get once it is dedected? These are both very important to humaniy, the former is becasue it boosts standard model theory, while the second will pull the carpet from beneat the greatest scientific scam ever concocted and save the tax payers trillions of dollars/euros/yen, money that can be utilised to further enhance the quality of our lives.

wayne

I miss the bubble chambers!

Domingo Tavella

[snip – off topic political junk and over the top]

Sunny

The stream on the site isn’t working well. I hear the perimeter institute for theoretical physics is doing a live interactive chat with some of the physicists involved with the experiments later today at 12:30 est its on their site at http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca.

1DandyTroll

Oh, my,… Here we go, soon there’ll be pure H2O alternative medication for:
people who don’t eat enough…Higgs-challenged persons?
people who eat well enough…Higgs-aholics?
people who suffer food allergies…Higgs-intolerant people?
people who exercise too much…Higgs-deficient folks?

Watching the streaming video, now, and I get the distinct impression that the CERN folks are trying to justify their continued budgetary existence. No Higgs, yet, but things are looking good for something in the future. This seminar is primarily to note progress on the project.

Very interesting. And I’m happy to see they are open to the possibility the Higgs boson doesn’t exist rather than insisting it does exist and they just haven’t been looking in the right place.

Warren in Minnesota

Vince Causey says: December 13, 2011 at 5:02 am
The problem I have is that such a field is a return to the theory of the aether. This was discredited by Einstein…

I don’t remember Einstein discrediting the theory. I remember Michelson-Morley running the experiment using an interferometer, mirrors and a big vat of mercury.

Robin Hewitt

I’ve got a bottle of them somehere in my workshop. I would uncork it and look inside, problem is catching the durned thing.

Alberta Slim

So if you believe in the “God Particle” your an Aetherist.
And if you don’t, then your an Athiest. [I know. that’s weak] 😉
Looks like a whole new argument like AGW vs Skeptics

NotTheAussiePhilM

I wonder if they had to use dodgy statistical techniques to fit the data to their a priori assumptions?
Or select data that gave them the answers they were looking for?
Or had to ‘Hide-the-Decline’ when the data didn’t do what they wanted it to?
Or are they real scientists who let the real data speak for itself?
(Ans: No! No! No! Yes!)

Vince Causey

Warren in Minnesota,
“I don’t remember Einstein discrediting the theory. I remember Michelson-Morley running the experiment using an interferometer, mirrors and a big vat of mercury.”
It arises as a consequence of Einstein’s description of space and time. Pre Einstein, it was thought that space and time were absolute. In other words, it would be possible to define a universal frame of reference against which all other frames could be measured. This was what Michelson-Morely were trying to do – measure the aether drift.
Einstein realised there could be no such thing as absolute space or time. It was impossible to define a motion without explicitly stating what frame of reference that motion existed in. Any reference to “the aether” must logically reintroduce the idea of absolute space. Whether or not the Higgs field is viewed as permeating all of space like the aether, is not made clear.

steveta_uk

“That’s not enough for a “discovery” (which techically needs 5 sigma) but it is very interesting evidence for the Higgs.”
Read it and weep, Mann and Jones.

Spen

Prof Stephan Söldner-Rembold (above) says:
‘The Higgs particle will, of course, be a great discovery, but it would be an even greater discovery if it didn’t exist where theory predicts it to be. This would be a huge surprise and secretly we hope this might happen. If this is case, there must be something else that takes the role of the “standard” Higgs particle, perhaps a family of several Higgs particles or something even more exotic. The unexpected is always the most exciting.’
Now here is a proper scientist – he even seems to think that not only is the science not settled but it would be even more exciting if the theory is wrong!
Copy to The Team

AntonyIndia

From http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/12/higgs-boson-particle-physics-benefit
“But perhaps one of the biggest benefits of the current excitement will be this: watching the twists and turns of the neutrinos or the Higgs might, just might, help us as a society to become better equipped to make sense of other scientific issues, which are more politically and economically charged. MMR, stem cell research, climate change, GM foods: which way would you bet?
Often the mix at the emerging edge of science is liberally adulterated with political and economic bias, and simple hubris. Even in particle physics there are massive egos and perhaps slightly less massive careers at stake – some of which got their mass from the Higgs. This is because science is, in fact, a human activity. It’s just special because it is the best way we’ve found of getting the right answers. Probably.”
(By Professor Jon Butterworth, physics professor at University College London )

Crito

Clearly, a discovery as important as the retrograde motion of planets.

Matt

Vince
The Higgs, if found, is NOT the aether. Also, not Einstein discovered that there is indeed no aether, but the Michelson Morley experiment. And Einstein is reported to have said that he wasn’t even aware of MMs experiment when he set out.
The aether was thought to be an ultra dense, yet ‘super-fluid’ (?) substance, through which all other matter moves with no friction/resistance at all. And it is not there, as we know from MMs experiment. Even empty space would have been jam-packed with aether matter, but Higgs is where we see/have mass, as it is thought to be associated with it.

John Cooke

Isn’t it refreshing to see real scientists presenting their current work in a humble manner, with an emphasis on the limitations to what can be said at present.
Yes, more work is needed – they have obviously been pushed in front of the MSM a bit here because people want answers. It would be nice to think that a few people outside science might finally get the idea that science is not about simple, settled answers.
It will be interesting to follow this to the end of their hunt. Of course, it would be much more fun for physicists if they haven’t actually found anything, so that a lot of ideas would need an awful lot more work!

Kelvin Vaughan

Ibrahim says:
December 13, 2011 at 4:03 am
Bet: If they have found this one they’ll have to find the next.
Higgs +
The boson’s mate!

P Wilson

it stands to reason – or at least – inference, that if a perfect vacuum were created in a laboratory, then if there were no matter left in a chamber, the interior of that chamber would be absolute zero. Although it is well nigh impossible to create this perfect vacuum in a lab, there is some energy field in this “vacuum” – so a vacuum is a rather redundant concept – nature abhors a vacuum.

For a signal to be considered statistically significant in particle physics, it must be at least 5 sigma.
The history of HEP has plenty of tantalizing 3.5 sigma signals that later turned out to be background as more data was accumulated.
This announcement seems to have more to do with budgets than physics 😉

kwik

What really would be interesting to read, is a discussion on how the existense of a Higgs-particle comes into conflict with the “Ensteinian universe”.
Would’nt that be an interesting blog-issue for our own Lubos Motl?
If we believe in the existence of the Higgs-particle, what do we have to “say no to” in the “Einsteinian Universe”? I can see it is mentioned above, but I want more! Lubos?

Matt says:
December 13, 2011 at 7:48 am (Edit)
Vince
The Higgs, if found, is NOT the aether. Also, not Einstein discovered that there is indeed no aether, but the Michelson Morley experiment. And Einstein is reported to have said that he wasn’t even aware of MMs experiment when he set out.
1) You cannot prove a negative.
2) Einstein entertained his own Aether theory before giving it up for relativity.
3) Dayton Millers experiments were far better than MM’s, and Einstein knew they were a threat to his theory.

“My opinion about Miller’s experiments is the following. … Should the positive result be confirmed, then the special theory of relativity and with it the general theory of relativity, in its current form, would be invalid. Experimentum summus judex. Only the equivalence of inertia and gravitation would remain, however, they would have to lead to a significantly different theory.”

— Albert Einstein, in a letter to Edwin E. Slosson, July 1925
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/confirmation-of-transmissive-medium-pervading-space/

Cyber

Hmmm, if indeed the Higgs boson exists, and we find out exactly how it interacts with other particles, could we then create regions of space that did not contain the Higgs field, or had a Higgs field much stronger than the default? Wouldn’t it be interesting if you could remove the concept of inertia from a small region of space, perhaps the approximate size of a spaceship. 😀

G. Karst

Vince Causey says:
December 13, 2011 at 5:02 am
They may well have discovered a new particle, but does it mean that the Higgs field exists? That is the question.

I leaned in a similar direction. The excitement is justified, but it will be some time yet, before physics can declare the HB. Conclusions are premature. The devil is in the details.

tallbloke says:
December 13, 2011 at 3:44 am
Also recently discovered: enough electrons to power a star
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/donald-scott-voyager-1-updates-solar-electron-flux/

I too, would like to hear a discussion, on the implications to sol and our system, to this little gem. Are we about to enter the “electric universe”? GK

Pete H

Still waiting, as I am, for how they broke the speed of light! Maybe, perhaps etc!
Typhoon says:
December 13, 2011 at 8:21 am
This announcement seems to have more to do with budgets than physics 😉
Typhoon, amazing and wonderful if they show it but I will scan the a.m. MSN very carefully to see what occurs but I tend to agree with you. So far we have has..Ziltch

An interesting quote from one of the scientists…
“…will, of course, be a great discovery, but it would be an even greater discovery if it didn’t exist where theory predicts it to be.”
Imagine that. A scientist that hopes the accepted standard theory will be proven wrong, using carefully constructed experimentation, because there is an acknowledgment that we might not know everything we think we know.

Scientists narrow hunt for ‘God’ particle

Fabiola Gianotti, an Italian physicist who heads the team running the so-called ATLAS experiment, said “the hottest region” is in lower energy ranges of the collider. She said there are indications of the Higgs’ existence and that with enough data it could be unambiguously discovered or ruled out next year.
Several mass or energy ranges within the atom smasher are now excluded to a “95% confidence level,” Gianotti told other physicists at CERN. . . .
Rolf Heuer, director of the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, said in conclusion that “the window for the Higgs mass gets smaller and smaller.”
“But be careful — it’s intriguing hints,” he said. “We have not found it yet, we have not excluded it yet.”

Progress in Quest for Particle That Could Explain Mass

One experiment, known as Atlas, suggested that the hypothesized Higgs is most likely to have a tiny mass, in the range of 116 to 130 gigaelectronvolts, or GeV. The other experiment pegged mass at 115 to 127 GeV. The experiments were carried out at the European particle physics laboratory CERN near Geneva.
“Over the last few weeks, we have started to see an intriguing excess of events around 125 GeV,” said CERN researcher Fabiola Gianotti, who was involved in the Atlas experiment. “This excess may be due to a fluctuation, but it could also be something more interesting. We cannot conclude anything at this stage. We need more study and more data.”

This gives me a hadron!

Allan M

Kelvin Vaughan says:
December 13, 2011 at 8:21 am
Ibrahim says:
December 13, 2011 at 4:03 am
Bet: If they have found this one they’ll have to find the next.
Higgs +
The boson’s mate!

Roger the cabin boy?

Steve C

Whatever exactly it is that they may have caught a glimpse of, a large part of me would still like it not to be the Higgs boson, just so’s physicists would have to get working on a replacement for the Standard, but not very Satisfactory, Model.

Roger Longstaff

I still don’t understand. Surely a single, universal (Higgs Field) frame of reference violates Special Relativity, in the same way that the “aether” would have done (until disproved by Michelson and Morely)? What am I missing?