American Accelerator's Last Hurrah: 99.8% Certainty God Particle is Found
July 3, 2012 7:58 PM
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Tevatron presents strong evidence Higgs boson was observed, but LHC needed to provide final verification
Tomorrow, while America celebrates July 4, mankind worldwide may celebrate a separate momentous event -- the discovery of the
legendary Higgs boson
I. Riding Into the Sunset -- Tevatron Goes Out With a Bang
European Organization for Nuclear Research
hold a special press conference at 9 a.m. The event will provide an update to the world on the progress in the search for the critical particle using
the Large Hadron Collider
, the largest and most expensive laboratory apparatus in history. Many physicists
supporting the existence of the Higgs boson to be presented.
On the eve of that event the
U.S. Department of Energy
, has published information that strongly hints at the existence of the Higgs boson, but stops short of providing explicit proof of its existence.
The data comes courtesy of Tevatron, a smaller accelerator 4 miles in circumference. Located on the FermiLab grounds just east of Batavia, Ill., Tevatron was long the world's most powerful accelerator. Its tests actually wrapped up last year, before the accelerator was
permanently shut down
, after the U.S. decided being a world leader in scientific research was no longer among its spending priorities.
has offered a tantalize tease of what lies ahead with the LHC. Taking 10 years worth of data involving approximately 500 trillion particle collisions, the FermiLab teams offered up signs of elusive particle.
The Tevatron's greatest legacy may be in finding the first evidence of the Higgs boson.
States Rob Roser a spokesman for one of the two Tevatron experiments, "Our data strongly point toward the existence of the Higgs boson. But it will take results from the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe to establish a discovery."
The Tevatron was able to determine with relative accuracy that the particle it observed was a Higgs boson. But the 1-in-550 chance that the finding was a statistical fluke (99.8 percent level of certainty) was unacceptably high in the laser-precise world of particle physics -- hence the LHC's firepower is necessary.
The LHC is better equipped to find the Higgs boson, with its higher beam energy, longer 17 mi. (circumference) track, and state-of-the-art detection gear.
II. Why the Higgs Boson Matters
The Higgs boson is the only fundamental subatomic particle predicted by the Standard Model that has yet to be observed.
But it is not mere novelty that drives researchers to observe this particular particle, one must understand the Standard Model of particle physics. This pillar of physics theory predicts that the Higgs boson gives rise to the so-called Higgs mechanism, a sort of "sticky field" that coats particles like a spoon dipping through a jar of honey. This "sticky" effect is thought to give protons, neutrons, and electrons -- the building blocks of matter that most of us are familiar with -- their mass.
Unfortunately the Higgs boson needs very high beam energy and luminosity in order to be provide enough mass and conditions favorable to a Higgs boson. The Higgs boson is predicted to be less that 1.4 TeV, if the Standard Model is correct.
If the Higgs boson or similar electroweak symmetry breaking mechanism are not found to give the subatomic particles their mass, then it will be an intriguing open season for new theories. But if the Higgs boson is observed, mankind will be content in knowing that we have quantified yet another facet of reality as we know it.
Nobel Prize laureate Leon Lederman popularized the hunt for the Higgs boson in his book "
The God Particle
", which chronicled his work hunting for the particle at FermiLab. Professor Lederman originally intended the title to be "The Goddamn Particle" -- an expression of his frustration at the difficult observing it. The title was subsequently shortened and the phrase "God particle" stuck as a colloquialism for the complex theoretical particle.
A Nobel prize winner nicknamed the Higgs boson the "God particle", a less cheeky shortening of his longer name for it -- the "Goddamn particle". [Image Source: Gandee Vasan/Getty Images]
The latest results from his lab do little to end the frustration, but they do provide indication that a Higgs boson's mass would be between 115 and 135 GeV -- about 130 times the mass of the proton.
Now all that remains is to see what exactly the LHC has gleaned within that band of energies.
Was the Tevatron's blip, unlikely as it may be, a mere stastical fluctuation, or was it the first observation of the God particle? The data from the LHC should offer evidence towards which possibility is true.
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RE: Isn't it crazy
7/4/2012 2:12:33 AM
The Aussies also have the great, stupid internet filter. Sorry, I don't want that kind of censorship in our nation and our Citizens should be willing to fight to the death over it. Should. Most aren't. They're too busy watching primetime television sucking on garbage while the electrons rule their lives.
Roads, Power Plants and Fiber internet wouldn't have solved anything. Roads would have put people to work temporarily so they could piss their earned money into what? More "stuff" that was made from overseas--so the end benefactor would once again be foreign nations.
Power Plants would never make any real progress due to all the tree hugging hippies pissing an moaning about the environmental impact in some area they don't even live in, have no relatives in and zero attachment to other than their philosophical lunacy.
Fiber Internet would ultimately stifle all productivity. People would take that free fiber internet and... download more porn on it. They'd also take a sliver of their money and buy more hard drives--the cheap kinds... made overseas. They have to save all that precious porn. It isn't like the internet is flooded with it or anything.
So no, none of those solutions would have solved much. It would have lead to people being as poor as they were before, a little bit fatter and a little bit less likely to develop prostate cancer... sooner. ;)
RE: Isn't it crazy
7/4/2012 3:27:07 AM
'The Aussies also have the great, stupid internet filter.'
Ahh, no we don't. It never passed.
So we are getting fibre internet and non censored internet.
Good thing about the fibre network roll-out in Australia is that they are focusing on new estate and regional areas first to ensure the majority of Australians get access to it.
RE: Isn't it crazy
7/4/2012 2:05:00 PM
Hmm it seems I'm partially mistaken, I apologize. It hasn't passed... yet. However, the Australian Communications and Media Authority does maintain and have the ability to blacklist sites for the country it deems inappropriate--correct me if I'm wrong.
"This is about the Internet. Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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