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The LHC is the single most expensive piece of scientific equipment in the history of mankind.  (Source: FermiLab)
Scientists are still grappling with whether Standard Model of particle physics still applies

It took the construction of the most expensive piece of laboratory equipment in the history of mankind (with a sticker price of $10B USD), but last July the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) reported that it was 99.99997% sure that it had found the Higgs boson -- an incredibly elusive yet critical subatomic particle that creative members of the media dubbed "the God Particle".

I. After Analyzing More Data, CERN is More Certain it Saw a Higgs Boson

The results from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) validated an earlier 99.8 percent (roughly 3σ) sure spotting by the U.S. Department of Energy's now-defunct Tevatron at FermiLab.

Now researchers have ratcheted up the certainty even higher.  Researchers with CERN have combed through two and a half times more data since last July, examining the results from the ATLAS and CMS.  Among the things measured were the interactions between the particles created, the parity of the created particles, and their spin.

The Higgs boson in most models is expected to have no spin.  Likewise, the new mystery particle observed in record 7 TeV and 8 TeV proton collisions had no spin.  CMS spokesperson Joe Incandela comments, "The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is."

As Mr. Incadela suggests, the bigger question was whether this was the Higgs boson predicted by the prevailing theory of particle physics -- the Standard Model -- or whether the evidence pointed to an alternate theory.  As they say, the devil is in the details.

II. But What Kind?

When it came to the "God particle" those details point to the Standard Model being correct.  The Standard Model predicts a positive parity, and likewise the detectors indicated the mystery particle to have a positive parity.

Comments ATLAS spokesperson Dave Charlton, "The beautiful new results represent a huge effort by many dedicated people. They point to the new particle having the spin-parity of a Higgs boson as in the Standard Model. We are now well started on the measurement programme in the Higgs sector."

Higgs boson observation
A CMS detector view of a Higgs boson creation from a 8 TeV collision. [Image Source: CERN]

In a sense, there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to the identity of the Higgs boson -- only the quest for the truth.  The LHC has previously provided evidence that some aspects of supersymmetry theory are flawed and need to be reworked.  By contrast the Higgs boson parity results appear to confirm the prevalent theory.

Atlas Higgs
An ATLAS detector view of a Higgs boson creation from a 8 TeV collision.
[Image Source: CERN]

With the parity certain, the last piece of evidence that researchers need to determine that it's the Standard Model Higgs boson is to make sure its observed decays match those predicted by the Standard Model.  To do that, the researchers will have to log more high power tests with the LHC. The Higgs boson is only created once every trillion (1012) proton-proton collisions, or so.  As it can presumably decay in many ways, scientists will need to create more Higgs boson and observe their decays in order to fully verify that the Standard Model holds true.

 Nebula wide
Finding the Higgs boson is a major step on the road to discovering the secrets of the universe.
[Image Source: NASA]
 
For now researchers are very sure they found the Higgs boson, but only "pretty sure" that the critical Standard Model theory is correct.

Source: CERN



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single most expensive piece of scientific equipment?
By Flu8 on 3/15/2013 9:29:57 AM , Rating: 2
The LHC is the single most expensive piece of scientific equipment in the history of mankind. (Source: FermiLab)

False. Very, very false. The total cost of the ISS is 15 times the cost of the LHC! Not even close FermiLab... What else are they wrong about?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_S...

With 160 Billion USD we could have ended poverty on earth, and, with the combined manpower, built houses for everyone.




By Gondor on 3/15/2013 9:45:51 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
With 160 Billion USD we could have ended poverty on earth, and, with the combined manpower, built houses for everyone.


Yes, for a couple of years, during which people would breed even further (with famine and disease curtailed there would be fewer child fatalities), resulting in a demographic explosion with no sustainability, and ultimately lead to a horrible disaster when the handout money would finally run out - with billions of people, that otherwise wouldn't have been conceived or wouldn't have survived their childhood, now starving & western world drained of $160B.

From humanitarian standpoint it would be better to literally burn that money than to is it to create a worldwide catastrophe of unprecedented magnitude like the one you're suggesting.


By arazok on 3/15/2013 12:19:51 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. This research could lead to any number of unimaginable things. If it helps us improve our ability to produce the things needed to lift the world out of poverty, or do manufacture goods less destructive ways, that would be a far bigger benefit to mankind than simply reallocating the resources we currently have available.


By TSS on 3/17/2013 3:42:51 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree. If we'd rework trade agreements to allow the poor countries free trade(not second world, third world) to the tune of $160 billion they'd develop alot more. Developed nations actually see a population decrease, as is evident all over europe where population will actually decline over the next few decades.

Money isn't the problem. We've collectively sent far more then $160 billion to africa in the past 20-30 years. We've also gotten all of that money back at a net profit. That's right - humantarian aid is profitable. Turns out, when we say "give", we mean "loan".

The problem is we do not allow them to be independant. With good reason, there's already hardly any work to go around in developed economies last thing we need is even more products that do not improve the local labor situation. If you're sick of cheap stuff from china just imagine the entirety of africa trying to industrialize.

The best way to decrease population is to increase living standards. If people are secured of a full life with a full stomach, they won't produce 5-10 kids to help them secure food or just in case half of them die while securing food. Just look at europe, just 50 years ago it was completly normal to have a large family of 5-10 kids. My dad's has 6. In my generation it's normal to be one of 2-3 kids, it's just me and my kid sister. While i was growing up i've never met anybody from my generation who even wanted to have kids, they all wanted to make careers, still is the case and i know of very few around 25 who actually do have kids.

That'll never happen for africa though, not until europe and the US are out of the picture. We value our standards of living far more then we value real humantarian actions. Not even saying i'm any different, simply pointing out why there's been money going to africa for 40+ years now and they've only gotten poorer.


By Dorkyman on 3/15/2013 6:02:54 PM , Rating: 2
"End poverty on earth?"

Right.

I'd wager you voted for Messiah in the last election. He spouts similar nonsense too.


By delphinus100 on 3/16/2013 9:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
You both underestimate the problem, and ignore the politics involved...

Indeed, how do you first define what constitutes 'ending poverty on Earth?' What is it you expect to see at the end, before you can say how much money (among other things required) that it will take?


"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher














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