– God particle is ‘found’: Scientists at Cern expected to announce on Wednesday Higgs boson particle has been discovered (Daily Mail, July 1, 2012):
- Scientists ‘will say they are 99.99% certain’ the particle has been found
- Leading physicists have been invited to event – sparking speculation that Higgs boson particle has been found
- ‘God Particle’ gives particles that make up atoms their mass
- Fermi Lab in Chicago also ‘closing in’ on proof of Higgs boson
Scientists at Cern will announce that the elusive Higgs boson ‘God Particle’ has been found at a press conference next week, it is believed.
Five leading theoretical physicists have been invited to the event on Wednesday – sparking speculation that the particle has been discovered.
Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider are expected to say they are 99.99 per cent certain it has been found – which is known as ‘four sigma’ level.
Physicists first predicted that the Higgs Boson subatomic particle exists 48 years ago.
Peter Higgs, the Edinburgh University emeritus professor of physics that the particle is named after, is among those who have been called to the press conference in Switzerland.
The management at Cern want the two teams of scientists to reach the ‘five sigma’ level of certainty with their results – so they are 99.99995 per cent sure – such is the significance of the results.
Tom Kibble, 79, the emeritus professor of physics at Imperial College London, has also been invited but is unable to attend.
He told the Sunday Times: ‘My guess is that is must be a pretty positive result for them to be asking us out there.’
The Higgs boson is regarded as the key to understanding the universe. Physicists say its job is to give the particles that make up atoms their mass.
Without this mass, these particles would zip though the cosmos at the speed of light, unable to bind together to form the atoms that make up everything in the universe, from planets to people.
The collider, housed in an 18-mile tunnel buried deep underground near the French-Swiss border, smashes beams of protons – sub-atomic particles – together at close to the speed of light, recreating the conditions that existed a fraction of a second after the Big Bang.
If the physicists’ theory is correct, a few Higgs bosons should be created in every trillion collisions, before rapidly decaying.
This decay would leave behind a ‘footprint’ that would show up as a bump in their graphs.
However, despite 1,600 trillion collisions being created in the tunnel – there have been fewer than 300 potential Higgs particles.
Now it is thought that two separate teams of scientists, who run independent experiments in secret from each other, have both uncovered evidence of the particle.
However, the two groups, CMS and ATLAS, are expected to stop short of confirming its existence.
AMERICAN ACCELERATOR ALSO FINDS EVIDENCE FOR HIGGS BOSON
Physicists at a U.S. laboratory say are also close to proving the existence of the Higgs boson.
The announcement by the Fermi National Accelerator Lab outside Chicago came two days before physicists at CERN are set to unveil their own findings in the Higgs hunt.
The Fermilab scientists found hints of the Higgs in the debris from trillions of collisions between beams of protons and anti-protons over 10 years at the lab’s now-shuttered Tevatron accelerator.
But the evidence still fell short of the scientific threshold for proof of the discovery of the particle, they said, in that the same collision debris hinting at the existence of the Higgs could also come from other subatomic particles.
‘This is the best answer that is out there at the moment,’ said physicist Rob Roser of Fermilab, which is run by the U.S. Department of Energy. ‘The Tevatron 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 firm discovery.’
Physicists not connected to Fermilab expressed cautious optimism that the long-sought particle had finally been found.
‘These intriguing hints from the Tevatron appear to support the results from the LHC shown at CERN in December,’ said Dan Tovey, professor of particle physics at the University of Sheffield in Britain.
‘The results are particularly important because they use a completely different and complementary way of searching for the Higgs boson. This gives us more confidence that what we are seeing is really evidence of new physics rather than just a statistical fluke,’ Tovey added.
Tovey said scientists will have to wait until Wednesday for the latest results from the European scientists before ‘getting the full picture’ concerning the Higgs boson.