CERN says latest data analysis confirms Higgs boson find

Posted Mar 14, 2013 by JohnThomas Didymus
After last summer's announcement that they may have discovered the Higgs boson popularly called the "God particle," CERN physicists announced Thursday that the latest results of data analysis confirm they have found the Higgs boson.
Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN
Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN
According to a press release issued on March 14, analysis of data obtained from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator confirms that it was the Higgs and not some new exotic particle or a "super Higgs" that was found.
CERN scientists say that after having analysed more data, the particle they discovered last July "is looking more and more" like the Higgs boson believed to be at the center of the physical mechanisms that give mass to elementary particles. However, it is still not certain if it is the Higgs boson predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics or whether it is one of "several bosons predicted in some theory that go beyond the Standard Model."
The scientists say that the final verdict will come from studying how the new particle interacts with other particles and further elucidation of its quantum properties such as its spin and parity. After having examined available data for the spin-parity of the particle, scientists believe that the particle has no spin and that it has a positive parity. Also, measurements of its interactions with other particles so far indicate that its properties are consistent with those of the Higgs boson.
CERN scientists say that to determine if it is the Standard Model Higgs boson, they will need to measure precisely the rate at which the boson decays into other particles and compare the results to theoretical predictions. However, they will need more data to carry out the required measurements.
Reuters notes that in recent months, prior to the latest announcement, there have been rumors that the particle might be some sort of "super-Higgs."
But David Charlton, spokesman for the ATLAS experiment team, one of the teams working on the Higgs project, said the latest analysis suggests the particle is a Standard Model Higgs.
Charlton said: "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 program in the Higgs sector."
The spokesman of the CMS experiment, the second team working on the Higgs project, said: "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."
Reuters reports physicist Brian Petersen, working with Atlas, said: "It does look like the SM (Standard Model) Higgs boson."
His statement was supported by Colin Bernet of the CMS group: "So far, it is looking like an SM Higgs boson."
Digital Journal reported that a paper by Ian Low et al. at Cornell University had cast doubt on the identity of the particle CERN scientist announced as consistent with the "standard model Higgs boson," that is, the Higgs boson predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics. Low et al called for caution and CERN scientists admitted that while "the new resonance discovered by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) could be the long-sought Higgs boson of the Standard Model," it was still uncertain that it is the "standard model Higgs."
Digital Journal noted at the time that,
Distinguishing between a standard model Higgs boson and a more exotic variety is important because the "standard Higgs" is required to fill in the gaps in the Standard Model of particle physics that is the most widely accepted theoretical model of the physical universe. A new exotic particle that exhibits properties similar to the standard Higgs but which also exhibits other properties inconsistent with the "standard Higgs" may lead to a need for extensive review of the Standard Model of particle physics and a new theoretical picture of the universe that invalidates some of the premises on which current theory is based.
After the initial excitement and media fanfare that followed the announcement that CERN scientists may have discovered the Higgs boson last summer, they settled down to taking a closer look at the data to see if it matches what is expected of the standard model Higgs boson or if they had discovered a new exotic particle that will ultimately challenge the currently accepted standard model worldview.
According to Digital Journal, Joseph Lykken, Fermilab theoretical physicist, explaining the significance of the Higgs boson, said that for most physicists it is "at the center of why the universe is here in the first place."
Physicists postulate the Higgs boson to explain how particles acquire mass. According to Digital Journal, scientists picture the Higgs particle and the associated Higgs field as conferring mass on particles by acting "as a kind of sticky molasses that slows them down and keeps them from moving at the speed of light."