higgs

Physics

Higgs-like Particle Discovered at CERN

4 Jul , 2012 by

Physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have announced the discovery of what they called a “Higgs-like boson” — a particle that resembles the long sought-after Higgs.

“We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature,” CERN director general Rolf Heuer told scientists and media at a conference near Geneva on July 4, 2012. “The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle’s properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe.”


Two experiments, ATLAS and CMS, presented their preliminary results, and observed a new particle in the mass region around 125-126 GeV, the expected mass range for the Higgs Boson. The results are based on data collected in 2011 and 2012, with the 2012 data still under analysis. The official results will be published later this month and CERN said a more complete picture of today’s observations will emerge later this year after the LHC provides the experiments with more data.

“We observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of 5 sigma, in the mass region around 126 GeV. The outstanding performance of the LHC and ATLAS and the huge efforts of many people have brought us to this exciting stage,” said ATLAS experiment spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti, “but a little more time is needed to prepare these results for publication.”

The discovery of the Higgs is big, in that it is the last undiscovered piece of the Standard Model that describes the fundamental make-up of the universe.

Scientists believe that the Higgs boson, named for Scottish physicist Peter Higgs, who first theorized its existence in 1964, is responsible for particle mass, the amount of matter in a particle. According to the theory, a particle acquires mass through its interaction with the Higgs field, which is believed to pervade all of space and has been compared to molasses that sticks to any particle rolling through it.

And so, in theory, the Higgs would be responsible for how particles come together to form matter, and without it, the universe would have remained a formless miss-mash of particles shooting around at the speed of light.

“It’s hard not to get excited by these results,” said CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci. “We stated last year that in 2012 we would either find a new Higgs-like particle or exclude the existence of the Standard Model Higgs. With all the necessary caution, it looks to me that we are at a branching point: the observation of this new particle indicates the path for the future towards a more detailed understanding of what we’re seeing in the data.”

A CERN press release says that the next step will be to determine the precise nature of the particle and its significance for our understanding of the universe.

Are its properties as expected for the long-sought Higgs boson, the final missing ingredient in the Standard Model of particle physics? Or is it something more exotic? The Standard Model describes the fundamental particles from which we, and every visible thing in the universe, are made, and the forces acting between them. All the matter that we can see, however, appears to be no more than about 4% of the total. A more exotic version of the Higgs particle could be a bridge to understanding the 96% of the universe that remains obscure. – CERN press release

“We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle’s properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe.”

Positive identification of the new particle’s characteristics will take more time and more experiments. But the scientists feel that whatever form the Higgs particle takes, our knowledge of the fundamental structure of matter is about to take a major step forward.

Lead image caption: Event recorded with the CMS detector in 2012 at a proton-proton centre of mass energy of 8 TeV. The event shows characteristics expected from the decay of the SM Higgs boson to a pair of photons (dashed yellow lines and green towers). The event could also be due to known standard model background processes. Credit: CERN

Source: CERN

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By  -        
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.



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SJStar
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SJStar
July 4, 2012 2:46 PM

Well done to CERN and the European Union, and the many European countries who has financed its operations.

IT EXISTS! Proving all the decades of scientific and research has been worthwhile.

Now I know why my feet are so firmly planted to the earth!

Note: It was especially clever to announce it on the 4th of July! Chalk up one for the rest of us, I’d think!

The Latinist
Guest
The Latinist
July 4, 2012 3:04 PM

A cavil: you know why you have mass, but you do not yet know why your feet remain planted; that would really require a verified quantum theory of gravity.

SJStar
Guest
SJStar
July 4, 2012 6:58 PM

Don’t you hate language? I’m 100% wrong in my statement, but logically there is still some credence to it.

Before I was made of protons, neutrons, electrons (and quarks) but I knew not why they had mass. Hence, gravity to these particles interacting as ‘mass’ were unknown. If the Higgs is confirmed, then I now know Higgs reacts with gravity to confirm mass. Ergo. I have mass therefore gravity can hold me to the ground.

Your quite right pointing to my flawed statement. Thanks!

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
July 5, 2012 2:24 PM
Well, mass is a mess. Mass is an emergent phenomena* created by interaction energies, of which there are many. So your description, while it is perfectly correct – we need the Higgs mechanism to get bound systems started by way of fundamental particles having mass – isn’t allowing for that the Higgs mechanism isn’t dominant. Our mass consists mainly of protons and neutrons, but they aren’t fundamental – quarks are. And when we look at a proton, only ~ 2 % is quark mass I hear. (See below how I don’t know how to estimate that myself – you need particle physics to do that!) The rest is then other interaction energies. These interaction energies comes from quarks… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
July 4, 2012 2:56 PM

To see the data as presented go to
http://indico.cern.ch/conferenceDisplay.py?confId=197461
LC

SJStar
Guest
SJStar
July 4, 2012 3:05 PM
An explanation of this conference appears at “The 36th International Conference on High Energy Physics will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, from 4–11 July.” http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/media-releases/highenergyjuly (“The biggest questions in physics to be answered in Melbourne in July.“) As said on this page; “Director General of CERN, Professor Rolf Heuer says “ICHEP is the most important conference in the particle physics calendar, and it’s great that it’s happening in Australia for the first time – a sign of that country’s growing stature in the field.” Melbourne, Australia is the place to be. The final presented paper is going to be presented by Rolf Heuer himself on the afternoon of the 11th July 2012. See the… Read more »
Wezley Jackson
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July 5, 2012 1:29 PM

Thank you. Thinking of you as others here are, my sincere condolences and wishing you and your family well.

bugzzz
Member
bugzzz
July 4, 2012 3:29 PM

The historical timing of this is interesting to me. I wonder if there have been other civilizations to arrive at this point (surely there have – the universe is vast and old). It feels like this stage of our technological development also coincides with the possibility of our merging with that same technology. It’s like the simultaneous end and beginning of an era.

HeadAroundU
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HeadAroundU
July 4, 2012 3:46 PM

Boss on Europe. :d

Lord Haw-Haw.
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Lord Haw-Haw.
July 4, 2012 3:57 PM

The media are abuzz with this development and it is refreshing to witness science back on the public agenda. Thank you Nancy Atkinson.

George Peterson
Guest
July 4, 2012 5:03 PM

Notice that the post on Dec 6, 2011 predicts a mass of 125.99 Gev/c sqr. with half a Z added to a W, as suggested initially by the sometimes controversial Lubos Motl on his blog earlier. When Maxwell discovered that 1/ sqr root of epsilon sub 0 times mu sub 0 equaled c, to ~ 5 sig figs…he recognized that couldn’t be a coincidence for a radio wave.
This “coincidence” is equally unlikely….SEE:http://www.bautforum.com/archive/index.php/t-125038.html?s=b7d9bb057e9b311ac239eec25319fd5e
pete

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
July 4, 2012 7:02 PM

The reason the Higgs had to be painstakingly researched is precisely because you can’t predicts its own mass from the standard model – it doesn’t couple proportionally as it does with other particles – and of course you see a whole slew of more or less serious articles that retrodict the earlier LHC exclusion. Which range was always preferred for theoretical reasons (easier physics).

hillsider62
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hillsider62
July 5, 2012 12:48 PM

What if the Higgs we are looking for is the same the mysterious dark matter?

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
July 5, 2012 2:34 PM
I think we can say from our armchair physics position that it can’t be, because: – The Higgs out of the field itself is short lived, see how fast it makes the jet in the image above. And so are the ones that gives Z & Ws masses because these aggregate particles are short lived too. – The Higgs field is a uniform scalar, or massive fundamental particles would have different masses in different places. But dark matter is denser around massive objects as seen by gravitational lensing. What has been suggested, I have seen it before, is that the Higgs field could have been the inflation field too. By being responsible for inflation as well it would… Read more »
Jeffrey Scott Boerst
Guest
July 5, 2012 8:04 PM
Do virtual particles have mass? Because, as space/time expands, I assume that the amount of Hadrons it contains remains constant, right? This suggests that the particles in the Universe are becoming more and more ‘diluted’ as they are ‘in’ more and more space… But what about the virtual particles created from, the Casimir–Polder field? The field, being a discrete part of space/time itself would expand with it, one would think, so wouldn’t that mean the number of these virtual particles is NOT static within the entire Universe, but indeed increasing with it? And if this is the case, could the mass of this increasing amount of virtual particles (foam) effect in some way the expansion rate? … Just… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
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Torbjorn Larsson OM
July 6, 2012 3:00 PM

[Doubled comment. My browser has problems with this page.]

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
July 6, 2012 3:03 PM

[Doubled comment.]

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
July 6, 2012 3:03 PM
The expansion rate is affected over time, by dark energy. Expansion is accelerating. To cut to the chase, the dark energy seems to be constant. So it looks nothing changes in relation to other things. [More detailed, the simplest prediction comes from vacuum energy being a “cosmological constant” dark energy. That ties back to the background which the resulting static and dynamic Casimir effects emerges from, somewhat like a van der Waal force analog. (They don’t emerge from a peculiar field, the known ones predicts this effect.) The vacuum contains all particle fields, and so all virtual particles. As for masses of virtual particles, it’s even a worse mess than other mass. See here. I haven’t studied quantum… Read more »
hillsider62
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hillsider62
July 6, 2012 3:31 PM

I really love this website!

Olaf
Member
Olaf
July 6, 2012 6:16 PM

But if everywhere in the universe we have the same number of virtual particles per cubic meter then gravitationally they cancel each others gravitational force out.

But as have understood the Higgs boson, it explains mass, but it does not explain gravity and it does not explain the relationship mass to gravitational force.

hillsider62
Guest
hillsider62
July 6, 2012 12:42 PM

Well, I am thinking that the colliding protons might have just hit the dark particles.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
July 6, 2012 2:43 PM

[Double post]

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
July 6, 2012 2:43 PM

I am sorry, I don’t understand the context with the collider experiments and I don’t understand the context with the previous question.

Dark matter is dark because it interacts little or not at all with EM and so interacts little with everyday, baryonic, matter. Protons are baryonic matter.

bfmorris
Member
bfmorris
July 4, 2012 6:44 PM

(“The biggest questions in physics to be answered in Melbourne in July.”)

I think this is typical press overstatement. I think the biggest questions are yet to come, because this week’s announcement about a fundamental, universe pervading field causes more questions than answers.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
July 4, 2012 7:49 PM
Hippity Higgs, Hurrah! Some early reflections from an outside view: – They did really well, better than expected, as both experiments achieved 5 sigma or just shy of it. No need to aggregate the data, and the Tevatron 2-3 sigma results released this week too are also suggestive. – What they didn’t handle well was the press release. Apparently they put up press videos leaking the result yesterday and press releases before the talks were finished, as well as collaboration members leaking. – The production rates and the different combinations of observed particles produced by the Higgs, the “channels”, are still somewhat rickety statistics. But they are all consistent with a standard Higgs. – If it is a… Read more »
Wezley Jackson
Guest
July 5, 2012 1:26 PM

Excellent post Torbjorn, informative and a good read -Thanks
Wezley

Jeffrey Scott Boerst
Guest
July 5, 2012 7:41 PM

Indeed! Thanks for the added info. I’m on pins and needles for more info updates on the ramifications.

Olaf
Member
Olaf
July 4, 2012 8:02 PM

What will the results be, now that we know that mass?
What kind of hypothesis can no be thrown in the garbage can?
Does this have an effect on string theory and different types of models like holographic universe?

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
July 4, 2012 8:18 PM
“Can not or can now is the question.” Good questions all. I suggested some consequences below. I don’t know if this is an exhaustive list, so I hope people pitch in: – They have to see if it is a standard Higgs by way of its parameters, hopefully before they shut down at year’s end for energy upgrade. – They need to check if it interacts proportionally with Standard Model particle’s energy. – All that is also informative on the question if we live in a future eternal or a long-lived universe. And if the latter case, which seems likely, on the dynamics responsible. – Such a standard Higgs suggest a supersymmetry scale just shy of the weak… Read more »
John Clinton
Guest
July 5, 2012 5:23 AM

maybe its funding polotics time

Mike Egan
Guest
Mike Egan
July 5, 2012 9:19 AM

Why does Higgs only interact with some particles and not others?

pollydextrous
Guest
pollydextrous
July 5, 2012 2:52 PM

Shouldn’t that question be: Why do some particles interact with the Higgs field and others don’t so much?

Olaf
Member
Olaf
July 5, 2012 5:15 PM

Some particles are more rough and causes more drag.
Other particles are more smooth and have almost no drag.

Ok I admit particles do not have a surface, but you get the idea.

One could also imagine it as having a parachute. Some particles have a big parachute others have a tine one, and some have none.

Nirmalendu Das
Guest
July 5, 2012 4:33 PM
About Higgs Particle. According to CERN report: the mass of Higgs particle is 12Gev. This was published as”Tantalizing Hints of Elusive Higgs Particle Announced {Update}, The long-sought Higgs boson is tied to the leading theory of how quarks, electrons and other particles get their mass , By Davide Castelvecchi | December 13, 2011 — — — “the LHC detectors have now reduced the allowed range further: Tonelli said that according to CMS data its mass cannot be greater than 127 GeV. That was not for lack of data—in fact, quite the opposite. “We were not able to exclude the range below 127 GeV because of excesses,” or more of certain particle by-products than would be expected in the… Read more »
Nirmalendu Das
Guest
July 5, 2012 4:52 PM
About Higgs Particle. According to CERN report: the mass of Higgs particle is 126Gev. This was published as”Tantalizing Hints of Elusive Higgs Particle Announced {Update}, The long-sought Higgs boson is tied to the leading theory of how quarks, electrons and other particles get their mass , By Davide Castelvecchi | December 13, 2011 — — — “the LHC detectors have now reduced the allowed range further: Tonelli said that according to CMS data its mass cannot be greater than 127 GeV. That was not for lack of data—in fact, quite the opposite. “We were not able to exclude the range below 127 GeV because of excesses,” or more of certain particle by-products than would be expected in the… Read more »
Olaf
Member
Olaf
July 5, 2012 5:17 PM

Ok I saw some quacks now claiming faster than light speed and time travel because of this. Facepalm

Mickey Schmidt
Guest
Mickey Schmidt
July 6, 2012 9:29 PM
All the discussions I have seen has brought several questions to mind. As I understand it the Higgs Boson (particle) is very heavy or massive. It must have a field surrounding it for ordinary matter to interact with to gain the property of mass. This field must pervade the universe as all detectable matter in it has mass (other than photons). Since the universe is expanding one would think that the Higgs field must also be expanding and thus becoming less concentrated per unit of volume. Wouldn’t this result in decreasing mass of all particles interacting with the Higgs field? What might the nature of this field be? Electro-magnetic or something altogether different? Just suppose a device could… Read more »
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