US sees stronger hints of Higgs

Posted by on Jul 02, 2012 | Comments Off on US sees stronger hints of Higgs

 

Hints of the Higgs boson detected last year by a US “atom smasher” have become even stronger, scientists have said.

The news comes amid fevered speculation about an announcement by researchers at the Large Hadron Collider on Wednesday.

This 30-year hunt is reaching an end, with experts confident they will soon be able to make a definitive statement about the particle’s existence.

The evidence is piling up… everything points in the direction that the Higgs is there”

Prof Stefan Soldner-RemboldUniversity of Manchester

Finding the particle would fill a glaring hole in the widely accepted theory of how the Universe works.

The latest findings have come from analysis of data gathered by the US Tevatron particle accelerator, which was shut down at the end of last year.

Researchers squeezed the last information out of hundreds of trillions of collisions produced by the Tevatron – which was based at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Illinois – since March 2001.

The professor of physics at the University of Manchester, added: “At the Tevatron a lot of important work has been done over the last years… it has been essential for arriving at this stage.

“So yes, the Tevatron experiments should get recognition for that, even though the LHC will be the collider to provide the final proof that the Higgs exists.”

This final analysis of the data does not settle the question of whether the Higgs particle exists, but gets closer to an answer.

The scientists see hints of the boson in roughly the same part of the “search region” as the LHC – between the masses of 115 and 135 Gigaelectronvolts (GeV).

The signal is seen at the 2.9-sigma level of certainty, which means there is roughly a one in 1,000 chance that the result is attributable to some statistical quirk in the data.

Fermilab’s Rob Roser, co-spokesperson for the Tevatron’s CDF experiment, said: “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.”

Stefan Soldner-Rembold, spokesperson for the machine’s DZero experiment, told BBC News: “The evidence is piling up… everything points in the direction that the Higgs is there.”

 

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