The Higgs Boson has not been discovered (again, in the same place)

Data from Fermilab's shuttered Tevatron accelerator seems to support the data released by CERN last December. These two different accelerators are both seeing a signal that could be the Higgs Boson in roughly the same place. To quote the New York Times: "It has led to a joke in physics circles now: The Higgs boson has not been discovered yet, but its mass is 125 billion electron volts." (Via dsut in Submitterator)

17

  1. “It has led to a joke in physics circles now: The Higgs boson has not been discovered yet, but its mass is 125 billion electron volts.”

    Ha ha! Good one.

    (I actually don’t get it but I’m afraid to look stupid in front of the physicists.)

    1.  Basically:

      They’re, like, 99.99% certain that they’ve observed HB. (Precisely this much. It’s a lot of math they’ve done on their observations.) But in order to call it done and get on with it, they need to be 99.999% certain, because that’s the standard. (I’m simplifying, work with me.)

      So they can describe it, but they can’t say they know.

      1. “Are you extra-super-duper-sure?”
        “Well… not yet.”
        Kind of ironic how small-C conservative science can turn out to be. Has a 4-sigma result ever failed to reach the 5-sigma level?

        1. Nobody wants to be “that guy” who is too excited about a discovery that later turns out to be false. It ruins careers.

          And especially in high-stakes science like this, other scientists will be champing at the bit to disprove whoever is the first to claim they’ve discovered something.

          Being conservative about your findings is drilled into science students at every phase. You must always question your results even if you’re certain. In theoretical physics that means even if you’re 99.99% certain; in other fields it’s not always that critical.

          1. Oh, I know. And I’m glad it’s like that. It’s just funny that the conservatives in this country are the ones more likely to oppose science.

        2. Yes. It is expected to happen about 1 in every 16,000 tests. Higgs boson existance is something we don’t want to be wrong about, even at those odds.

    1. “[They] Have always existed / They’ve just been waiting in a mountain / For the right moment”

  2.  With apologies to T S Eliot.

    The Higgs Boson’s a Mystery, man.  It’s called the Hidden Quark– 
    For it’s the master criminal which can defy the Law.
    It’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair:
    For when they reach the scene of crime–the Higgs Boson’s not there!

    Higgs Boson, Higgs Boson, there’s nothing like the Higgs Boson,
    It’s broken every human law, it breaks the law of gravity.
    Its powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
    And when you reach the scene of crime–the Higgs Boson’s not there!
    You may seek it in the basement, you may look up in the air–
    But I tell you once and once again, the Higgs Boson’s not there!

      1.  And a testament to my lack of gayness that I have no idea what you’re talking about?

        But, seriously, I haven’t seen the musical.  I do have the book of poems.

Comments are closed.