29 votes

CERN experiments observe particle consistent with long-sought Higgs boson

From the CERN Press Release:

“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 results are preliminary but the 5 sigma signal at around 125 GeV we’re seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found,” said CMS experiment spokesperson Joe Incandela. “The implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks."

More here

Liveblogging of announcement @ Guardian.co.uk

See also Reuters.

From NYT:

ASPEN, Colo. — Physicists working at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider said Wednesday that they had discovered a new subatomic particle that looks for all the world like the Higgs boson, a potential key to an understanding of why elementary particles have mass and indeed to the existence of diversity and life in the universe.

“I think we have it,” Rolf-Dieter Heuer, the director general of CERN, said in an interview from his office outside Geneva, calling the discovery “a historic milestone.” His words signaled what is probably the beginning of the end for one of the longest, most expensive searches in the history of science. If scientists are lucky, the discovery could lead to a new understanding of how the universe began.

more here

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Fully agree with this post

Particle science should not be painted with the same brush as economics and climate science.

Both economics and climate science have so much data to contend with, that they are forced to make broad generalizations to make the data understandable and to be able to work with it. But to make those generalizations, major assumptions needs to be made. And you know what they say about assumptions, assumption is the mother of all fuckups. It's the reason so many camps exist in economics and the picture where climate is concerned is so muddled.

But like this post said, particle science is a REAL science, where the main strengths of science, the ability to experiment and draw reliable conclusions from those experiments, can be used. It is extremely difficult to test a theory within the other sciences.

Haha

well said, sir. Thank you for your input.

I'll keep this mind.

No,

what is definite is that they DID find A particle, which would still make the research worth it. The question is if it's the Higgs particle responsible for mass.

False...

they did not...they've seen possible evidence that indicates the particle exists, but they haven't gone, "oh there is the particle!!!" This is in addition the your question posed...

As I've been reading up on it as of last night, a lot of the scientist talk on it have said something like this:

Senior CERN scientists say the two independent teams of physicists who plan to present their work at CERN's vast complex on the Swiss-French border on Wednesday are about as close as you can get to a discovery without actually calling it one.

"I agree that any reasonable outside observer would say, 'It looks like a discovery,' " British theoretical physicist John Ellis, a professor at King's College London who has worked at CERN since the 1970s, told the Associated Press. "We've discovered something which is consistent with being a Higgs."

There are more statements just like these...

So there still isn't 100% definitive discovery, just things that lead them to believe it's there. Could it mean one in the same? Sure, depending on your definition of actual discovery...so far, until it's seen it's still just a hypothesis that still needs testing.

I'm not saying it does or doesn't exist, I just think they can't claim "discovery" until they see it. Right now, they just think they do, which is why I made my Obama/economy statement.

False

They definitely discovered a particle. There aren't any other particles besides the Higgs that have been predicted to exist at the energy levels they've been investigating. They can't claim that the particle they have discovered is definitely the Higgs because the Higgs has certain properties that still need to be verified as pertaining to the newly discovered particle. But a new particle has been discovered. It already shows signs of being the Higgs by exhibiting certain properties (mass is within the range), but because physics isn't economics, physicists are are being extra cautious because they take seriously their credibility and even though they're within 5 sigma of certainty to claiming the particle is Higgs's, they're going to wait until they're ultra sure. It most likely is the Higgs, but because physicists are not social scientists, they don't jump the gun. This is a good thing, not something to look down on.

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself." - Thomas Jefferson

well then you confirm what i said

They haven't really found it...that's all I'm saying. None of them have said 100%, "we found it!" However, it's being played up with the greatest hype ever...look at everyone on here freaking out as it's 100% truth. Does the evidence point to it? Sure...Do i think they'll be able to definitively find it? I'm skeptical, but that's just me...I'm not anti-science, I just really hate the way this is being played up. It has all the markings of "global warming" scam to me...

but what do I know...I'm just a skeptic and a Ron Paul supporter! I don't trust the govt so easily, even with their science!

No matter what you try and figure out

there's always uncertainty. Find out what 5 sigma is to see the kinds of standards for truth and discovery that physicists have, and compare that to any other "science" like modern macro-economics.

If you really want to be sure about any opinion you might want to have, take a graduate course in particle physics. Make sure to do well in all the math per-requisites. Otherwise, your choice to believe either way is founded on more than shaky grounds. Not the kind of life I'd like to lead.

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself." - Thomas Jefferson

thanks again

you're very rational. I'll get right on taking a graduate course in physics *shakes head* I took 2 undergrad physics classes in college and stopped when I didn't have to take any more.

I understand the hesitance

of many in the public for wanting to be skeptical about science. The media has done a dastardly job of ruining people's impression of science like they've done for their impression of politics and economics. We know that when the media reports on politics that they're BSing, so when they talk about science we can be sure that they don't know what the hell they're talking about. I agree. That's why I don't look to the media to get my science news.

The media has created a false dichotomy in associating science with liberals and anti-science with conservatives/libertarians. Sadly, many who consider themselves liberals or conservatives have bought into the media narrative. Of course science says nothing to say with respect to the God question, but many liberals and atheists want to also claim that science has dis-proven God which is BS. It's great to be skeptical. If you met actual physicists, you'd find out that they're some of the most skeptical people you'd ever meet.

Here's a decent physics news site that I use and consider to be more reliable than any MSM outlet: http://physicsworld.com/cws/channel/news

It's great to be skeptical, but do your research. Good luck.

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself." - Thomas Jefferson

I just checked out a few articles on there

It seems pretty "balanced" (if you will). Doesn't have all the media hype around it and puts in a little more logical/balanced way.

No, not false

Merely a more accurate statement of your first post. It's true, you were right in saying that we can't say yet that the Higgs has been found. But only saying that alone doesn't paint the entire picture. You make it sound like they didn't find anything at all. They did find a boson, that can be said with great certainty. What John Ellis is saying, is that they don't know for certain if this boson is THE Higgs boson.

ah...no, that's not my intention

but yeah...I mean they definitely have compiled evidence that points to something. We just can't say it's been 100% been found yet, that's all. I just don't like how it's all being played up as they have 100% found it, when that's not really what the truth.

It is a Higgs boson. Is it "the" Higgs boson?

The question is whether the particle has the properties predicted by the standard model, most importantly, whether it has zero spin. If it does, that is exciting. If it does not, that is even more exciting.

Ĵīɣȩ Ɖåđşŏń

"Fully half the quotations found on the internet are either mis-attributed, or outright fabrications." - Abraham Lincoln

Higgs' boson

?

Free includes debt-free!

So much disinformation in this thread,

it's ridiculous. First of all, this has NOTHING to do with religion. It's perfectly possible for religion and science to live side by side. To bring religion into this topic shows a certain amount of insecurity.

While it's true that this discovery might add some insight into how the universe came to be, this discovery has nothing to do with explaining how life came to be. That's a separate topic altogether. And even the Big Bang theory does not necessarily have to contradict the creation theory. After all, the bible doesn't describe in detail how God created the universe. He might have done it through the Big Bang, who knows.

Now, it's true that some areas of science do directly contradict the bible. Like evolution. But like stated, this experiment has nothing to do with that and this discovery can still be compatible with biblical beliefs.
The main purpose behind this experiment, besides knowing how the universe came to be (which is a separate topic from knowing how life came to be), was to complete the standard model of particle physics. The Higgs Boson was the last piece of the puzzle and it's the particle that supposedly explains why things have mass (not to be confused with gravity, so no anti-gravity tech will result from this).

Now, this board has a certain amount of cynicism regarding science, which is understandable. But that is more the fault of the media that is unable to discern the worthiness of a scientist's reputation, experiment or is unable to correctly interpret the findings and its conclusions and ramifications. Also, readers themselves have been unable to correctly interpret what an article actually says. Not to say that the scientific process is flawless, since no man is perfect, so the scientific process isn't perfect either.

Take this recent news for example. The media has been unable to explain the significance of this recent news compared to past articles. Some people have dismissed this news as being the same as the other news articles that concern the Higgs. Former articles gave the impression that the Higgs was found and this new news article says a similar thing as well. So they dismiss this news as being the same. It's not. What makes this different, is that the findings were ascertained with a level of 5 Sigma. This is the level that is required for a finding to be seen as (most likely) true. Scientist can now be fairly certain that it's not a fluke and that a new boson has indeed been found. The headline is also incorrect in stating that the Higgs has been found. What has been found is a new particle. It's still in question if this new particle is actually the Higgs. It's highly likely seeing as it fits the predictions, but more research has to be done to see if this particle is actually responsible for mass.

Now certain people have dismissed this 5 sigma level, saying they need to come back after ascertaining 100% level of certainty. As I understand it 5 sigma denotes something different from certainty. And saying that you need 100% shows a certain lack of understanding of science (and probably general education as well). It is IMPOSSIBLE to ever ascertain things with 100% accuracy, due to Heisenbergs uncertainty principle. If you want an extreme example, even us experiencing this reality, may be because we are in something similar to the matrix. Making observations obtained with our eyes (like observing an apple) false. But we would never be able to prove it if this were the case, even if the chances are fairly remote. Another example is that we cannot say that a certain particle cannot exist, since it may well exist in the universe next door. If all we've ever seen are white birds, it doesn't mean that black ones don't exist somewhere else. Same principle with God. You can never prove that God doesn't exist.

As for the naming of the God particle, it has nothing to do with religion. A writer named it the Goddamn particle to denote how difficult finding the particle was, but a publisher changed it to God particle due to profanity.

As for science being a religion, yes and no. Those that believe in science can believe in it so strongly that it resembles religious belief. But such a person can never be a true scientist, since a true scientist must be open to many possibilities and has a belief system that is not rigid. While a certain element of belief or faith is certainly present within science, the beauty of it, is that it's not a rigid belief or unshakable faith. It can be changed or altered with new insights. You see, true science is interested in TRUTH. It discards formerly held opinions in favor of superior ones, should the findings of these new truths be deemed reliable. And in order to do this, these truths are constantly TESTED, something you won't see religion do very often. And these tests must be REPRODUCIBLE, meaning that if a truth is true, upon repetition a same result must come out of it. It's for these reasons that science has mostly replaced religion, because most religions have no truth seeking process that's quite as good as how science does it. And without those processes, the belief system comes in doubt, since they haven't been properly tested and verified.

Now above are broad generalizations about religion. Some people break that generalization, since there are many religious people actively seeking out the truth (through science). But IMO, those people are in a different class compared to people that just simply believe and make broad generalizations about science themselves without doing anything themselves. There's a vast difference in quality of opinions held by people who actually look into things and people who protect their own belief system, simply because they happen to believe it. It's similar to how RP people have more worthy opinions than Romney people, simply because they actually research the issues rather than sitting on their asses and let other people do the thinking for them.

Religion

Is a collective belief system that often give meaning to life. The Big Bang Theory is a hypothetical belief about the creation of the universe held by a collection of scientists. So, how is this not a religion?

Like I stated,

there is SOME element of faith and belief involved. But the theory itself is prone to change. I do believe the theory itself was modified several times and refined over time. New data may might still make it possible for the theory to be discarded altogether. But at the moment, data suggests it's the most reliable theory at the moment. It's not like they pull these theories out of their asses. They make computer simulations based on these theories based on their understanding of particle physics and compare it with telescope data.

The difference between a theory within science itself is vastly different from a regular theory in religion or common speech. A theory within science has been tested extensively before it even has a right to be called a theory. It's this extensive testing and verification that puts a scientific theory heads and shoulders above a normal theory from religious/normal people.

The Standard Model

has achieved the right to be a theory. The Big Bang Theory is a hypothesis that has had to be modified many many times because it is a huge failure. Dark Matter or Dark Energy were created in order to allow this hypothesis to continue, albeit under the name Cosmological Expansion Theory or something. Spending many billions on a particle accelerator to justify the latest hypothesis because it does gel with the Standard Model theory is what this is all about. What about spending billions to investigate the possibility that the 'Electric Universe' hypothesis is correct? At least this hypothesis would if shown to be correct would lead to something we could actually make use of.

There is some dissension regarding that

Some scientists state there's enough evidence for it to be called a theory. It's been one of the most extensively tested theories after all. And that it has been modified many times is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing. It clearly demonstrates why the field of science is different from religion, by employing new truths that have been discovered. But even extensive testing doesn't guarantee it to be true. It just makes it more likely.

As for the electric universe theory, it may be as you say that dogma interferes with researching it. Heck, even scientists are human. But humanity is not static, eventually this matter will be looked into as well. Science, even if crippled by dogma, is flexible at its core. It can be slowed down, but not stopped. If there's any truth in this theory, eventually, this truth will come out. Try having such an amount of progress with religion. Religion has been mostly static. Only science forced it to change some of its ways.

Also, this research is not only about the Big Bang theory. So it's not money wasted. It's also about the standard model like you just stated. Confirming the existence of ANY particle is worthwhile research.

Well said, Thank you

That's all

Thank you!

I would have written the exact same thing. Too many theist and atheist opportunists are jumping on this and trying to exploit the technicalities to pull wool over the laymen. This is a scientific discovery. Science says nothing with respect to the God question. If it did it wouldn't be science. Of course science and religion are compatible. Only insecure types on both sides make a deal out of things.

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself." - Thomas Jefferson

How Can the Bible and Science Coexist When...

"god" created eve from adams rib, and the earth in 6 days?

No offense to ANYONE here but it's all fantasy not backed by ANY facts.

PERIOD.

We just can't have it both ways in this case.

And besides why does a god who can do ANYTHING he wants take six days to create the world and continue to have petty human emotions like we say he has.

What "god" would ever be jealous or vengeful, even if he does "love us"?

Maybe that particular God

has some questionable properties, but for you to do a guilt-by association and dismiss any possible conception of God because of the few versions of God that you happen to know about is logically week. Truth is, you don't know if there is a God so quit pretending to be so sure.

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself." - Thomas Jefferson

I am non-religious and agnostic at best

so I don't know what you are referring to

I'm agnostic too

but you sound like an atheist in your comment.

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself." - Thomas Jefferson

LOL Such basic questions can't be answered!?

and yet we are supposed to believe it?

oh yeah, if we don't, we get sent to hell :(

great song!

thanks :)

reedr3v's picture

That was a terrific, clear explanation Jonat3,

thank you so much for cutting to the core in your brief post. I think your analogy between true scientists and those who seek truth in social/political/economic affairs is very good.

Structure of Scientific Revolutions

was a book written in the 60's (Thomas Kuhn) that caused a lot of controversy then but I believe is still just as relevant today. The main thrust of the thesis is that science is practised as a belief system (he uses the watered down term "paradigm") rather than as truly scientific method. Instead of looking to expand the scope of science by searching for new phenomena science only experiments to measure what they all already theoretically agree on to an even higher degree of accuracy. The Higgs Boson experiment assumes the existence of the Boson in order to find it. The problem becomes separating discovering something that already existed or creating something out of the conditions of the experiment. Peer review system and funding methods ensure this approach to science will never change.

If the Big Bang Theory is wrong we will NEVER KNOW until somehow they accidently measure something that cannot be explained within the existing paradigm (i.e. a scientific revolution). The problem is we are not looking to find things that break the paradigm, only support it!