Tomorrow, at 9am EST, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland are expected to announce, with fairly strong certainty, that they have observed the Higgs boson “God” particle at a mass-energy of 125 GeV.
For just over a week, rumors have been rife that observations with 2.5 to 3.5 sigma certainty (96% to 99.9%) have been made. For it to be declared an actual discovery, however, a sigma level of five has to be recorded. A score on the higher end of the range, towards 3.5, would definitely have particle physicists, engineers, scientists, and philosophers jumping around excitedly, though. Perhaps more importantly, LHC has two detectors at the end of its 17-mile-long particle acceleration tunnel, and both have reportedly seen the Higgs boson: the CMS detector with sigma 2.5, and ATLAS with sigma 3.5. Thanks to the matching observations, “we’re moving very close to a conclusion in the first few months of next year,” said Oliver Buchmeuller, a senior member of the CMS detector team.
If the Higgs boson has been observed, its mass of 125 GeV will probably prove to be the most interesting factor. As you probably know, the Higgs boson is odd in that our Standard Model of particle physics postulates that it exists — and if it didn’t exist, the whole Model would be faulty. This would be troublesome because, so far, the rest of the Model has stood up incredibly well to the onslaught of science. Finding the boson particle, then, is a relief, but not fundamentally world-changing — unless its physical properties are “odd,” and at 125 GeV, the boson could be very odd indeed…
[continues at ExtremeTech]