It seems strange that it’s all the way over here in Chicago that the Higgs boson “God particle” may have been successfully detected when its CERN, halfway across the world, that’s most famous for attempting to detect it. As it turns out though, the announcement today shows that what scientists at Fermilab, near Chicago, have found is extremely similar to what the Large Hadron Collider has already detected, making this not just an exciting discovery, but one that can be repeated in a lab. The “God particle”, for those of you unaware, is one which scientists suggest will prove how particles gained mass in the original “Big Bang”, this quest for its discovery quite possibly one of the most important scientific projects in our short history here on earth.
It’s the weight of the Higgs particles that have been found at Fermilab that compare with what’s been found already at CERN, both of the groups “hot on the trail” of the Higgs boson with this latest portion of the search going on now for the past 10 years. The presentation of what’s been found at Fermilab thus far was made by Rob Roser, a physicist at Fermilab, presenting this Wednesday at a conference in La Thuille, Italy.
Roser noted that “Unfortunately, this hint is not significant enough to conclude that the Higgs boson exists” and that the the probability that what they’ve detected is a real Higgs boson and not a fluke is up to 1 in 250. While that may seem like pretty good odds to the lay person, a threshold of 1 to 740 is what’s established widely accepted physics rules to establish proof of a sub-atomic particle’s existence.
Thus far the scientists at Fermilab have produced over 1,000 Higgs particles over the course of 10 years, this coming from analyzation of over 500 trillion sub-atomic particle collisions done during that same period of time. As Roser notes:
“We’ve used up most of our data. We’ll do a few more experiments and try to have a final answer in June.” – Roser
[via Chicago Tribune]