Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Higgs Getting To Be More "Real"?

Further analysis of the data out of LHC's CMS detector increases the confidence level that was reported earlier.

First, there are no new data in there — the LHC stopped colliding protons back in November, and these latest results are just rehashes of that earlier run. In the case of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), physicists have been able to look at another possible kind of Higgs decay, and that allows them to boost their Higgs signal from 2.5 sigma to 3.1 sigma. Taken together with data from the other detector, ATLAS, Higgs’ overall signal now unofficially stands at about 4.3 sigma. In other words, if statistics are to be believed, then this signal has about a 99.996% chance of being right.
Of course, no one is declaring a discovery yet, and they shouldn't. Everyone is waiting for the LHC to get back online with, hopefully, a higher energy that will generate more data and more statistics. It has to be at least 5-sigma from both CMS and ATLAS, together and separately, I would think, for most high energy physicists to consider the Higgs as being discovered.


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