Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Birthday, Higgs Boson!

In case you weren't up when they made the announcement.....

Discovery of Higgs boson is announced.

“As a layman, I would now say, I think we have it,” said CERN director-general Rolf-Dieter Heuer. “It’s a historic milestone today. I think we can all be proud, all be happy.” Both CMS and ATLAS, the two main LHC Higgs-hunting experiments, are reporting a boson that has Higgs-like properties at a mass of 125 gigaelectronvolts (GeV) with a 5-sigma significance, meaning they are 99.999 percent confident of its existence.

At the first mention of 5-sigma by physicist Joe Incandela, who presented results from one of the main Higgs-searching efforts at the LHC, the audience burst into applause. “It was really a magnificent moment to see the reaction from the community,” he said later in a question and answer session. “Emotionally it didn’t really hit me until today because we have had to be so focused, and so much work to do.”
A lot of work still needs to be done. As with the discovery of the Top quark where even years later, measurements were still done to refine all the properties and decay channels associated with it, the Higgs will undergo the same continuing scrutiny for years to come to understand it even more and with higher accuracy.

But now, the most difficult part that will come next is deciding who should get the Nobel prize not only for this discovery, but also for the theory that produced the Higgs. Considering that the Nobel prize is limited to 3 individuals, and there are at least 4 theorists who can equally claim for the theoretical formulation for it, this is not going to be an easy an enviable task.


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