Higgs boson, you can run but you can't hide

The hunt for the Higgs boson thickens as U.S. scientists find further evidence of the mass-imparting particle that closely matches experiments from the Large Hadron Collider.

Superconducting Radio Frequency (SRF) Cavities like this one are used to boost particle beam energies. Fermilab/Department of Energy

Physicists based in the U.S. today presented evidence of the Higgs boson particle that correlates closely with European researchers' work at the Large Hadron Collider.

Researchers released an analysis of 10 years worth of data from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, which provide more hints of the Higgs boson, but not a conclusive finding.

The data, presented at a physics conference in Italy, indicate that the particle could exist at a mass of between 115 gigaelectronvolts and 135 gigaelectronvolts. This result is consistent with the last December's finding from CERN's Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland which narrowed down the Higgs Boson's mass to about 125 gigaelectronvolts .

Experiments at the Tevatron particle collider in Illinois are not statistically significant enough to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson where scientists theorize it is. But the data analysis did exclude some mass ranges and gives scientists more confidence they are closing in on the famously elusive Higgs boson.

"The end game is approaching in the hunt for the Higgs boson," Jim Siegrist, associate director of science for high energy physics at the Department of Energy said in a statement. "This is an important milestone for the Tevatron experiments, and demonstrates the continuing importance of independent measurements in the quest to understand the building blocks of nature."

The Higgs boson is thought to give mass to other particles. It's a crucial, and thus-far missing, piece in the so-called Standard Model of physics, a theory that explains the interactions of subatomic particles.

To search for the Higgs boson, scientists smash particles together and measure their decay into smaller, lighter particles. Because the decay from the proton/anti-proton collisions done at the Tevatron is too fast to detect, scientists study the path of these secondary particles to see whether they provide evidence of the Higgs boson.

Further tests at the Large Hadron Collider are planned for later this year, which could make the presence of the Higgs boson more definitive. Today's announcement "makes it a little bit more likely that we're going to end the year with a discovery rather than an exclusion," University of Oxford physicist Tony Weidberg from the Large Hadron Collider told the BBC.

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About the author

Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.

 

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