They Found It!
|Results from the CMS Experiment. Curve shows probability of a detection being found by chance.||Results from the ATLAS Experiment.|
This isn’t going to be a long post, because I think you knew what was coming. Earlier this morning, both the ATLAS and CMS experiments announced an official detection of the Higgs Boson at around 125-126 GeV. The working assumption is that this is a so-called “standard model Higgs,” (a distinction which doesn’t matter for most people), but it may have interactions with other particles that we don’t yet know about.
This is an absolute triumph for the Standard Model of Physics, and an enormous freaking deal in general. Congratulations to both teams, and to the physicists who predicted the existence of the Higgs half a century ago: Phil Anderson, Robert Brout, Francois Englert, Carl Hagen, Gerry Guralnik, Peter Higgs and Tom Kibble.
A few very useful links:
- The official CERN Press Release.
- The ATLAS announcement.
- The CMS announcement.
- A live blog of the announcements from the Resonaances Blog.
- The NY Times writeup, with a nice pedagogy article as well.
- Tomasso Dorigo’s Blog about the announcement. Dorigo works on the CMS experiment.
Here are some older articles of mine explaining what the Higgs does, and why it’s important:
- “What the Matter with the Higgs Boson?” (in which I explain the importance of it and describe the now-irrelevant consequences of not finding it)
- “Did they really detect the Higgs Boson?” (in which I do a Q&A of common questions about the Higgs and discuss the December results)
- A more technical discussion about the statistics of discovering particles.
- “Stop Calling it the God Particle” (my article from yesterday in which I give a bit of petulant advice to the press).
Happy 4th, people