I’m sure most of you have already seen the announcement. The LHC announced some preliminary results regarding the Higgs Boson this morning. Here’s the upshot:
- Both the ATLAS and CMS experiments (which are ostensibly independent) see something consistent with a Higgs with relatively high significance (3.6 for ATLAS and 1.9 for CMS) at about 126 GeV (about 135 times the mass of a proton).
- Even combining the results, this still falls shy of 5 which is the usual criterion for a “detection.” Still, these results are suggestive enough and consistent enough that I, for one, personally believe that we’ve seen the Higgs (and have a pretty good idea of its mass). The folks on the Nobel committee will probably wait until 5- before giving out a prize, and who knows who they’ll actually give it to.
- The mass of the Higgs is very consistent with what we expected from the Standard Model.
In tomorrow’s “Ask a Physicist” column, I’ll be doing a Higgs roundup. People should ask any and all questions about the discovery (the comments section below is as good a place as any), and I’ll answer as many as possible in the column.