So … They Probably Found The Higgs

Crossposted from the Scimatic blog.

One of the first blog posts I wrote for Scimatic, back 3 1/2 years ago, was about the LHC and the Higgs Boson. At the time, I had some doubts about whether or not it was a good idea to put all our physics eggs in one giant CERN basket, and I think those concerns are still justified.

However, I didn’t think at the time it would only take 3 and 1/2 years for the LHC experiments to announce that they’d found the Higgs.

It looks like that’s what they’ve done, though. There is a Higgs update seminar scheduled for tomorrow 9 AM Geneva time (July 4th? C’mon!) that you can watch <a href=”http://webcast.web.cern.ch/webcast/”>here</a> if you’re interested. Based on the rumours that CERN has invited <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Higgs”>Peter Higgs</a> to attend, as well as other prominent theorists who worked out the <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_mechanism”>Higgs mechanism</a>, signs point to a positive result.

If they’ve found the Higgs, it’s a tremendous achievement for the two LHC experiments, especially to have done it so quickly. I was used to these types of results taking many years to analyse (hence my extra-long stay in grad school). The Higgs seems to me to be the “win-win” of the LHC — either you find it (Great! that’s why we built the LHC!) or you don’t (Great! that means there’s super-exciting “new physics” lurking just around the corner!), but to get to an answer this quickly is a real testament to the scientists at these experiments.

Man, I hope they announce a positive result, or this will all look sound a bit foolish.

As a post-script, there’s a discussion that the analyses are using a “blind” approach, where they “open the box” right at the end of the analysis. As far as I know, my thesis experiment was the first high-energy experiment to use this technique. Nice to see it propagated.

So … They Probably Found The Higgs