Slugger O'Toole

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“that damned elusive particle…”

Sat 24 July 2010, 4:07pm

Earlier this week there was unfounded speculation that the Tevatron particle collider at Fermilab had already discovered the Higgs boson.  But if their funding is continued, and it probably will be, they could still take that particular prize ahead of the Large Hadron Collider at Cern.

Understandably in the circumstances, all scientific eyes have been on the International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) in Paris this weekend.

The Guardian’s Science Blog’s Jon Butterworth is there

In the final session of the day we had presentations on the Higgs searches at the Tevatron particle collider at Fermilab in the US. Surprise, surprise – the room was packed (see photo above). I wonder why the organisers didn’t use one of the bigger rooms. They can’t have been taken unawares by the level of interest, surely?

Anyhow, what we saw were the component parts of a number of different searches for that damned elusive particle, carried out independently at the CDF (Collider Detector at Fermilab) and DZero experiments.

What is obvious is that no one is going to announce a clearcut observation of the standard model Higgs at this conference. What is not clear yet is how close we are, how much room the Higgs has left to hide in, and whether there are any hints of its presence. These questions will be answered at the plenary session on Monday, apparently, when the combined results of both colliders and all their different techniques will be shown.

Here’s a good introduction to the Standard Model of Particle Physics from Cern News – it’s the first in a series of videos.

Of course, there may be further wrinkles ahead…

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Comments (11)

  1. lover not a fighter (profile) says:

    I am pretty sure I have got one of those Higgs boson yokes at the back of the shed behind a load of stuff.

    I will give ya the loan of it if you promise to bring it back because it might come in handy even if I never use it !

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  2. Fearglic (profile) says:

    Lover naf That’s MINE someone nicked it from my coal bunker 10 years ago. Give it back. I need to find my elusive particle

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  3. lover not a fighter (profile) says:

    No it was originally my Great Great Grandaddies ! but coincidentally he was a coal digger which is not that different from a “collider”

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  4. joeCanuck says:

    there may be further wrinkles ahead…

    I’d bet money on it. We are chasing ghosts that won’t be found. I don’t believe in the big bang, of course. I go with Hoyle, Gold and Bondi – steady state. We see it happening all the time; some stars dying, new ones being created. Cracking good engineering all the same.

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  5. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Joe

    Hoyle’s ‘steady state’ hypothesis doesn’t fit the observable universe.

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  6. joeCanuck says:

    Pete,
    There are problems with all the theories. Much depends on how we interpret what we see. For example, if the red shift is due, not (just) to the velocity of apparently receding galaxies but simply a degradation due to the distance the EM waves have travelled, it’s a whole different ball game. Such wavelength stretching occurs in cables that we send analogue telephone signals through which is why repeaters are needed to reconstruct the signal. That has nothing to do with the speed of the signal, just the distance travelled.It could help explain the “missing” dark matter which was conjectured to account for an apparent anomaly of stars at the outer regions of distant galaxies moving faster than the current standard cosmological theories says they should.
    We are going to need another genius of Einstein’s calibre to come up with something new.

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  7. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    “It could help explain the “missing” dark matter which was conjectured to account for an apparent anomaly of stars at the outer regions of distant galaxies moving faster than the current standard cosmological theories says they should.”

    Good luck with that hypothesis…

    But you’d better do some further reading on why that’s an observed anomaly.

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  8. joeCanuck says:

    Just speculating out loud, Pete. I would have no hope of proposing a testable hypothesis.
    We could start waxing philosophically about reality. Does it exist or does it derive solely from our minds and how we interpret what we see, however imperfectly?

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  9. Such wavelength stretching occurs in cables that we send analogue telephone signals through which is why repeaters are needed to reconstruct the signal.

    There is no wavelength stretching in telephone cable – repeaters are required because of signal attenuation. Red shift is a completely different process.

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  10. joeCanuck says:

    Quite correct, Andrew. My mistake; it’s the waveform that gets stretched. If you send a square wave signal down the wire it, at distance, it looks more like a bell curve. I’ve done the experiment at Uni.
    As you say, the wavelength, or its inverse, the frequency, doesn’t change.

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  11. [...] It’s not clear how much Cern’s decision has been influence by the absence of extended funding for the Fermilab’s Tevatron accelerator – which had been expected to be the LHC’s main competitor in the race to find evidence of the Higgs boson. [...]

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