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Final Analysis Suggests Tevatron Saw Hint of the Higgs Boson 184

ananyo writes with exciting news from the world of particle physics: "A hint of the Higgs boson, the missing piece in the standard model of particle physics, has been found in data collected by the Tevatron, the now-shuttered U.S. particle collider at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois. While not statistically significant enough in themselves to count as a 'discovery', the indications announced on 7 March at the Moriond conference in La Thuile, Italy, are consistent with 2011 reports of a possible standard model Higgs particle with a mass of around 125 GeV from experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland. The data is more direct evidence of the Higgs than the constraints on its mass offered by the precise W boson mass measurement reported on Monday. On a sad note, the find vindicates Tevatron scientists who campaigned unsuccessfully to extend the collider's run. The request was turned down by the Department of Energy but this last hurrah suggests that Tevatron might indeed have found the Higgs ahead of CERN's Large Hadron Collider if they'd secured the funding required. The Tevatron is currently being raided for parts."
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Final Analysis Suggests Tevatron Saw Hint of the Higgs Boson

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  • Thank you... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @10:51AM (#39274743)

    ...for not calling it the "God particle".

  • 50 years ago... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drachenfyre ( 550754 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:03AM (#39274851) Homepage

    50 years ago the U.S. could put a man into space. Today it can't.
    50 years ago the U.S. was at the forefront of particle physics. Today it isn't.
    50 years ago the U.S. started development of 3 different spacecraft on 5 different man rated rockets over a 7 year span. Today it's 10 years just to develop one.
    50 years ago the U.S. had a plane capable of traveling at Mach 3.35. Today it doesn't.

    I seriously feel bad for the future country my kids will inherit. It doesn't seem like we're moving in the right direction on the science and technology front.

  • by ganv ( 881057 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:07AM (#39274889)
    If the US had extended funding for the Tevatron, the accomplishment of finding the Higgs as the Tevatron neared retirement would have been nice for American high energy physics, but it would likely have been bad for the field more broadly. Having the Higgs discovery near the beginning of data acquisition at the LHC will provide publicity and a morale boost that will enhance the productivity of the field over many years.
  • by Sez Zero ( 586611 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:11AM (#39274917) Journal

    You americans trying to take the glory again?

    What could be more American than that?

    -- The Butler, Clue

  • Re:50 years ago... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daem0n1x ( 748565 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:21AM (#39274997)
    But think positive. You have plenty of lawyers, bankers and preachers!
  • Re:50 years ago... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:21AM (#39274999) Journal

    Well, 50 years ago, the U.S. could manufacture most of its own consumer electronics.
    50 years ago, the Federal Reserve hadn't ordered the printing of anywhere near the amount of money they have today, either.

    The reality is, yes, the United States is in a state of decline, after arguably having "peaked" somewhere in the 1950's or 60's. Today, you can't even buy a kid a model rocket or a chemistry set without someone limiting the sale or fretting that you might be a terrorist.

  • Re:50 years ago... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ifrag ( 984323 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:27AM (#39275053)
    And basically all that research and science was driven by the Cold War. Scientific research can't really justify the budget for this stuff based purely on potential for profit.
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:41AM (#39275181)
    First you have propose a decay scenario, several which exist for the Higgs. This scenario suggests what particle tracks will hit one of several hundred sub-detectors (several thousand in the LHC) for various angles and distances (lifetimes). And may have to be search for a wide set of rotations. Maybe only one per trillion collision events out of trillions recorded in petabytes of data. This is a multi-week supercomputer run for each scenario. An ambiguous result, the back to the drawing board, propose a new decay candidate and another calculation. Or as they plan do for half of every year, run the collider again to collect trillions more interesting collisions. Last years LHC proposed energy "bump" was only five contending events out of several trillion studied.
  • Re:50 years ago... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jedi Alec ( 258881 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @11:48AM (#39275271)

    Me not being able to tell whether this is satire or honest opinion scares the crap out of me...

  • Re:Urh Urh Urh! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:11PM (#39275499)

    The proper term is Muslim, racist.

  • by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:32PM (#39275765)
    No one is saying the Tevatron discovered the Higgs, or that it 'beat' the LHC. They're saying that now that they know what they're looking for, they found HINTS of it in their data.

    Fun Fact: People from all over the world worked at the Tevatron in Illinois. We should all be sad it's gone. Also, many Americans are now working at, and helping to fund the LHC.

    It's sad that these projects that bring us together in peace, get treated as if they were sporting events or yet another political pissing match.
  • Re:50 years ago... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jythie ( 914043 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:43PM (#39275899)
    As with all things, it is in the balance. A pure capitalist system and pure socialist one are equally dysfunctional, though pure capitalist ones actually do come out worse and historically are much less stable then their socialist counterparts. This is actually why we have so many examples of socialist countries in the world and very few capitalist ones, the socialist ones might not work well but they do work.. the capitalist ones tend to explode within a few decades or collapse into 3rd world expletive-holes.. or more commonly wealth quickly concentrates enough that a small group starts acting as a defacto economic planner anyway, so it decays into a hybrid system anyway.
  • Re:Thank you... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by O('_')O_Bush ( 1162487 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:45PM (#39275943)
    Christchurch is a name, Higgs Boson is a name, "The God Particle" is a popular media nickname (and not really justified), and coordinates are a description.

    Your analogy confuses these.

    If the local newspapers started calling Christchuch, "The God city.", I would still call it Christchurch.
  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:48PM (#39275981)

    Well, this was found long after the funding was gone and the Tevatron was being taken apart for other experiments, but you go on insinuating that they're simply lying.

  • by mu22le ( 766735 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @01:00PM (#39276137) Homepage Journal

    (and on LHC too) let me call the conclusions of the article bullshit.

    This last hurrah suggests that Tevatron might indeed have found the Higgs ahead of CERN's Large Hadron Collider if they'd secured the funding required.

    It took Tevatron 10 years to accumulate as enough data to reach a 4 sigma result (let us not discuss the statistical details). It would have taken years to reach the 5 sigma level. On the other hand LHC has obtained in one year almost as much data as Tevatron in 10. By summer 2012 the amount of data recorded by LHC will be an impossible goal for Tevatron to accomplish. It just made no sense at all to keep the old machine on.

    The sad thing is not that Tevatron has been shut down but that the USA government is not investing any money in using the Fermilab infrastructure for some awesome future project (I'd love to see them try a muon collider).

  • Re:50 years ago... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drachenfyre ( 550754 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @01:26PM (#39276463) Homepage

    You're right. Nothing ever came out of the space program, aerospace industry or particle physics labs that equated back to our day to day life.

    To quote JFK, "We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too"

    The U.S. learned from going to the moon. From building the tevatron and the A-12/SR-71. From the Manhattan project.

    It doesn't matter if the goals are social equality and food for all, or freeing ourselves from the Oil economy. What matters is the single, common and focused goals to drive projects and technology further. The type of projects that lead to new and better lives for everyone in it. The list of discoveries and advancements made *JUST* off of the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo projects would fill pages. It was not about putting a footprint on the moon. It was putting a footprint on the moon and learning everything we could about doing it. It was about the advancement in computers, radio, rocketry, electronics and a myriad of other fields. The A-12 project advanced our understanding of supersonic travel to a new level.

    The point is, I really think as a society, we've fallen into the prediction that John Steinbeck made at the height of the progress of the 60's.

    "We now face the danger, which in the past has been the most destructive to the humans: Success, plenty, comfort and ever-increasing leisure. No dynamic people has ever survived these dangers."

  • Re:50 years ago... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TKane ( 1069880 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @01:38PM (#39276599)
    50 years ago the highest marginal tax rate was 89 percent.
  • by Herr Brush ( 639981 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @01:45PM (#39276671)
    Are you asking the Europeans or the Americans?
  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @03:47PM (#39278497) Homepage

    Er, not finding the Higgs Boson -- when we would be able to find it if with the LHC if it existed anywhere in the range allowed by the Standard Model -- would not leave us in the same place we started. We started not knowing if this final prediction of the Standard Model would be borne out or not. We'd end up knowing that the Standard Model was incorrect beyond those predictions that had already been verified, and that there was new physics that would have to be explored in order to find out how massive particles get their mass.

    This would be very exciting for many people. Ruling out the Higgs would open the door for a lot of new avenues of research.

    Probably the least exciting thing that could happen is that we verify the existence of the Higgs at ~125 GeV, and then find nothing else.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell