Data analysis ‘strongly indicates’ particle is Higgs boson – CERN

14 Mar 2013

This track is an example of simulated data of a decay path of the Higgs boson that may be observed at the LHC when it started taking data in 2008. The Higgs boson is produced in the collision of two protons and quickly decays into four muons. CERN image

An analysis of data pertaining to an elementary particle found in the atom-smashing Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in July “strongly indicates” it is the elusive Higgs boson subatomic particle, The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, said today.

Teams from ATLAS and CMS analysed 2.5 times more data than was available in July in an effort to determine the existence of what is popularly referred to as the ‘God particle’, as well as gain information about its behaviour.

Whether or not it is a Higgs boson, believed to be the particle that gives matter to mass, is demonstrated by how it interacts with other particles, and its quantum properties, CERN said.

For example, a Higgs boson is postulated to have no spin, and in the Standard Model its parity – a measure of how its mirror image behaves – should be positive.

“CMS and ATLAS have compared a number of options for the spin-parity of this particle, and these all prefer no spin and positive parity. This, coupled with the measured interactions of the new particle with other particles, strongly indicates that it is a Higgs boson,” CERN said in a statement.

CMS spokesperson Joe Incandela deemed the preliminary results with the full 2012 data set as “magnificent”.

“It is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is,” Incandela said.

To determine if this is the Standard Model Higgs boson, the collaborations have, for example, to measure precisely the rate at which the boson decays into other particles and compare the results to the predictions, CERN added.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic