The Large Hadron Collider takes us
one big step closer to finding the Higgs boson
Back in December, CERN physicists announced that
they had probably spotted the long-awaited Higgs boson - at
least, there was a 99.7% chance that they had. Now they've
examined the data again, and it's looking even better for the
The December results came from the Large Hadron
Collider's two independent experiments, ATLAS and CMS. While
both potential sightings were promising, neither met the
accepted standard for an actual discovery, which is known as a
5-sigma result. A 5-sigma result means there's only about a 1 in
a million chance that the finding is the result of error or
random fluctuation in the data.
All the individual results hovered around the
2-sigma level, which together combined for a joint 3-sigma
result. That meant there was only a 0.3% chance the results were
in error. That's impressive, but it's well short of 1 in a
million. Well, we can now close that gap quite a bit, as
physicists on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) have reexamined
their original results and upgraded their Higgs signal from
2.5-sigma to 3.1-sigma.
When combined with the ATLAS results, that gets
us all the way to 4.3-sigma, which means there's a 99.996% of
the Higgs really being there in the data. That's still short of
the 5-sigma standard, but it's a lot closer than where we
thought we were in December. With the Large Hadron Collider due
to go back online this spring, there's a very real chance that
2012 could end up being the year of the Higgs.
Image by Michael Hoch, © CERN.
Come From The Future
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Newest