What's the Latest Development?
New data analysis out of the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland has increased the likelihood that scientists have found the elusive Higgs boson, that most fundamental of particles which is thought to endow matter with mass. Sensors at the LHC have observed a Higgs decay, increasing the Higgs signal from 2.5 sigma to 3.1 sigma. Combining these results with earlier analysis from the LHC's ATLAS lab, the Higgs signal increases to 4.3 sigma. In other words, the signal has a 99.996 percent chance of being correct.
What's the Big Idea?
The greater surprise would be not finding the Higgs particle, say physicists who work at the LHC. The existence of the Higgs is predicted by the Standard Model, the best and most encompassing theory scientists have as to how the universe works. Were the Higgs particle not to be found, physicists would need to find a new explanation for why matter has mass. For now, the LHC is shut down for the winter. Scientists are currently meeting to determine at what power levels the collider will run at when it begins to run again in the spring.
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