Higgs Boson Confirmation Achingly Close

'Pretty vanilla,' says one researcher of announcement
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2013 1:56 AM CST
Higgs Boson Confirmation Achingly Close
This undated image made available by CERN shows a typical candidate event including two high-energy photons whose energy (depicted by red towers) is measured in the CMS electromagnetic calorimeter.   (AP Photo/CERN)

Thousands of checks have scientists inching ever closer to confirming that last July's discovery at the Large Hadron Collider was in fact the Higgs boson, reports the AP. The researchers say there's still one possibility they want to eliminate before declaring they are 99.9% positive: that it's a graviton, another subatomic particle associated with gravitational fields (but not mass). If the particle has no internal spin, that pretty much confirms it is a Higgs boson. "It looks more and more like a Higgs boson," said one scientist at the European Center for Nuclear Research yesterday.

To which Adam Mann replies "yawn-fest" in Wired. The big discovery last July was exciting, but now, as scientists slowly sift through the data, all they're doing is confirming the standard model Higgs—no signs of any new particles, and that's making "some physicists a bit nervous," he writes. He zeroes in on one of the things they were hoping for: "a signature of a theory known as supersymmetry, which pairs all known particles with a heavier but nearly identical partner, of which there is still no clear evidence." "Big analysis of the new data on the Higgs boson, and—it’s looking pretty vanilla," tweeted one researcher. (More Higgs boson stories.)

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