Thursday, June 28, 2012
There are reasons for the "Higgsteria»
The desire and anxiety to find the Higgs boson is such that whenever there is any indication, however small, that the expected announcement may occur, a wave of unrest goes through the scientific world. The Higgs boson, the particle responsible for all other mass in the Universe, is also one of the major goals of modern physics.
Confirmation of its existence (or not) after 40 years of research will lead to some answers, but mostly many more doubts and questions and, perhaps, a revolution of knowledge. The latest rumors on the subject suggest that the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) can do the expected announcement in early July during the International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) held in Melbourne, Australia.Physical consulted agree that yes, an announcement in this regard will result in such an important meeting, although its contents remains to be seen and, of course, still cannot anticipate anything. "We are working" is, in short, his message. The excitement has been triggered so that we can speak of "Higgsteria," a pun which has been defined with great success the magazine New Scientist.
The "Higgsteria" is fueled by the evidence, rumors, anticipation and above all, by the hope that the mystery of elusive Higgs has finally an ending. The Higgs, whose existence was predicted in 1964 by British physicist Peter Higgs, is the latest subatomic particle to be discovered to complete the standard model. All forecasts indicate that, in the case, that finding God will show this year.
In March 2011, an internal note of researchers from the Atlas detector (one of four that make up the LHC, the European particle accelerator large), which referred to the observation of a resonance at 115 GeV, which could be a signal, unleashed all kinds of speculation, especially on the Internet. A thorough analysis of the data showed that these lights in the dark were just a mirage. Nothing at all.
He had to keep looking and they did. In December 2011, the Atlas detector and one of the "God machine", the CMS, they found the 'signature' of what could be the Higgs, if only it was a sign, a reflex. Physicists, always cautious, warned that it took more and more tests to reach a final conclusion. But the Higgs is no longer hiding, restricted to a very specific energy range, about 125 GeV. If it's there, it should appear.
In recent days, rumors that the announcement of his discovery could occur soon, coinciding with the international meeting of physicists in Melbourne early next month, have circulated so fast they would blush to shame and neutrinos. Especially specialized blogs have served as vehicles to spread all kinds of comments, but also other prestigious media as "The New York Times" touched the subject. The American newspaper claimed that a group of scientists at CERN takes several days secretly met to discuss a new data packet.
Mario Martinez Perez, ICREA professor and principal investigator of the LHC Atlas experiment at the Institute of High Energy Physics (IFAE) at the Autonomous University of Barcelona is one of the scientists are looking for the Higgs. "CERN will certainly plans to make an announcement at the conference are the highlight of the year and everyone expects it. Can be exactly 4, or may be a day before or a day later, and who knows what they will say, but the two experiments are now working hard to achieve results that communicate using all data " says.
The truth is that physicists both Atlas and the CMS strive to filter and analyze thousands of collisions of particles to draw conclusions that cannot be discussed. "The data we have (in the Atlas experiment) are interesting, but we have to conclude the analysis of the data in the coming days," added Martinez Perez. "With all the caution of the world, I am optimistic, but we have to compare our results with those of CMS." This listing does not occur final in July, but what I do is completely convinced that the physical is the resolution, whatever it is, will arrive before year end. The same thought Javier Cuevas, a researcher at the University of Oviedo in the LHC CMS experiment. "To give a definitive answer would be a very important step in understanding the structure of matter and the understanding of the Universe, and close a problem of almost 50 years has a lot of work" he says. "The expectations are tremendous."
The difficulty in finding the Higgs is due to two factors. "On one hand has a very high mass, so to create it requires a large energy accelerators, and otherwise appeared during collisions between particles can be easily confused," says Bartolome Alles Salom, a theoretical physicist and researcher at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Pisa (Italy).
A new physics
If the Higgs boson appears will complete the standard model of physics, but may have properties that were not covered by current theoretical models. "The theory behind the Higgs mechanism is not fully understood in all its mathematical aspects. It could be possible that what is found is a particle that behaves like a Higgs boson (generating the masses of other particles) but that does not involve the particle that the English physicist imagined, but another, "says Alles Salom.
And if it is not will be even more serious because it will head down what we know about the interactions between elementary particles, which is called standard model. "This would be even more interesting, because that would mean we were wrong, that there is something we do not understand and would be a revolution, but perhaps we are closer to finding that failure to find," says Martinez Perez. Can be time for new physics? Knowing this is only a matter of time.
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