In the high energy physics community, rumor and speculation is rife that Large Hadron Collider scientists will announce the discovery of the Higgs boson during the International Conference on High Energy Physics, occurring in Melbourne, Australia, July 4 to 11.
This would be one of the most important discoveries in the field of high energy physics, and would undoubtedly confirm the need for larger and more powerful particle accelerators. There were tantalizing hints of the existence of the Higgs back in December at the LHC, where physicists have been analyzing the results of high energy particle collisions to further refine their search for the Higgs.
New rumors state that there is compelling evidence of the long-sought after Higgs, which would be around 125 GeV, roughly 125 times the mass of a proton. This data, that had a 0.13% probability of happening by chance, meant that physicists only had evidence of a particle.
In high energy physics, researchers wait to see a 5-sigma signal, which has only a 0.000028% probability of occurring by chance before claiming that a discovery has been made. The previous evidence was only a 3-sigma signal.
The latest news suggests that there is a 4-sigma signal appearing at both LHC experiments hunting for the Higgs. If each experiment is seeing a 4-sigma signal, this implies that they have found the particle. Combining these two signals should be enough to clear the 5-sigma requirement.
The discovery of the Higgs boson would be the final piece needed in the Standard Model of particle physics, of which all particles would have been discovered using particle colliders in the last 40 years. The Higgs remains critical because interaction with it gives all other particles their mass. Any deviation from the Standard Model would suggest the existence of previously theoretical mechanics, akin to models such as supersymmetry.