The elusive Higgs Boson, frequently referred to (sometimes tongue-in-cheek) as the “God Particle” might not have been found yet, but it has fewer places to hide than it previously did.
Believed to have played a significant role in forming galaxies, stars, and planets when the Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago, the Higgs Boson has been sought after by scientists for years. Two teams of researchers, CMS and ATLAS, believe they have now found some clues that could lead to the Higgs Boson, but neither team has mentioned actually discovering the mysterious particle.
“ATLAs sees a small excess at a Higgs mass of 126 GeV [Giga electron volts] coming from 3 channels,” CERN scientists wrote on Twitter. The statement might not mean much to people not versed in the research but the information basically means this particular area is now worthy of extra attention because, as Guido Tonelli, a spokesman for the CMS experiment, says, “This is the region where, if you see an excess, there’s a hint that something’s up.”
While both teams are hoping to learn more in 2012, a breakthrough wouldn’t necessarily require actually finding the Higgs Boson. As mentioned in a CMS statement, while finding the particle would go a long way in understanding how particles gain mass, not finding the Higgs Boson would open the door to studying alternative theories that go beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. In that light, conclusive findings would advance the research, regardless of whether those findings were positive or negative.
Meanwhile, the latest results establish that substantial progress has been made in the search for the “God Particle” but none of the research conclusively confirms or denies the existence of the Higgs Boson at this time.