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Higgs discovery papers unveiled

Yesterday on the popular preprint server, ATLAS and CMS, the two main physics experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, posted their scientific papers describing a new Higgs-like particle (ref: ATLAS, CMS).

The papers are lengthy and dense, 39 pages in the case of ATLAS and 59 pages for CMS. They describe, in painstaking detail, the decay of a new particle into a variety of known particles, including γ-rays and W and Z bosons. The upshot seems to be about the same as it was at the beginning of July: the signal is still there, and it’s even stronger than before. Both experiments now report significance well above five standard deviations, meaning that, assuming there was no particle, the chances of this being a statistical fluke stand at about one in half-a-billion.

Of course, there’s still much work to be done. It’s not enough to say it’s a Higgs-like being; theorists want to know exactly what kind of Higgs-like being it is. More is sure to come later in the year.

The papers have been submitted to Physics Letters B.

Image: ATLAS


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