Did Fermilab snatch the Higgs boson out from under LHC's nose?

by JGordon on Jul. 13th, 2010

Someone might have just been served: but it's too early to say for sure.
Someone might have just been served: but it's too early to say for sure.Courtesy James Alby
If that headline meant anything at all to you, it probably also meant, "Aw, SNAP!"

In the giant, high-energy dance off of the particle accelerators, the tough-but-kinda-slow boy from down the street, LHC, just got served by the scrappy old-schooler, Tevatron. Maybe.

What am I talking about? You know what I'm talking about! Tevatron brought it Chi-town style all up in LHC's huge, eurotrash grill, and pulled off LHC's signature move, a move that, ironically, LHC has not yet executed; according to an Italian physicist's blog, scientists at Fermilab's Tevatron super-collider in Illinois may have discovered evidence of the Higgs boson, the last unobserved particle in everybody's favorite model of particle physics. The Higgs, if it does in fact exist, is what gives matter mass. If it doesn't exist, we need to re-think our ideas about how the universe works.

The icing on the cake of the maybe-discovery is that the Tevatron particle accelerator has been scheduled to shut down sometime in the next couple years, because the much larger and more powerful new accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland, the LHC, was about to make it obsolete. The LHC was built, in part, to prove the existence of the Higgs boson.

Now the LHC is sitting there wondering if the old dog really just called it "son."

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Shana's picture
Shana says:


posted on Tue, 07/13/2010 - 4:42pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Some scientist are critical of all this publicity based on "rumors". That is not the way "science" works.

"I would be inclined to wait until there was some actual announcement, rather than just rumors on the internet, before taking it seriously."

So, it looks like we'll have to wait until scientists present their research at the International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) in Paris on July 22 before we start getting too excited. Sean Carroll, senior research associate in the Department of Physics at Caltech via Discovery News

posted on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 7:39am
Shana's picture
Shana says:

I dunno. I kind of wish there was a science gossip rag and that JGordon wrote it. "Seven-year-old to fireflies: I don't want to catch you anyway!"

posted on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 8:44am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I do try to spread questionable information as much as possible.

I mean, I hate to brag, but try entering "cryptozoology" into Science Buzzes search field. I think it's safe to say that I am, ahem, exceptionally unreliable.

posted on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 8:58am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

Here's a quote from the BBC website post regarding denial of the discovery of the Higgs boson:

"There is no evidence yet of a Standard Model Higgs signal; more data will be needed for that. The rumours started by the blog are not correct and blogs are not a reliable source of information ." [My italics].

Uh-oh. Where does that leave us?

posted on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 9:39am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Well, of course the BBC would want to silence the idea that a humble little super-collider in the Midwest might have beaten Europe's might LHC to the punch.

Or not. I suppose major scientific breakthroughs are rarely announced by a single, rascally Italian blogger. But, still, it's a nice thought.

As for blogs not being a reliable source of information, I feel that way about the entire Internet. Also, paper.

posted on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 10:16am
Thor's picture
Thor says:

Those words are all lyrics from "Stairway to Heaven," right?

posted on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 9:57am

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