A leaked internal memo regarding the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva hints at the existence of the Higgs boson, the long-sought theoretical particle that could make or break the standard model of particle physics.
The controversial note was posted April 21 in an anonymous comment on physicist Peter Woit’s blog, Not Even Wrong. Four physicists claim that ATLAS ~ one of the LHC’s all-purpose particle hunting experiments ~ caught a Higgs particle decaying into two high-energy photons, but at a much higher rate than the standard model predicts.
According to Wired.com:
“The present result is the first definitive observation of physics beyond the standard model,” the note says. “Exciting new physics, including new particles, may be expected to be found in the very near future.”
The word from CERN, which operates the LHC, is that the leaked note is not an official result, and hasn’t been backed up by the cast of thousands that makes up the rest of the ATLAS collaboration.
“It’s way, way too early to say if there’s anything in it or not,” said CERN spokesman James Gillies. “The vast majority of these notes get knocked down before they ever see the light of day.”
A member of the ATLAS collaboration who wished to remain anonymous said unexpected signals show up frequently and turn out to be due to errors. The signal is much more likely to be a fluke than anything else, he cautioned.
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