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Still Looking Like the Higgs

15 November 2012 2:27 pm
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CERN

Still too soon to know. That's the latest word from particle physicists working with the world's largest atom smasher—Europe's Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland—as they try to figure out whether the particle they discovered in July is precisely the long-sought Higgs boson or something a tad different. The key question is whether the new particle decays into combinations of familiar particles at the rates that physicists' standard model predicts. So far, the measured decay rates generally match expectations, but the statistical uncertainties are too large to say anything conclusive, physicists working with the gargantuan particle detectors known as ATLAS and CMS reported today at a conference in Tokyo. The plots above show the measured decay rates relative to the standard model predictions, so that a value of 1 means agreement. (The vertical line in the CMS plot shows the average of all the measurements.) More data will shrink the error bars and yield a clearer picture.

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