It was perhaps the most important physics discovery of the century to date: Just last week, a team of physicists at CERN announced that the elusive Higgs boson had been found — or, at least, a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson had been found. But was the newly discovered particle an imposter? Some experts are warning that yes, there's a good chance that the Higgs boson has yet to be found, after all.
See, physicists at CERN weren't using microscopes or similar tools to view the Higgs boson directly, they were looking at the energy signatures of other particles created. CERN researchers used those signatures, along with particle physics theory, to claim the discovery of the Higgs boson.
But not so fast, says Ian Low of the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. He believes that scientists at CERN didn't discover the Higgs boson, but instead discovered a mix of particles that may include the Higgs boson in different forms. "A generic Higgs doublet and a triplet imposter give equally good fits to the measured event rates," says Low.
Of course, no one can really say for sure who's right — CERN or Low and his fellow researchers — without more data. Though it's worth noting that the non-existence of the Higgs boson is not exactly a radical idea: After all, noted physicist Stephen Hawking made a $100 bet claiming that the Higgs boson was fiction.
[via Technology Review]
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