The 4th of July was a momentous day for the world of science as scientists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN in Switzerland announced that they had discovered or indeed observed a ‘Higgs-Boson like particle’ confirming, to within a level of certainty, the existence of the elusive ‘God Particle’.
The Higgs-Boson, theorized decades before, is essential to the Standard Model of Physics, which helps explains the very fundamentals of the law of physics and the way in which the universe operates. Using the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, two separate teams of scientists, CMS and Atlas, were charged to discover the God Particle, and while there was much speculation in the run up to the announcement, the official line on July 4 had it that while not with absolute certainty, the CERN scientists had indeed observed a particle that behaved like the Higgs-Boson.
At the time, the CMS team were able to obtain a level of certainty of between 4.9 and 5 sigma, with a 5 sigma level of certainty indicating the accepted definition of a discovery. A 5 sigma level of certainty is equivalent to a one-in-3.5 million chance, ruling out the possibilities of a fluke or mere coincidence and now following the initial level of certainty obtained by the CMS team, the Atlas team has announced that is had attained an even higher degree of certainty, obtaining a 5.9 sigma level of certainty or a one-in-300 million chance.
The new results were submitted by the Atlas team, publishing their work in the journal, Physics Letters B, to which the CMS team had also submitted corroborating data to confirm their 5 sigma level of certainty observation.
The new results come from more complete data gathered by the Atlas team regarding ‘decay channels.’ Within the LHC, where the research teams, which smash countless particles at very high speeds in order to generate Higgs-Bosons. But these particles are created for near fleeting moments as they soon decay in flashes of light and it is these ‘sparks’ or decay channels that the researchers observe and count, pointing towards their provenance. The new data now submitted gives data upon these decay channels to a greater extent and even also showed the Higgs particle decay into two separate particles known as W bosons.
According to researchers, the new level of certainty attained by the Atlas team only confirms what they already had a fair feeling off; that a new particle had indeed been discovered. Of course confirmation of whether this new particle is the sought after Higgs-Boson still remains and further analysis will be required to do so.