Large Hadron Collider rival Tevatron 'has found Higgs boson', say rumours
Rumours are emerging from the rival to the Large Hadron Collider that the Higgs boson, or so-called "God particle", has been found.
Tommaso Dorigo, a physicist at the University of Padua, has said in his blog that there has been talk coming out of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, that the Higgs has been discovered.
• Higgs boson discovery rumours false, say Tevatron scientists
The Tevatron, the huge particle accelerator at Fermi - the most powerful in the world after the LHC - is expected to be retired when the CERN accelerator becomes fully operational, but may have struck a final blow before it becomes obsolete.
If one form of the rumour is to be believed - and Prof Dorigo is extremely circumspect about it - then it is a "three-sigma" signature, meaning that there is a statistical likelihood of 99.7 per cent that it is correct. But, of course, that is only if the rumour is to be believed.
In the post, titled "Rumors about a light Higgs", Prof Dorigo said: "It reached my ear, from two different, possibly independent sources, that an experiment at the Tevatron is about to release some evidence of a light Higgs boson signal.
"Some say a three-sigma effect, others do not make explicit claims but talk of a unexpected result."
While media attention has been focusing on the LHC, the Tevatron has been quietly plugging away in the search for Higgs. In the 27 years since it was first completed (it has been regularly upgraded since then) it has discovered a quark and observed four different baryons. While it has not been able to pinpoint the elusive Higgs, it has narrowed the search, reducing the window of possible masses where it might be found.
Last year, Fermi physicists said they expected to have enough data to find or rule out the Higgs by early next year, and gave themselves a fifty-fifty chance of finding it before the end of 2010.
The Higgs boson is the last of the particles posited by the standard model of particle physics still to be found. It is said to explain why other particles have mass, and its discovery would confirm the standard model. If its existence is ruled out altogether, then other, previously less popular theories will have to be examined.
New Scientist suggests that more may be known this month, when scientists present their findings at the International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP), which opens in Paris on 22 July.