Scientists Believe They Have Found 'The God Particle' : The Higgs Bosson
Scientists at Cern, reporting from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have claimed the discovery of a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson.
The results announced at Cern (European Organization for Nuclear Research), home of the large hadron collider in Geneva, were met with loud applause.
The Higgs boson experiments at the LHC see a level of certainty in their data worthy of a "discovery".
It has been the subject of a 45-year quest to clarify how matter attains its mass.
British scientist Professor Peter Higgs, after whom the particle is named, wiped a tear from his eye as the teams finished their presentations in the Cern lecture theatre.
"It's really an incredible thing that it's happened in my lifetime."
Statistics of a 'discovery'
- Particle physics has an accepted definition for a discovery: a "five-sigma" (or five standard-deviation) level of certainty
- The number of sigmas measures how unlikely it is to get a certain experimental result as a matter of chance rather than due to a real effect
- Similarly, tossing a coin and getting a number of heads in a row may just be chance, rather than a sign of a "loaded" coin
- A "three-sigma" level represents about the same likelihood as tossing eight heads in a row
- Five sigma, on the other hand, would correspond to tossing more than 20 in a row
- Independent confirmation by other experiments turns five-sigma findings into accepted discoveries