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God particle almost found,says US lab

CERN to offer proof on Wednesday.

Written by Agencies | Batavia | Published: July 3, 2012 1:24:40 am

Physicists at Fermi National Accelerator Lab said Monday that they have come tantalisingly close to proving the existence of the elusive subatomic Higgs boson — dubbed the God particle because it brings mass and order to the universe.

The announcement came even as scientists working at the world’s biggest atom smasher planned to announce Wednesday that they have gathered enough evidence to show that the long-sought God particle answering fundamental questions about the universe almost certainly does exist.

But after decades of work and billions of dollars spent,researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research,or CERN,aren’t quite ready to say they’ve “discovered” the particle.

Scientists in the US said Monday the debris from trillions of collisions between beams of protons and anti-protons over 10 years at Fermilab’s now-shuttered Tevatron accelerator outside Chicago fell short of the scientific threshold proving the discovery. The same collision debris hinting at the existence of the Higgs could also come from other subatomic particles.

The power to confer mass seemed to endow the Higgs with the power of creation itself,which helped lead to its nickname.

“This is the best answer that is out there at the moment,” said Fermilab physicist Rob Roser. The Tevatron data strongly point toward the existence of the Higgs boson,but it will take results from the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe to establish a firm discovery.

Physicists not connected to Fermilab also expressed cautious optimism that the long-sought particle had finally deigned to make an appearance.

These intriguing hints from the Tevatron appear to support the results from the LHC shown at CERN in December,said Dan Tovey,Professor of Particle Physics at the University of Sheffield. “The results are particularly important because they use a completely different and complementary way of searching for the Higgs boson. This gives us more confidence that what we are seeing is really evidence of new physics rather than just a statistical fluke.”

No one was ready to declare victory,however. Although CERN spokesman James Gillies called Fermilab’s a nice result,he quickly added that it will be interesting to see how it lines up with CERN’s results on Wednesday.

It is expected that the CERN scientists will say they are 99.99 per cent certain the particle has been found — which is known as “four sigma” level,the Daily Mail reported. The management at CERN want its scientists to reach the “five sigma” level of certainty with their results so they are 99.99995 per cent sure — such is the significance of the results.

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