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Jan. 18, 2011

Higgs Boson Already Found?

by Ira Flatow

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Hypothetical Higgs Event
 
The Higgs boson, which is being hunted at the Large Hadron Collider, has probably been found already, as early as 11 years ago, says Amir Aczel. Where? Probably, he says, in the particle smasher (LEP) that was dismantled to make way for the LHC, over a decade ago. And perhaps at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois.
 
Really? When Aczel came on Science Friday to talk about his new book “Present At The Creation,”he dropped hints that the Higgs had already been discovered but had yet to be confirmed. “There is not enough statistical evidence yet,” he said. We need “99.99… percent confirmation.” Just like Sagan used to say: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
 
But Aczel says he feels the evidence exists if scientists dig through the “noise” of the test results. One enticing piece of non-scientific evidence: Aczel says he’s already seen on the cafeteria wall of CERN, where they display pictures of particles found at the lab, a picture of the Higgs boson.
 
As for Fermilab, the Higgs “is probably there already.” Just sift through the data. The Cern folks are a bit concerned about being beaten to the punch. They aim to run the LHC straight through a scheduled maintenance stop next year, says Aczel.
 
And if they find it? So what. Lots of scientists don’t care, he says. “We want something more interesting,” like finding evidence for dark energy.
 
You just can’t satisfy some folks.
About Ira Flatow

Ira is the host and executive producer of Science Friday.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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