Watch LIVE

False Messiah: Scientists Contend Recently Discovered 'God Particle' Is an 'Impostor


"...the signature can be attributed to other particles."

Less than a week ago, the scientific community was celebrating the 99.9999 percent certain findings of a particle thought to be the Higgs boson. Scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) were cautious to step right out and say they officially found the subatomic particle with the nickname the "God particle," stating the results were preliminary but hinting at it being the particle consistent with the theoretical one thought to help explain some fundamental questions of matter in our universe.

(Related: 'Very, Very Preliminary Result': CERN Scientists Tentatively 'Find' Infamous God Particle)

Now, a set of other scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois reviewing data from the large hadron collider in Geneva are saying the particle physicists think could be the Higgs boson could actually be an impostor. They write:

Assuming an unbroken custodial invariance as suggested by precision electroweak measurements, only four possibilities are allowed if the scalar decays to pairs of gauge bosons, as exemplified by a dilaton/radion, a non-dilatonic electroweak singlet scalar, an electroweak doublet scalar, and electroweak triplet scalars. We show that current LHC data already strongly disfavor both the dilatonic and non-dilatonic singlet imposters. On the other hand, a generic Higgs doublet and a triplet imposter give equally good fits to the measured event rates of the newly observed scalar resonance, although a Standard Model Higgs boson gives a slightly better overall fit. [...] We emphasize that more precise measurements of the ratio of event rates in the WW over ZZ channels, as well as the event rates in bb and tau tau channels, are needed to distinguish the Higgs doublet from the triplet imposter.

Gizmodo explains more on the "controlled enthusiasm" regarding the potential finding exhibited by CERN scientists -- and much of the scientific community -- and the Argonne researchers who have called up the possibility of an impostor:

The reason for his controlled optimism is the elusive nature of this particles. Since we can only create them for a very limited time before they decay into other particles, it's very difficult to trace their signature. It's even more difficult when, looking at the the data so far collected by CERN, the signature can be attributed to other particles.

This just further confirms that the actual presence of the Higgs boson cannot be unequivocally cited just yet.

(Related: Video Pop Quiz: Do Hipsters in Brooklyn Know What the God Particle Is? Their Answers Will Have You Laughing)

Read more from the Argonne scientists here.

Most recent
All Articles