Physics' big announcement had more in common with a leaky product launch than the serious business of re-writing the science books. But slack asset management aside, it's official: a new boson has been observed with a standard deviation of 5 (confidence of 99.9%). The highly anticipated announcement came this morning direct from CERN's press conference (via ICHEP in Melbourne,) and is the result of an intense, ongoing search for the elusive particle. The observation is of a boson particle with a mass of 125.3 ± 0.6 GeV, at a significance of 4.9 sigma. Joe Incandela -- giving the presentation -- said that this is "In agreement with the standard model at 95% confidence range." The boson is the heaviest ever found, and although this is still a preliminary result, it's by far the strongest case yet for the existence of the elusive Higgs.
The sought-after particle is essential for supporting the current understanding of sub-atomic world, and its bearing on nuclear, and electromagnetic interactions. The next stage will be to determine the exact characteristics of the new particle and whether it matches the expectations of the Higgs, or is it in fact something more "exotic." This part will take much more time, but for now, a (very) small, but important piece of the puzzle has been found.
Update: We're sure you've got many questions, and CERN apparently anticipated this. Check out the more coverage link for a helpful FAQ about everything Higgs.
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