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Higgs boson

The mass of the Higgs boson


Proton collisions within the CMS detector: possible indication of the existence of the Higgs bosonCERN

The first experimental evidence that the Higgs boson does actually exist has been found. The boson is a hypothetical particle in theory responsible for conferring mass upon other particles, besides being an essential component of the so-called standard model, the theoretical framework developed by physicists over the last 50 years to explain the behavior of matter at the submicroscopic level. On December 13, two experiments conducted by independent groups at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator, at Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, announced highly convergent, almost identical results: if it does indeed exist, the Higgs boson should have mass of some 125 GeV (Giga-electron-volts), equivalent to that of approximately 130 protons. “The data is not conclusive,” explained Sergio Novaes, an experimental physicist from Paulista Federal University (Unesp), in an interview on the Pesquisa Brasil radio program. “However, we did manage to restrict the band of the mass in which the boson should exist.” Novaes is a member of the group that works at the CMS detector, one of two such devices (along with the Atlas detector) that analyze the collision of protons in search of particles that are yet to be found, such as the Higgs boson. By the end of this year, the physicists expect to accrue enough data to say whether the elusive particles do indeed exist or whether the evidence that has just been released was a false alarm caused by statistical fluctuation.