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  • user warning: UPDATE command denied to user 'uiansam_485147_1'@'linweb10.atlas.pipex.net' for table 'truecache_filter' query: UPDATE truecache_filter SET data = '<p>And so it goes on. The International Conference on High Energy Physics (<a href=\"http://www.ichep2010.fr/\">ICHEP</a>) in Paris came and went, but&nbsp; the Higgs boson is still at large. As expected, rumours that the world&#39;s most elusive particle had shown up at the Tevatron collider at Fermilab near Chicago failed to materialise into anything more concrete. Nonetheless, there was good news.</p>\n<p>As I mentioned in my previous post, the most likely Higgs results to come out of ICHEP should at least tell us more about where the Higgs particle <em>isn&#39;t</em>. That turned out to be the case. By combining data from countless collisions recorded by both Tevatron detectors, namely CDF and DZero, Fermilab physicists can now rule out a quarter of the masses that the Higgs particle might possibly have, in the Standard Model at least. It is slow and painstaking work this Higgs hunting business.</p>\n<p>I <a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/jul/26/higgs-boson-eludes-capture\">wrote about the range of masses that the Tevatron has now excluded</a> for <a href=\"http://www.guardian.co.uk/science\">the Guardian</a>, but to repeat them here: the collider can now say with some confidence that the Higgs boson does not lurk in the 158 to 175GeV mass range. We know from CERN&rsquo;s previous machine, the Large Electron Positron collider (again, with reasonable but not absolute confidence) that the Higgs is heavier than 114.4GeV. What does it all mean? In short, the beast is running out of places to hide.</p>\n<p>The Tevatron is due to close down at the end of next year, but lab staff are understandably keen to see it continue operating. The reasons go way beyond the Higgs hunt. Does the US have any another flagship high energy physics laboratory that is exploring the frontier of physics, as <a href=\"http://history.fnal.gov/wilson.html\">Robert Wilson, the first director of the lab envisioned</a>? Large physics facilities like Fermilab are an inspiration for the next generation.</p>\n<p>What&rsquo;s under consideration in the US is a plan to keep the Tevatron running until 2014. If the machine runs for that long, some physicists at the lab believe they are in with a very good chance of bagging the Higgs particle.</p>\n<p>But what of <a href=\"http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/lhc/lhc-en.html\">CERN&rsquo;s shiny new Large Hadron Collider</a>? Won&rsquo;t it win the race to find the Higgs? I&rsquo;ve heard as many views as physicists I&rsquo;ve talked to. Some think it&rsquo;s highly unlikely the LHC will discover the Higgs (if it is there to be discovered) before the machine starts running at high energy after its 15 month shut down at the end of 2011. Others think the machine might well see <em>something</em> before that. Why the confidence? They seem to understand their detectors &ndash; primarily <a href=\"http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/lhc/CMS-en.html\">CMS</a> and <a href=\"http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/lhc/CMS-en.html\">Atlas</a> &ndash; so well, that they might be able to move on from measuring well known particles to looking seriously for new ones, earlier than expected. When the machine <a href=\"http://public.web.cern.ch/press/pressreleases/Releases2008/PR10.08E.html\">was idled by an &quot;incident&quot; in 2008</a>, the physicists used incoming cosmic rays to test out their detectors. They got to know how they behaved with particles zipping through them before the real collisions started coming in.</p>\n<p>Earlier today, Fermilab <a href=\"http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/breaking/2010/08/05/higgs-hunting-what%E2%80%99s-next/\">ran an article on the hunt for the Higgs</a>, asking &ldquo;What&rsquo;s next?&rdquo; It ends on an optimistic note:<br />\n&quot;If the Higgs exists, the Tevatron is close to discovering or excluding it. The next year or two will be very interesting.&quot;<br />\nThere&#39;s no doubt about that. And with luck, the Tevatron will keep running for even longer.</p>\n', created = 1568892120, expire = 1568978520, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '1:ea915b6a8f186ff4a9e15a67a054b689' in /websites/123reg/LinuxPackage21/ia/ns/am/iansample.com/public_html/site/includes/cache.inc on line 109.
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What's next for the Higgs hunters?

And so it goes on. The International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) in Paris came and went, but  the Higgs boson is still at large. As expected, rumours that the world's most elusive particle had shown up at the Tevatron collider at Fermilab near Chicago failed to materialise into anything more concrete. Nonetheless, there was good news.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the most likely Higgs results to come out of ICHEP should at least tell us more about where the Higgs particle isn't. That turned out to be the case. By combining data from countless collisions recorded by both Tevatron detectors, namely CDF and DZero, Fermilab physicists can now rule out a quarter of the masses that the Higgs particle might possibly have, in the Standard Model at least. It is slow and painstaking work this Higgs hunting business.

I wrote about the range of masses that the Tevatron has now excluded for the Guardian, but to repeat them here: the collider can now say with some confidence that the Higgs boson does not lurk in the 158 to 175GeV mass range. We know from CERN’s previous machine, the Large Electron Positron collider (again, with reasonable but not absolute confidence) that the Higgs is heavier than 114.4GeV. What does it all mean? In short, the beast is running out of places to hide.

The Tevatron is due to close down at the end of next year, but lab staff are understandably keen to see it continue operating. The reasons go way beyond the Higgs hunt. Does the US have any another flagship high energy physics laboratory that is exploring the frontier of physics, as Robert Wilson, the first director of the lab envisioned? Large physics facilities like Fermilab are an inspiration for the next generation.

What’s under consideration in the US is a plan to keep the Tevatron running until 2014. If the machine runs for that long, some physicists at the lab believe they are in with a very good chance of bagging the Higgs particle.

But what of CERN’s shiny new Large Hadron Collider? Won’t it win the race to find the Higgs? I’ve heard as many views as physicists I’ve talked to. Some think it’s highly unlikely the LHC will discover the Higgs (if it is there to be discovered) before the machine starts running at high energy after its 15 month shut down at the end of 2011. Others think the machine might well see something before that. Why the confidence? They seem to understand their detectors – primarily CMS and Atlas – so well, that they might be able to move on from measuring well known particles to looking seriously for new ones, earlier than expected. When the machine was idled by an "incident" in 2008, the physicists used incoming cosmic rays to test out their detectors. They got to know how they behaved with particles zipping through them before the real collisions started coming in.

Earlier today, Fermilab ran an article on the hunt for the Higgs, asking “What’s next?” It ends on an optimistic note:
"If the Higgs exists, the Tevatron is close to discovering or excluding it. The next year or two will be very interesting."
There's no doubt about that. And with luck, the Tevatron will keep running for even longer.

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