By Ashley Yeager
New data announced Monday by the Tevatron particle accelerator at Fermilab suggests the Higgs boson exists. But it will take results from experiments at the Large Hadron Collider(LHC) in Europe to establish a firm discovery of the particle.
Fortunately, you won’t have to wait long. LHC scientists are expected to release their latest Higgs results two days later, on July 4.
The new Tevatron data suggests that the Higgs particle has a mass between 115 and 135 GeV/c^2, or about 130 times the mass of the proton.
The estimated mass is calculated from data taken from two Tevatron experiments and aligns with LHC-based Higgs’ mass estimates announced in December 2011 and March 2012.
The Tevatron searches are “particularly sensitive” to the Higgs boson decaying to a pair of bottom quarks, said Bo Jayatilaka, a post-doctoral scientist working with Duke physics professor Ashutosh Kotwal. “This is the largest predicted decay of the Higgs boson at the masses being considered. The nature of collisions at the LHC makes it very hard to see this particular decay over background,” he said.
Jayatilaka, who heads one of the Higgs analysis groups at Fermilab, said the Tevatron results “give a glimpse into this important decay channel of bottom quarks substantially earlier than the LHC will be able to.” It will require much more data to see this decay at LHC, he said.
The Tevatron stopped taking data in the fall of 2011, so the new Fermilab-Higgs results are final. As a result, “the most complete Higgs picture will emerge by putting together the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle from both Fermilab and CERN,” Kotwal said.