back to article GOD particle MAY NOT BE GOD particle: Scientists in shock claim

A new scholarly paper has raised suspicions in boffinry circles as to whether last year's breakthrough discovery by CERN was indeed the fabled, applecart-busting Higgs boson. The report from the University of Southern Denmark suggests that while physicists working with data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) did discover a …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    That would actually be pretty cool

    But AFAIK evidence for technicolor particles is as hard to come by as ectoplasm remains after a séance?

    P(This is a Higgs boson) is still rather good.

    1. chuckufarley

      Re: That would actually be pretty cool

      http://xkcd.com/1437/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That would actually be pretty cool

        http://xkcd.com/7/

  2. Fibbles

    So CERN found a particle and it behaves as they expected a Higgs Boson should. Now a bunch of Danes are saying it's not the Higgs Boson, it's some mystery particle... that also happens to behave exactly like you'd expect the Higgs Boson to.

    I realise scientists should always be trying to disprove current theory but surely if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck...

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      >if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck...

      The problem is that you would have to know exactly what a duck was before a definitive decision could be made and even then there are many kinds of ducks...

      Donald looked, swam and quacked lick a duck but was in reality only a 2 dimensionsal animated character.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "2 dimensional animated character"

        So you're arguing for the holographic universe?

      2. itzman

        if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck...

        I am sorry, anyone who thinks Donald in anyway resembled a real duck has never encountered a real duck.

        Where was the crispy skin and Hoi Sin Sauce?

        1. Khaptain Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck...

          @I am sorry, anyone who thinks Donald in anyway resembled a real duck has never encountered a real duck.

          Yes but he could be a Higgs Boson Duck.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck...

          It could be a very small rock. But definitely not a witch.

    2. Turtle

      While I agree with your post...

      "So CERN found a particle and it behaves as they expected a Higgs Boson should. Now a bunch of Danes are saying it's not the Higgs Boson, it's some mystery particle... that also happens to behave exactly like you'd expect the Higgs Boson to."

      While I agree with your post, you have not paid sufficient attention to a particular (see what I did there?) statement in the article: "One way, they say, would be for CERN to build an even larger collider to better observe the particles and provide more evidence as to the existence of the theorized techni-quarks."

      In a word: "funding-drive".

      1. Maybe?

        Re: While I agree with your post...

        Are we talking about "techni-quacks"?

        1. king of foo

          Porky

          Pig's Bison?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: While I agree with your post...

        For the Extremely Large Hadron Collider that will encircle europe.

        The LHC is just a small scale test of an force field like dome... it worked ok, now they want to build another one around the whole of europe - even bigger - the ELHC... tin-foil hats on everyone!

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: While I agree with your post...

          >>"The LHC is just a small scale test of an force field like dome... it worked ok, now they want to build another one around the whole of Europe"

          Just tell UKIP's backers that it's an energy containment field for "Europeness" and they'll pay for the whole thing.

          1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

            Re: While I agree with your post...

            ...Just tell UKIP's backers that it's an energy containment field for "Europeness" and they'll pay for the whole thing....

            Actually, the same excuse would also guarantee large sums of funding from the European Commission. Their view of Europe is one where outside trade is rigorously excluded unless it follows their rules.

            It could also be a method of stopping any dissatisfied country, like the UK, leaving....

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: While I agree with your post...

              >>"Their view of Europe is one where outside trade is rigorously excluded unless it follows their rules."

              Well that's kind of the point of large trade blocs such as NAFTA, EU, Eurasian Economic Community and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. You band together and create double-standards that benefit you at the expense of smaller national entities that lack the economic or military might to trade with you as equals in your enlarged, multi-country state.

              I.e. EU can negotiate as a powerful player against other large power blocks in a way that a small country on its own cannot. Also, I'm actually quite good with a lot of the EU rules on imported goods. We have better standards of drugs approval, food production standards, animal treatment, human rights in manufacturing, etc. These are all positives.

        2. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: While I agree with your post...

          Thinking too small there.

          The SGHC (Super-Gigantic Hadron Collider) will span the earth's equator.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Pint

        Re: While I agree with your post...

        >In a word: "funding-drive".

        Yes, that was the first thought that occurred to me here as well. Ding! Ding! Ding! (lather, rinse, repeat).

      4. plrndl

        Re: While I agree with your post...

        "Give us your forking money" (C) 1984 Bob Geldof

      5. Graham Marsden
        Boffin

        In a word: "funding-drive".

        No, in a word (not hyphenated) "Science".

        Just because someone has "discovered" something and it *seems* to fit the hypothesis doesn't mean that the results are now beyond question and should be accepted as gospel (see what I did there?)

        Newton's Theory of Gravity worked fine for ages until Einstein came along and said "Hang on, what about this situation...?"

        Science is about asking questions even when the answer is "known".

    3. RISC OS

      If it...

      ....looks like english, sounds like english and reads like a english, it probably is english, except if it's yank, canadian, australian, indian pidgin....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        Re: If it...

        ...looks like english, sounds like english and reads like a english,

        Or a post by RISC OS which appears to not follow any grammatical rules of English.

      2. Tannin

        Re: If it...

        No. Sorry. Yank doesn't sound remotely like English.

    4. werdsmith Silver badge

      It's worth a punt for the glory.

      If at some time in the future, analysis shows that the discovery isn't exactly as announced then these Danish physicists are first in with the "told you so" and forever known as the smart ones that actually knew what it was all about. Names made and remembered etc. Getting your name on something seems to be the real big prize in science after all. If the discovery turns out to be verified and correct beyond all possible doubt then these Danes have lost very little because they have carefully worded their critique.

      By the way, the world may end on Friday, because there is no absolute guarantee that Saturday will happen. We could actually encounter a day that resembles a Saturday.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        By the way, the world may end on Friday, because there is no absolute guarantee that Saturday will happen. We could actually encounter a day that resembles a Saturday.

        As long as pseudo-Saturday starts with a bacon sandwich and a large mug of tea, I don't care.

      2. Nicko

        We're doomed...

        "By the way, the world may end on Friday, because there is no absolute guarantee that Saturday will happen."

        http://www.hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/

    5. fruitoftheloon

      It might be a quantum duck, which isn't the same thing at all...

      J

      1. Isendel Steel
        Coat

        or a Disco Duck..

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is possibly the Higgs Boson

      Give us yet another 5 off 3rd world countries GDP to build a bigger lab so we can sort of prove it further

    7. Mark Miller

      God or Not

      What I find odd about this whole news cycle (God Particle NOT!), is that I remember quiet clearly reading that the CERN scientist acknowledged this possibility at the start. Something along the lines of The God Particle or a collection of particles in the God-Particle-like shape.

      I think Higgs still deserves his Nobel because the prediction and the results still indicate he had a fine grasp of the problem.

      Atoms turned out not to be fundamental, and on the other end of the size spectrum the Universe may not actually be everything. Get used to never knowing how it all actually works. It doesn't mean the models are not useful.

  3. Dig

    Was the research sponsored by..

    A supplier of very large magnets and refrigerant.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Was the research sponsored by.. (build an even larger collider)

      I was waiting for that punch line ( build an even larger collider)

      It will give the answer 42

      Then they will want an even bigger one. I don't mind. Though I suspect the Overlords are guinea pigs, not mice. Not smelly and not widdling over everything.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Was the research sponsored by.. (build an even larger collider)

        "Then they will want an even bigger one."

        So we gave them (at current construction prices) a €10bn tool, and they've still not got the answer, nor even, it seems, an undisputed partial answer?

        Fag packet maths says that the muttered-of Future Circular Collider would have a cost of the order of €50bn, which seems quite an investment to make in results that have the certainty usually associated with the dismal sciences of economics, weather forecasting, or climate modelling.

      2. Isendel Steel

        Re: Was the research sponsored by.. (build an even larger collider)

        and the question will still be wrong.

  4. btrower

    Science marches on then stubs its TOE

    This is a head-scratcher. Who is one to believe? It's times like this that I wish I was just that wee bit smarter and better informed. Unfortunately, I am not that up on this stuff to be able to form a reasonable opinion one way or the other. It seemed to me that the announcement of the Higgs boson was pretty sure. They did say there was a chance it was a false-positive but that the chance was very small. Sigh. How big a team do we need and how much money do we need to spend to get closure here? From the sounds of it, these guys are suggesting 'a lot'.

    The announcement itself is 'messy', but if their argument has merit, I guess it is sort of good news. That is, if it is not the Higgs then something at least a little novel has been discovered. It was really looking like we were on the verge and then we sort of stubbed our 'TOE'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Science marches on then stubs its TOE

      Well, they found a particle and it's either a Higgs boson or something that behaves like what they expected a Higgs boson would. For most purposes, it's a Higgs boson. We may find out later that it doesn't fit the theory precisely though. We can't exactly use the existence or inexistence of a Higgs to engineer new and fancy things (flying cars, perhaps) immediately or we'd use that for a test of the Higgs boson.

      When a heliocentric theory of the solar system was introduced, it didn't immediately displace the geocentric theory; not just because it was less accurate, but because it didn't offer anything new over the geocentric theory. We still knew where the (known) planets, stars and comets were and could predict their paths very precisely. Heliocentric theory didn't really take off until there was something to differentiate it from geocentric theory. Once it could make predictions that the old theory couldn't, then it was superior. Being able to explain the heliocentric theory from gravitational theory also helped. If we have two theories that make the same predictions, then you can take whichever one you prefer. That's pretty much the current state here. It might as well be a Higgs boson if we can't tell the difference between the Higgs and some theoretical not Higgs.

      As for when it will end, probably never. Relativity is well accepted at this point. We use relativistic theory in engineering and have for several decades now. It's well established in other physics theory, but we keep testing it. A satellite was used a year or two ago for a more precise test of relativity. We'll keep testing it because it might turn out that Einstein was slightly wrong... Newton was after all.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Science marches on then stubs its TOE

        We still knew where the (known) planets, stars and comets were and could predict their paths very precisely.

        Epicycles weren't exactly known for their precision. That's why people had to keep adding ever more of them.

      2. MacroRodent Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Science marches on then stubs its TOE

        "If we have two theories that make the same predictions, then you can take whichever one you prefer. "

        Shouldn't you in this case take the simpler theory, the one with less "epicycles"? (Which in this case would be the original one, with no techni-quarks).

        1. gloucester

          Re: Science marches on then stubs its TOE

          @MacroRodent: ' Shouldn't you in this case take the simpler theory, the one with less "epicycles"? '

          I agree, they should apply Occam's Quasar.

          (I know, I know, but it would be a source of high-energy beams.)

    2. garden-snail
      Boffin

      Re: Science marches on then stubs its TOE

      Who is one to believe? No-one! Science isn't about belief. We make observations, formulate a theory that explains those observations (and predicts the outcome of future experiments) then perform experiments to see if the theory holds up.

      If the theory holds up to repeated testing, it becomes "accepted knowledge", though this still isn't the "closure" you were hoping for. Even accepted knowledge is up for debate, if new observations are made that challenge the expectations of the theory.

      Science doesn't offer any closure, and doesn't tolerate belief! Many of the theories are extremely useful both in everyday life and in the constant advancement of Mankind, but while Science's accepted knowledge is the closest thing we have to the Truth - no true scientist will ever tell you that it's above scrutiny, and nothing will ever be known for certain!

      The announcement from these Danish physicists is not a setback for Science - it's all just part of the process!

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I guess that unless the particle has a logo on it or an appropriate particle bumper sticker, some people won't ever believe. Then again, there are those who believe the moon is made of green cheese and the Apollo missions never happened.

    On the rational side, will the coming increase in power at the LHC nail it down? Or are they going for smaller and better things? Or, do the Danes want a bigger and better LHC but in their own backyard?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Idiot,

      it's Tyrolean grey cheese , not green cheese. I don't know, what are you lot like? Can you not tell the difference between colours?

      1. Alien8n Silver badge
        Alien

        It started out as green, but after so much exposure to cosmic rays and ultraviolet light from the sun it turned grey over time (see the article about what colour the flags on the moon are :) )

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      do the Danes want a bigger and better LHC

      The want a Lego Hadron Collider in a theme park. That's what this is really about; a Lego Higgs Boson made of Lego technik quarks.

      1. EddieD

        Re: do the Danes want a bigger and better LHC

        If they can spin me round a tube and 90% of c, then I'll pay for that ride...

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: do the Danes want a bigger and better LHC

          It'd be a once in a lifetime experience...*splat*

  6. Kimo
    Boffin

    The solution is always...

    WE NEED BIGGER TOYS!

    1. Martin Budden
      Thumb Up

      Re: The solution is always...

      A. We need bigger toys!

      erm... what was the question? Good point, an answer needs a question, how about this one:

      Q. Was the Higgs Boson really the Higgs Boson?

      yep, that'll do!

      1. Charles Manning

        Re: The solution is always...

        If the answer isn't "we need more toys and funding", then refine the question....

        Even though physiciast are on the quest for truth, they are still human and are desirous of an ego-rub, nice houses etc.

  7. Khaptain Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Thoughts from an uneducated person

    <Flamebait warning>

    [Do not read ahead withough having read the first line in this comment. you have been warned]

    Since the CERN announced that they found the Higgs Boson I always had the "uneducated" feeling that their annoncement was far too media orientated. Almost as if they were in a position whereby they had to make a discovery in order to justify the expense.

    It's a bit like the Big Data thing that is going on, we have loads of data, we can see things happening, we just don't know how to explain them, yet. So let's give it a name....

    Very few people truly understand what the Higgs Boson actually is, could be, I certainely don't and I presume that the very large majority of the planet don't either. So how can we truly be sure of what has or has not been found. Are they just giving the name to something new and as of yet unexplained or have they indeed found what they are looking for.. Who is truly in a position to be the judge ?

    These Danish scientists are challenging the finding which is a good thing. Science does not always come up with the correct answer the first time....

    Uneducated : Other than having read ICE-9 I have no further education physics, quantum mechanics etc knowledge whatsoever, just a passing interest in what is going on in the region in which I live. If things went wrong in the Cern I always imagine that it could be kinda nasty...for humanity....it's the ICE-9 effect....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thoughts from an uneducated person

      You do know Ice-9 is a science fiction idea which is thermodynamically impossible?

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Thoughts from an uneducated person

        http://www.askamathematician.com/2012/11/q-could-kurt-vonegets-ice-9-catastrophy-happen/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thoughts from an uneducated person

          Exactly, look at the phase diagram on that page, Ice IX needs two thousand times the present atmospheric pressure and a temperature below 180K to form. I remain unworried.

    2. Elmer Phud

      Re: Thoughts from an uneducated person

      There's a book called 'ICE-9'?

      There's a book called 'Cat's Cradle'.

      You're not being let off the hook.

      (I'm being distracted, gravity is light today)

  8. Alan Sharkey

    While I love throretical physics and cosmology (but I don't understand 1% of how it all hangs together), I do question the need for another even larger Hadron collider. What are they atucally trying to prove?

    If the Higgs bosun does not exist, then they need something else - JUST LIKE A HIGGS BOSUN - to explain how we all have mass. OK - so assume it does exist and move on. Or am I being too simplistic?

    [And you should hear my simple explanation for gravity :)]

    1. aBloke FromEarth

      Careful now. A boson is a subatomic particle. A bosun is a sailor.

      If the LHC started spitting out bosuns, I'd somewhat surprised.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Then it'd long and thin and full of seamen....

  9. KrisMac

    Thats a nice piece of research you have there... pity if something should happen to it...

    My research indicates that this latest Danish research is not actual research at all, but is actually 'techni-research' composed of 'techni-data' that, (collectively), mimic the behaviour of real research in every way such that it is indistinguishable from real research.

    I therefore submit that I should be paid umpteen quintillion dollars in order to refine my own research so that I can fully identify the nature of this 'techni-research' in order to be able to distinguish between 'techni-' and 'real' research...

  10. The Dude

    Just as I thought...

    I didn't believe it when the 'discovery' was announced. Not because I doubt the abilities of the CERN people, but because I doubt the existence of any particle that has 'gravity' properties.

    Not that I know anything about physics, really.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Just as I thought...

      The Higgs doesn't have gravity properties, it has mass properties.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Just as I thought...

      "Not that I know anything about physics, really."

      And yet you have an opinion on fundamental particles.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Just as I thought...

        "Not that I know anything about physics, really."

        And yet you have an opinion on fundamental particles.

        If knowing something about the subject were a prerequisite for having an opinion on it, these forums would be nearly empty.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there space for the Mother of All Colliders in Denmark?

    The next super-collider needs to be in Denmark! Then the Nobel committee won't collectively get heartburn!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Is there space for the Mother of All Colliders in Denmark?

      Erm you do know that the Nobel committee is in Sweden?

    2. JonP
      Coat

      Re: Is there space for the Mother of All Colliders in Denmark?

      If they built it on the Isle Of Skye they could probably blag some funding from apple!

  12. toxicdragon

    Science!

    Why is it, that with all this advancement of human knowledge even if its not the boson, is that if it isn't, will Hawking get his money back?

  13. John Tserkezis

    Does this mean the development of making things weigh less, has some work to go?

    I guess my fat arse is going to stay fat for some time then.

    Come one, you know it, the first application is going to be a "miracle" weight loss system.

  14. ecofeco Silver badge

    Let's cut to the chase

    Do they have proof it isn't?

    No. Then they should STFU until then.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Let's cut to the chase

      That's not how science works.

      Following measurements of 4 (+/- 1) legs, a 90% confidence detection of a head and a mass estimate of quite-big we announce the discovery of the horse.

      It could be a cow.

      Then with a bigger collider we could investigate the presence of udders.

  15. Maybe?

    The big bang,in the process of inflating, split what there was into bits of compressed space surround by stretched space the latter pulling between any two of the former...attraction? Elementary mass and elementary field. Equal in strength and opposite in nature boson & field? They wouldn't "give" mass, they are mass. Accumulations and configurations would be near infinite, or maybe strike the "near".

    Or not.

  16. Steve Knox

    Occam's Razor

    So either they've discovered a particle which resolves unanswered questions, or they've discovered a particle which raises yet more questions, including the requirement of the existence of heretofore unobserved fields.

    Absent specific evidence that this is not the Higgs Boson, the former theory remains the simpler, and hence more useful.

    1. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: Occam's Razor

      But that's the point, isn't it?

      The Higgs announcement was done very carefully. After all, much Egg-in-Face would be involved if they got it wrong... So the basic theory stands, and until they fire up the LHC again to get better measurements, we won't know.

      The CERN team was very clear that they found a Higgs particle. They couldn't be sure if it was the only one, or, like some theories stated, there could be a set, until after the refurbishement so they could make bigger bangs.

      To me, this danish announcement sounds premature and...pet-theory-peevish... and there's not a single solid thing where the team involved points at the data and says: "hey, that's funny..."

      So until they do I'd classify it as fund-fishing.

      1. dan1980

        Re: Occam's Razor

        @Grikath

        It does seem very, as you say, "pet-theory-peevish".

        Essentially what they seem to be saying is that while this data doesn't lend credence to their theory*, it's doesn't disprove it either . . . so CERN should go test that theory instead!

        From what I understand, the theory of the Higgs Mechanism predicts that the Higgs particle will appear at this mass. So, they find a particle at this mass, as predicted. They continue studying and confirm that this mystery particle fits the profile of the proposed Higgs boson as regards its interactions and decay. (And likely other properties I just don't understand.) There are still more tests to be run, after the LHC re-starts following its upgrade but every thing they have observed so far is consistent with the proposed Higg boson.

        Which is cool because this has shown science in its very best light. Exacting requirements, two isolated teams, multiple reviews and a host of continued experiments. And still, after all that, they are saying no more than the data reveals, which is that they have definitely observed a particle at this narrow range of masses and that all subsequent tests and experiments, themselves conducted with the utmost rigour, have produced results that are in accordance with the predictions of the Higgs field theory.

        Hopefully there is some line of experiements that can be done - some property that can be observed - that will rule one of these two theories out as the explanation for this particular particle.

        * - As it can 'accommodate' a particle of that mass.

      2. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Occam's Razor

        @ Grikath "The Higgs announcement was done very carefully. After all, much Egg-in-Face would be involved if they got it wrong... So the basic theory stands, and until they fire up the LHC again to get better measurements, we won't know."

        I said essentially the same thing and got 4 down votes.

      3. Bleu

        Re: Occam's Razor

        They never did claim it was definitive proof, IIRC, despite holding self-congratulatory press conferences. They only claimed high probability. Perhaps that it is all that is possible at this stage of theoretical comprehension?

        Let's not forget that many properties of mass are well understood at the macro level, Newton still holds in most situations, but the relation between mass and the production of gravitation remains the least understood of fundamental force phenomena, particularly at the level of fundamental particles.

        I strongly agree on fund-fishing re. this latest.

  17. Michael Hoffmann

    LHC Reboot

    I'm surprised nobody else has commented yet that the LHC itself hasn't even been run at full strength yet.

    With the 2015 reboot they'll finally cross the streams at maximum beam luminosity (or some time after appropriate testing to make sure the magnets don't melt again ;-)

    If after that massive influx of inverted femtobarns they still aren't sure, the Danes can re-open their case for their new SSC under Copenhagen.

    1. stuartnz

      Re: LHC Reboot

      <someone had to say it> "they'll finally cross the streams" And then all Hell will REALLY break loose.

      < /someone had to say it>

      1. Alien8n Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: LHC Reboot

        All bow down to our giant marshmallow overlords

  18. GeophysB
    Headmaster

    Just to be clear...

    "The current data is not precise enough to determine exactly what the particle is."

    If they don't know that data are plural, I'm not sure I trust the rest of the bleeding edge particle physics they carried out.

    I'll get my pedantic coat on the way out of the datum...

    1. Justin Case

      Re: Just to be clear...

      >...data are plural...

      My thoughts exactly.

      It is kind of worrying that they can't tell the difference between 1 and more than 1.

    2. Glenturret Single Malt

      Re: Just to be clear...

      I am in sympathy with your observation. The sentence sounds clumsy and sort of wrong. However, my Chambers Dictionary (1994 edition) defines data as "n.pl. (but commonly used as singular)". So I fear that you are fighting a losing (lost already?) battle.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just to be clear...

      "If they don't know that data are plural...."

      That only applies for speakers of Merkinese. Here on the right side of the Atlantic we're quite happy that data is singular.

      1. Bleu

        Re: Just to be clear...

        In a language sense, it is much more sensible and convenient to use it as plural. The only reason it was messed up in the first place was sloppy usage in merika.

        For one example, we have silly constructs like 'data point', datum would do quite well.

        There are several others.

      2. RISC OS

        Re: Just to be clear...

        Except that nobody but pedants uses it on the right side of the atlantic as singular.... it's plural.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Starting from Latin, 'data' is the nominative plural of 'datum' ('a given thing'), a past participle of 'dare' (to give).

          As any fule know, it can be used interchangeably for singular or plural.

          'Iacta alea est' (Julius Caesar, on crossing the Rubicon)

          'The dice are cast'

          OR

          'The die is cast'

          Both equally valid translations. This rule carries forward into English. So sorry to most pedants above, you are plain old wrong.

  19. dan1980

    "If the researchers are right, their report would discredit the claims of discovery of the Higgs boson, which has been sought because its existence would fill vital holes in the Standard Model of physics."

    Slight re-wording might be better:

    . . . its existence would help confirm a mechanism that was proposed 50 years ago to fill a conspicuous hole in the Standard Model of physics.

    "The current data is not precise enough to determine exactly what the particle is. It could be a number of other known particles."

    It seems to me that they are proposing that these other 'known' particles would be the purely hypothetical 'techni' particles, which makes it an interesting (though not at all anomalous) use of the word 'known'.

  20. Sebastian Brosig

    still holding out

    for the Higgs First Mate, at least, if not the Higgs Captain

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: still holding out

      This joke has already taken cartoon form in the Girl Genius comic.

  21. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    spelling mistake?

    Are we aware if the Mads (Professor) was wearing his Techno-trousers when he announced his Techno-quarks ...?

    If it looks like an excuse for a pun and sounds like an excuse for a pun ...

  22. Conundrum1885

    Re.Higgs

    MiHSC is where the likely explanation is.

    Modified Inertia with a Hubble Scale Constant.

    Predicts things like magnitude of force from EmDrive, gravitomagnetism and the Pioneer anomaly.

    Also explains expansion without dark matter, and observations of varying isotope half life from solar/etc anomalies.

  23. Dick Pountain

    Techno-angels?

    I think this a ruse to get us all to stump up for a new pin-head

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: Techno-angels?

      Fractal pinheads are more useful as regards the number of Angels rthey can accommodate.

      Quantum pinheads can be tricky as you know you put the Angels down somewhere but can rarely find them.

  24. Yugguy

    I know they're not really, but...

    From a layman's perspective it often seems like they invent new particles to fit theories rather than new theories to fit existing particles.

    "What the hell is that? A Higgs boson?"

    "Beats me, er, call it a slightly-Higgs boson. That other one can be a Higgish boson."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I know they're not really, but...

      Yes, that's how it works. The theories try to explain observation, the new particles are needed to deal with the book-keeping*. Thus the neutrino took years from proposal to experimental evidence, and the Higgs took over 50 years.

      *The neutrino was necessary because when beta decay was investigated, the before and after states did not balance for energy and spin. Rather than decide that spin and energy were not conserved, which would have been a huge can of worms, it was easier to propose that something was taking them away. This proved correct.

  25. Don_in_Odessa

    Man's infinite ignorance

    The universe is infinite ... in all directions. That would include man's arrogance. To believe they have found the tiniest, is only a reflection of the limits of their present suppositions. Which they proudly announce with finality exposing the truth of their own intellect ... infinite ignorance.

    Don_in_Odessa

    1. h4rm0ny
      Thumb Up

      Re: Man's infinite ignorance

      >>"The universe is infinite ... in all directions."

      Ha! I always knew I was at the centre of the Universe!

    2. joeW

      Re: Man's infinite ignorance

      Who said they believe it to be the tiniest?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Man's infinite ignorance - sorry, Don

      The non-mathematical philosophers' meeting to moan about the rise of science is in the other building.

  26. 7

    What do we really know?

    Big Foot neither looks like a duck nor quacks like a duck, so in all probability Big Foot is not a duck. But if Big Foot were found to be a duck, and 2 dimensional ... oh boy! (Stockholm, here I come.)

  27. hi_robb

    Oh no.

    This will cause mass panic amongst scientists.

  28. Bleu

    They were never really interested in SAVING BOS'N HIGGS

    All along, the plan has been either to

    create a mini-black hole that is sustained and eats the earth

    or

    creating a sufficiently energetic event to attract the attention of their beloved many-angled ones and RESTORE CTHULHU & CO. TO THEIR RIGHTFUL PLACES AS OUR OVERLORDS!

    Igor, it's ah-alive, I tell you it's ALIVE!!!

    WTF is a tekni-quark (or techni) supposed to be? I did study quantum, sure only to a shallow level on sub-elementary particles, very non-descriptive term, suppose the tekni is supposed to have the meaning of 'artefact produced by a non-related quark'. Never heard of a type of quark called 'tekni'.

  29. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

    Meson history

    The meson was a theoretical prediction.

    Then mesons were discovered in cosmic rays. But they were not "right" mesons: they were mu-mesons. The later discovery of pi-mesons justified the original theory.

  30. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Angel

    So we spent all this money on CERN to find out....

    That Europeans have trouble acknowledging the existence of God(particle)? :)

    Well, color me surprised!!!

  31. Richie 1

    Ceci n'est pas une Higgs

    as Magritte would say.

  32. Stretch

    Keep the receipts for those Nobel Prizes did you guys?

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