The Higgs Boson Discovery Gets More Certain

In July, scientists announced that they'd discovered what they strongly believed to be the Higgs boson, a particle that's believed to be the key to unifying the standard and quantum models of physics. Now, after more experiments, they're even more certain that they've finally got it.

The experiments that were described on July 4 were enough for the scientists to prescribe a 5-sigma level of certainty to the finding: in other words, that there was a one in 3.5 million chance that the finding was a fluke.

The new experiments, however, which are described on pre-print server arXiv, boast a 5.9-sigma level of certainty. That means there's only a one in three million chance that the Higgs does not exist. That's some jump.

But it's still not quite enough. Particle physicists usually hold off until they reach a 6-sigma level to publish. Fingers crossed! [arXiv via BBC]


Comments

    You need to check your math. A 5 sigma certainty equals a one in 3.5 million chance of error while a 5.9 sigma certainty equals a one in 3 million error? I would have presumed the chance of error would *decrease* rather than increase.

    Am i reading it wrong...or is my logic just weird. If its 1 in 3.5 million chance it was wrong...and now its 1 in 3 million ..if it reach a 1 in 2(single digit) chance, wouldnt that means its less likely that its it real....because reach 1 would mean its a fluke ...

      Giz doesn't do math or logic, you know that. Or Jamie doesn't. Or Giz hired Jamie for article-writing, not math. Which is pretty negligent for a tech news site.

    A "1 in 3.5 million" chance to a "1 in 3 million" chance? That sure is some jump!
    In the wrong direction.

    TedJ, Anon:
    The BBC article says 5.9 sigma is 1 in 300 million.

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