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]

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