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Adam Yurkewicz | USLHC | USA

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Higgs Hunting News

Physicists at the Tevatron made news at the AAAS meeting in Chicago by announcing an estimate of the chances of finding evidence for the Higgs boson at Fermilab in the next few years.  And they claim the chances are quite good, as you can see in the plot above.

The chances depend very strongly on the actual mass of the Higgs boson, which no one knows.  Depending on what the mass of the Higgs boson is, it will decay into other particles that are easier or harder for an experiment to detect.  So for example if the mass turns out to be about 170 GeV, the Tevatron experiments say their chances are almost 100 percent of finding it by 2011.  If the mass turns out to really be 135 GeV, the chances are below 30 percent.

The articles I’ve seen on this topic always play up the angle that the LHC and Tevatron teams are in a competition or race, which is definitely true to some extent.  But I for one am certainly not rooting against the Tevatron!

First of all, many people are part of both Tevatron and LHC experiments.  I, for example, was part of a Fermilab experiment, DZero, for about 7 years, and I would feel proud if DZero found the Higgs boson.  Second, all of us want to know if there is a Higgs boson and what it looks like, so to speak, and have wanted to know for a very long time.  If the Higgs boson is discovered, we will all be celebrating, no matter who discovers it.  Finally, there is plenty of great physics coming at the LHC that the Tevatron has no hope of doing, and wasn’t designed to do.  If the Higgs boson is found at the Tevatron, it doesn’t diminish the excitement of what is to come at the LHC.  If anything, it would make us more eager to see what else there is.  So I am rooting for the Tevatron!

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