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Have they discovered the Higgs boson? Probably

I feel that we should acknowledge the announcement made at CERN this morning. As put by Brian Cox on Twitter: “ATLAS and CMS have independently discovered a new particle mass ~ 126 GeV which behaves like [the standard model] Higgs”. This is all based on statistical analysis of experimental data and, since the Higgs cannot be observed directly, there are some outstanding questions that require further research.

Have they discovered the Higgs boson? The answer is: probably. If it’s the Higgs, then it’s a nice example of theoretical physics making demonstrable predictions about nature. If the discovered particle is something else, then there’s a bunch more theoretical work to do to understand this.