Tevatron's final results give new hint of Higgs boson

Posted by Kate Taylor

Scientists at the US' Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory say they too have spotted signs of the Higgs boson in the same mass range as has been observed at the Large Hadron Collider.

While Fermilab's Tevatron accelerator was shut down in September last year, data from its two last experiments show signs of the particle - a 'missing link' in the standard model of physics, required to explain why objects have mass.

Physicists from both the CDF and DZero collaborations found excesses in their data that could be interpreted as coming from a Higgs boson with a mass in the region of 115 to 135 GeV. That fits with the results from CERN's LHC, which give a range of between 115 and 127 GeV.

The findings are also consistent with the December 2011 announcement of excesses seen in that range by LHC experiments, which searched for the Higgs in different decay patterns.

The results fall some way short of conclusive proof. Nevertheless, the teams are excited.

"The end game is approaching in the hunt for the Higgs boson," says Jim Siegrist, DOE associate director of science for high energy physics.

"This is an important milestone for the Tevatron experiments, and demonstrates the continuing importance of independent measurements in the quest to understand the building blocks of nature."

Neither team is attempting to observe the Higgs boson directly, instead looking for the particcle into which it almost immediately decays.

At the Tevatron, the most powerful search method is to examine the CDF and DZero datasets to look for a Higgs boson that decays into a pair of bottom quarks if the Higgs boson mass is approximately 115-130 GeV.

"This result represents years of work from hundreds of scientists around the world," says Rob Roser, CDF co-spokesperson and physicist at Fermilab.

"But we are not done yet – together with our LHC colleagues, we expect 2012 to be the year we know whether the Higgs exists or not, and assuming it is discovered, we will have first indications that it behaves as predicted by the Standard Model."