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This is more of an extended comment, because I don't know the answer, but hopefully this will be useful. Any field with a non-zero spin must have to have a vacuum expectation value (VEV) of zero, because any other value would break Lorentz invariance. So spin 0 bosons like the Higgs are the only ones that can have non-zero VEVs. As for the form of the ...


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From the form of the Higgs potential (which is quartic, the famous Mexican hat) you can see that for $\Re \phi =0$ as well as for $\Im \phi=0$ (the real and imaginary parts of the Higgs field), it is sitting on the unstable top of the hat. Thus, a small perturbation would lead it away from $0$. Since the potential has a smaller value away from zero so does ...


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The first difficulty in making a measurement of this kind is, of course, to build the facility. However once you solve all the engineering issues and put your machines in place, the experiment flow is pretty straightforward: you run and you get the data, in principle without any human intervention. Up to here you just let Nature do its work in a pretty ...


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Most of the reproduction of results in particle physics comes from two sources: Competing experiments running nearly simultaneously. In this case both ATLAS and CMS got comparable results. Now, they are both using the beam from the LHC, so how do we know the beam is properly understood? Because while they were commissioning those machines they reproduced ...


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Do we have any similar experiments where we confirm a theory without being able to reproduce those results? Not today, but once we know how it works we can repeat it on a smaller and cheaper scale. The first electronic calculators required an entire floor, consumed staggering amounts of power and cost a budget-busting amount of money. Today, my phone ...


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The question is "how much scientific confidence can we put into things like the mass of the Higgs". Well, what is the level of certainty? According to CERN it is around 7 sigma. In simple terms at 7 sigma, both the CMS and ATLAS teams are reporting that there’s only a 0.0000000001% chance that they haven’t found a Higgs-like particle.


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The Higgs mechanism is a theoretical formulation answering how a gauge boson may acquire a mass. The Higgs mechanism predicts the existence of a particle, called the Higgs boson. Particles may decay, for example the neutron decays into a proton, electron and a neutrino. Similarly the Higgs boson can decay. Its decay into two photons was the discovery ...



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