Many news media round the world such as this http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=higgs-lhc have reported the possible discovery of the Higgs at CERN, to be announced at a conference on the 4th July. Has the Higgs really been discovered or are these publicity stunts? If, it has been discovered what will be the impact on particle physics, if its existence has been disproved how will it affect theoretical physics and particle physics? I found a similiar question on Physics SE, but it is 4 months old, so I would like to know the what the current facts are as we know them.

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    $\begingroup$ It's probably discovered, and everything else is pretty much excluded, so it would be a huge shock if the 125 Higgs isn't there. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Maimon
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ Have a look at this vixra.org/Combo combination of 2011 data. It looks as if there is something there, but to nail it as the Higgs will need more data, on angular distributions and decay channel crossections. $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 9:10
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    $\begingroup$ It is worth noting that analyses are being conducted blind. Blind means that the data have been subjected to a reversible transformation such that the people doing the analysis don't know exactly what they are working on but they can still go through the usual process (extracting data driven calibrations and corrections). They will not be unblinded until shortly before the schedules announcement, so even though the analysis is surely mostly done even the principles do not yet know the final results. This is the guard against biasing the results toward existing expectations. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ Both collaborations have unblinded, at least on a substantial subset of the data they have so far. But anyway, this question can wait 8 days for a proper answer. Note that last year's data was most compelling in the Higgs to two photon channel, whereas the channels that really make a Higgs a Higgs are the $WW$ and $ZZ$ channels. There were some $ZZ$ events last year, but CMS had more of them at the wrong mass (119 GeV) relative to the photons (125 GeV). So the thing to keep an eye on next week is whether we learn that the particle couples to $Z$, and maybe to $W$, although that's tougher. $\endgroup$
    – Matt Reece
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 14:42

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I don't think we should comment on wild rumours. On July 4th we'll know for sure.

Getting $5\sigma$ evidence for a Higgs at 125GeV will only confirm what most of us already believe, so it won't make that much difference. What will be interesting is if the properties of the particle at 125GeV don't match the standard model Higgs. For example there have been suggestions that the production rate is a bit higher than the Standard Model predicts, though this is currently far from statistically significant.

The nightmare scenario is if the particle discovered fits exactly with SM predictions and there is no evidence for any physics beyond the Standard Model. That will leave a lot of people scratching their heads and wondering what to do next.

  • $\begingroup$ What sort of interesting ideas could a non-standard Higgs give though? Wouldn't we still have to incorporate the Higgs mechanism, and thereby use everything we also use now? $\endgroup$
    – Nikolaj-K
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 8:24
  • $\begingroup$ Altogether now: "Supersymmetry!" :-) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 8:29
  • $\begingroup$ So as to move the eV-number of the Higgs a little and thereby predict new undiscovered particles to have an argument in financing politics? $\endgroup$
    – Nikolaj-K
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/0607308 $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ $4.8\sigma$? Or perhaps $4.5\sigma$ and $4.3\sigma$? Taken together, giving, perhaps, just over $5\sigma$? The fun and games of telling the press that the Higgs has been discovered (the $5\sigma$) but not confirmed (and neither experiment can claim it independently). It looks like CERN is experimenting with collisions of public expectations. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 11:24

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