Was all the Higgs hoopla a bit premature?
In a new paper that has raised eyebrows around the world, an international team of scientists says there is no proof that the particle whose discovery was confirmed last year by physicists at CERN is the long-sought Higgs boson.
"The CERN data is generally taken as evidence that the particle is the Higgs particle," Dr. Mads Tourdal Frandsen, an associate professor in the University of Southern Denmark's Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics Phenomenology and a member of the team, said in a written statement. "It is true that the Higgs particle can explain the data but there can be other explanations."
The new research seems to piggyback on previous research suggesting that the Higgs boson is actually made up of smaller particles, UPI reported.
CERN's data simply isn't precise enough to prove the particle discovered was the Higgs boson, Frandsen said. And he's not the only physicist to acknowledge the ambiguity in the data.
"The data from the LHC experiments are certainly consistent with the Higgs expectations of how it is produced and how it decays, as well as the spin of this particle," Dr. Michael Tuts, a particle physicist at Columbia University in New York City and a leading researcher at CERN, told The Huffington Post in an email. "However, as the article points out, that may not be the only explanation of this new particle."
If it wasn't the Higgs boson CERN scientists found, what was it?
"We believe that it may be a so-called techni-higgs particle," Frandsen said in the statement.
The Higgs and techni-higgs have similar properties but belong to different theories of the universe, according to the statement. And while the Higgs is believed to be an elementary particle, the techni-higgs isn't. It's composed of two so-called techni-quarks, which are believed to be elementary particles.
Like Frandsen, Tuts believes new research will be required to answer the Higgs question once and for all.
"We will need more data collected over the coming years in order to be able to rule out other explanations," Tuts said in his email. "The discovery of this particle, which we presume is the Higgs, has opened up a whole new area of study."
The paper describing the new research was published Aug. 13, 2014 in the journal Physical Review D.