Weve Found the Higgs Boson Sort ofWell, CERN had their big announcement and revealed something quite amazing: the discovery of a new particle, one that happens to be very, very heavy. you know, just like the Higgs Boson would be when it is discovered. So did they discover the Higgs?
Yes. Probably. They're not completely sure and they need to run more tests, but it sure looks like a Higgs Boson. Though it might not be the Higgs Boson. There are incredibly unlikely exotic possibilities that have to be ruled out before this new particle is called the Higgs.
CERN did a stellar job of carefully couching their discovery in a sea of doubt, making sure that everyone was aware that it might not be the Higgs--while hinting very strongly that it is. The scientists were clearly excited about the discovery.
To be fair, we do need to be sure about the Higgs. There have been a string of studies put before the public eye before they were fully vetted by the scientific community. Remember the faster than light neutrinos? That incident destroyed careers. So rather than risk public ire if it turns out on some off chance not to be the Higgs, CERN is being very, very careful.
But let's assume this is the Higgs. We have just discovered a major piece in how our universe works and provided another bit of evidence for the Standard model, our current best guess for how particles form the universe. The Higgs doesn't give us a theory of everything, it isn't god. But it is one of the most significant physics discoveries of this century. A discovery that will have a long-standing impact on the world.