Thursday, September 02, 2010

Fermilab to continue hunt for the Higgs

Yesterday an advisory panel at Fermilab doubled down on the center's Tevatron once again, giving the aging accelerator one last push to find the elusive Higgs Boson in the race with CERN. The panel is recommending that the instrument receive continued funding of $150-million, extending its operations through 2014. The Tevatron is currently scheduled to end operations after 2011.

The information came on the heels of protests at CERN last week over the half-billion dollar budget cut imposed on that facility by European governments. CERN researchers were quick to warn that such a massive cut back might further increase the risk of another breakdown similar to the one that forced the collider to close for 14-months.

The Tevatron has been battling against obsolescence since the Large Hadron Collider first came online, but after the LHC's embarrassing breakdown and a rash of recent discoveries made on the Tevatron, Fermilab is showing they might be able to find the Higgs despite being seriously outgunned.


However, extending funding means other experiments that would have used the money will now take a back seat as the accelerator explores the remaining mass ranges where the Higgs might be hiding. The D0 and CDF - the Tevatron's two main instruments - have already ruled out most of the range that the mass carrying particle was thought to be in, however, an extra three years should give physicists enough time to rule out the remainder of the predicted range.

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