Fermilab Particle Physicists Wonder: Are There 5 Higgs Bosons?

By Joseph Calamia | June 15, 2010 5:41 pm

TevatronIf the Higgs boson is the “God Particle,” then some particle physicists just turned polytheistic. To explain a recent experiment, they wonder if five Higgs bosons give our universe mass instead of one.

Last month, we discussed a curious experiment at the Tevatron particle accelerator at Fermilab near Chicago. Colliding protons and antiprotons, the Tevratron’s DZero group found more matter than antimatter.

This agrees well with common sense–if the Big Bang had really churned out equal amounts of matter and antimatter, the particles would have annihilated each other, and we wouldn’t be here. Unfortunately, the physics for this matter favoritism doesn’t make sense.

For one, it requires some fudging to fit the Standard Model, the organizing theory for particle physics. This might seem sad since we were so close to finishing the Standard Model up, with the Higgs filling the last cage in physicists’ particle zoo:

For those who believe the Standard Model is nearly complete, the discovery of the Higgs boson–a theoretical particle that imparts mass to all the other particles–would close out the final chapter. But for others who think that undiscovered physics properties exist–so-called new physics–a sequel to the Standard Model is needed. [Symmetry]

What would a sequel to the Standard Model look like? The Higgs Strikes Back might include five Higgses, particle physicists at the DZero group speculate: all with the same mass, three uncharged, one with a positive charge, and one with a negative charge. Theoretical physicists have already dreamt up this possibility, calling it the “two-Higgs doublet model.”

As explained in a BBC report, this version of the Standard Model would leave most of the original theory intact, a feat in a system that doesn’t have much wiggle room:

“In models with an extra Higgs doublet, it’s easy to have large new physics effects like this DZero result,” [Fermilab's Adam Martin] explained. “What’s difficult is to have those large effects without damaging anything else that we have already measured.” Dr Martin explained that there were other possible interpretations for the DZero result. But he added: “The Standard Model fits just about every test we’ve thrown at it. To fit in a new effect in one particular place is not easy.” [BBC]

Given, that the Fermilab found this antimatter vs matter result, we might wonder if they too will find these fascinating, elusive Higgs boson particles, perhaps stepping on the toes of their higher-energy rival, the Large Hadron Collider.

It may comes down to how much mass these particles have (currently unknown). If the Higgs are Greek god particles, Fermilab is better suited to detect a more delicate Athena Higgs, while LHC might more easily find a fatter Silenus particle.

Related content:
Discoblog: World Science Festival: What if Physicists Don’t Find the Higgs Boson?
80beats: In the Universe’s Decisive Battle, Why Did Matter Prevail Over Antimatter?
80beats: LHC Beam Zooms Past 1 Trillion Electron Volts, Sets World Record
80beats: In 1 Week, the LHC Will Try to Earn the Title, “Big Bang Machine”
Discoblog: I Swear: Subatomic Particles Are Singing to Me!

Image: Fermilab

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Physics & Math
  • Georg

    So,
    which “Overhiggs” will give those 5 Higgses their mass?

  • Albert Bakker

    And still nobody has said the Zeus Higgs. I’m not going to make that mistake either. Higgs bosons get their mass by moving as a particle through the Higgs field, just like all the other particles with mass get theirs. It may have the appearance of being self-referential, but the reason why it is not lies in the difference between the Higgs-field and (the) Higgs boson(s).

    Here’s a very simple analogy:
    http://www.coimbra.lip.pt/atlas/higgsmec.htm

  • http://www.cosmology-particles.pl Sylwester Kornowski

    To understand the difference between the general relativity and the quantum physics we must know internal structure of the Einstein spacetime and bare particles. Assume that the Einstein spacetime is a gas composed of the non-rotating binary systems of neutrinos. Since the non-rotating binary systems cannot transfer any energy to a detector, it is very difficult to detect such spacetime. When particles appear as the particle-antiparticle pairs then the Einstein spacetime is more symmetrical. It leads to conclusion that in the Einstein spacetime can appear rotary vortex-antivortex pairs and sometimes the distance between the components of a pair can be, in cosmic scale, very large. From one of such left-handed rotary vortex arose an object before the big bang. Due to its evolution, there appeared our early Universe. We see that the symmetry of the Einstein spacetime was broken inside the left-handed vortex already before the big bang. The different behavior of matter and antimatter is due to the local asymmetry of the Einstein spacetime caused by the phenomena before the big bang, not due to a matter-antimatter asymmetry. In my opinion, it changes our vision of nature very much. Particles acquire their masses due to the laws of conservation of spin and energy.

  • http://clubneko.net nick

    “For those who believe the Standard Model is nearly complete”

    Oh haven’t we learnt anything?

    “In 1900, Lord Kelvin famously stated, “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” Five years later, Albert Einstein published his paper on special relativity, which challenged the very simple set of rules laid down by Newtonian mechanics, which had been used to describe force and motion for over three hundred years.”

    Newton ruled for 300 years. Einstein and the standard model have around a century of rule. In 50 years or so, they’re due to be toppled. Human knowledge exponentially increases. I may be off by a couple decades, but just wait: we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

  • Lonny Eachus

    Mr. Kornowski:

    It appears to me that there is one fundamental flaw in your argument: you are assuming the existence of an “Einstein” spacetime BEFORE the “Big Bang”. But the Big Bang itself is what is supposed to have created Einsteinian spacetime. You might as well just say God did it or something.

  • http://www.cosmology-particles.pl Sylwester Kornowski

    The law of conservation of energy leads to conclusion that matter and energy are eternal. A creation of, for example, our Universe from nothing (i.e. in truly empty volume = 0D volume) is impossible. My theory shows that the experimental data lead to the eternal Newtonian spacetime – it is gas composed of tachyons having positive mass. The tachyons fill the infinite 0D volume. The phase transitions of this spacetime lead to the Einstein spacetime (it is gas composed of the non-rotating binary systems of neutrinos – it is very difficult to detect such gas), to the atom-like structure of baryons, to the objects before the big bangs suited to life (there was infinite number of such big bangs), to the all physical constants and mathematical constants applied in physics. In the Einstein’s spacetime appear the fractals. Evolution of the objects before big bangs suited to life leads to the dark matter and dark energy.

  • kamal jeetsingh

    itwould be better if scientiss focus on Naada (sound)rather than particles for understanding how mass is gathered.
    it would also be beneficial if research is done on THOUGHTS as a form of Life.

  • Siddharth Modi

    recall heisenberg’s proposal, it is difficult pinpoint the momentum and space coordinates of electrons simultaneously. This laws fail in the case of higgs boson. The five higgs boson are the energy manifestation of only one boson and they are for such a short time it is difficult to detect them. It is similar to the states of electrons when we speak in terms of quantum computers.

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