Higgs-Boson Found? Latest from the Large Hadron Collider
Large Hadron Collider: Higgs Boson Discovered at Last?
Woit is talking about the Higgs boson, the so-called "God Particle" which the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is meant to either find or rule out, thus confirming or debunking the Standard Model of particle physics, as opposed to the Higgsless model.
The LHC is the world's largest particle accelerator, with a 17-mile circular track. The LHC first fired up in 2008, but has had a few breakdowns along the way.
The danger here is one of confirmation bias: that something looks like the Higgs boson is supposed to look can say as much about the observer as it does about that which is observed.
While evidence of the Higgs boson exists, the result which presented that evidence had a 0.13% probability of having occurred by chance: a 3-sigma signal. That's not enough for super-science-- the LHC team is looking for a 5-sigma signal, which would only have a 0.000028% chance of having been a fluke.
The possible news has a number of physics bloggers speculating that LHC scientists will announce the discovery of the Higgs during the International Conference on High Energy Physics, which takes place in Melbourne, Australia, July 4 to 11.