Santa Claus Scientists are saying they're way ahead of schedule on their search for the Higgs Boson. They're so ahead of schedule, they could find the theorized "God particle" by Christmas. Professor Guido Tonelli told BBC News that the Large Hadron Collider's CMS experiment has collected half of their expected data in their first quarter of operation. The goal for the experiment was to collect 5 inverse femtobarns' worth of data by the end of 2012, a benchmark, "a large number of people said would be a 'highly optimistic goal' for 2012," according to PhD student Richard Ruiz, writing for science blog Quantum Diaries.
The LHC has already collected 2.5 inverse femtobarns, their goal for the end of 2011. If they keep going at their current pace, scientists could collect the full 5 inverse femtobarns by the end of the year. "We could discover the Standard Model version of the Higgs Boson or exclude it earlier than expected. Could we discover it by Christmas? In principle, yes," Professor Tonelli told the BBC.
The experiment will either prove the existence of the "God particle," or exclude it from the record books altogether. If they do prove the particle doesn't exist? Professor Tonelli explains, "This would be the first time that we would have scientific evidence that this theory which has been so successful in the last 40 years must be definitely abandoned and we should look for another theory." That seems awfully Grinch-y, don't you think?