Originally posted by sonhouse
So why is it so hard to tease out the data?
Very massive particle which means that it requires very high energies to produce.
And even at those energies having the collision happen just right so a Higgs is produced
is very rare.
Add to that the fact that the Higgs is unstable and decays very very rapidly so what you
actually see in the detectors are the particles it has decayed into... Or more likely the particles
they decayed into.
So you have to reverse engineer the shower of particles that land in the detector running the
explosion in reverse to see how they come together (bearing in mind that you are likely to have
had more than one collision creating more than one source point for the shower of particles.)
Oh and btw, some of the particles created (like neutrinos) are basically undetectable and just
disappear off without ever being detected. So you have to infer their existence by calculating the
known masses and kinetic energies/momentums of the particles you do detect and applying the
laws of conservation of energy/mass/momentum.
Oh and also despite your best efforts to bury the thing underground and remove any and all radioactive
materials from the detectors and their surroundings you still get the odd particle interact with the materiel
of the detector in undesirable ways, you get cosmic rays zipping through, and random particle decays.
All of which confuse the picture you are trying to construct of what happened.