But like all hints of a Higgs discovery, scientists of the Tevatron's CDF and DZero collaborations can't point at the bump in the data and announce to the world that they've discovered the Higgs.
Although the signal looks real, the combined CDF and DZero result has a statistical significance of 2.9 sigma. "This means there is only a 1-in-550 chance that the signal is due to a statistical fluctuation," says Fermilab. Even so, that's a long way off the desired "Gold Standard" of a 5-sigma result that physicists need before a discovery can be announced.
So, all eyes are now on the LHC. "It is a real cliffhanger," said DZero co-spokesperson Gregorio Bernardi.
Interestingly, the Tevatron hunt for the Higgs focuses on a different kind of Higgs particle decay, one that the LHC is not sensitive to.
"Just as a vending machine might return the same amount of change using different combinations of coins, the Higgs can decay into different combinations of particles. At the LHC, the experiments can most easily observe the existence of a Higgs particle by searching for its decay into two energetic photons. At the Tevatron, experiments most easily see the decay of a Higgs particle into a pair of bottom quarks." - Fermilab.