By Ashley Yeager

This cartoon shows a "line-up" of possible suspects for the Higgs boson. Click image for a larger view. Credit: Mark Kruse, Duke University.

Scientists may have spotted the Higgs boson again.

But, Duke physicist Mark Kruse says Fermilab has made its latest announcement prematurely.

Physicists have been searching for the Higgs for more than 40 years, hoping to find it and at last explain how mass in the universe is created.

Last year, the Fermilab team announced no significant hint of the particle when it had analyzed about 80 percent of the data from its two Higgs-hunting instruments, CDF and DZero.

Now, after adding the remaining 20 percent of the data, and some analytic improvements, the team is suggesting that Fermilab has seen the particle.

The signal, however, would be “almost fantastically high” if seen with other Higgs detection methods, Kruse says. He is on one of the committees reviewing the analyses from Fermilab’s CDF experiment and once led the instrument’s Higgs Discovery Group.

He also works at LHC, where teams made a similar announcement last December.

A “tremendous amount of work” has gone into the latest Fermilab results, Kruse says. But, the team could have waited for upcoming improvements in the CDF and DZero studies and also worked to better understand the discrepancy between the lab’s latest results and those from last year.

This might, of course, all be sorted out soon, he adds. But, “my feeling is that it was a little soon to make this announcement with the suggested claims we made, without the full results and proper understanding of the present analyses.”

This “rush to announce” mentality may also create a certain amount of distrust in the public eye, Kruse says.