2012 Archives

Watch Live: Higgs Boson Announcement

Excerpt

The following story ran on the July 4, 2012, edition of Wired.com's Science blog. Aidan Randle-Conde is a post-doc at SMU.

July 10, 2012

By Adam Mann

Officials at CERN will finally be revealing their latest results in the search for the Higgs boson during a talk starting at midnight PT (3 a.m. ET) on July 4.

Physicists have been eagerly waiting for this announcement, with hopes running high that the new data will pin down Higgs boson with enough precision to consider it discovered. Previously, LHC results have strongly signaled the existence of a Higgs with a mass of 125 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), or roughly 125 times more massive than the proton. More recently, rumors have been flying that suggest this talk will be the definitive announcement of the long-sought boson’s discovery.

Every physicist in the world — and likely thousands of interested laypeople — will be watching to see what CERN scientists announce. On his blog, physicist Tommaso Dorigo, who works with one of the main Higg-hunting experiments at the LHC, described the scene in the lecture hall the day before the talk:

“Analyzers are feverishly giving the last touches to the most important graphs, unfortunately exactly the ones that took the most time to put together. Conveners are busy producing text for the press conferences and interviews, and translating them to all known languages on Earth. Spokespersons are overburdened with the task of producing well-balanced talks which will be broadcasted worldwide and which will probably make history.”

Much of the talk will be presented in dense jargon, accessible only to particle physicists. If you need help unpacking it all, check out the physicists liveblogging the event, including Aidan Randle-Conde from Southern Methodist University and Sean Carroll from Caltech. Randle-Conde will also be giving a post-talk wrap-up with physicist Stephen Sekula. And if you just need a yes or no answer after all this anticipation, check out havewefoundthehiggsyet.com.