Like a true particle physics fan, before getting up to make a cup of tea this morning, I turned on my computer to watch the live webcast of the press conference at CERN. I am most definitely not an expert in this field, and should probably leave the blogging on this particular subject to those who are, but I couldn’t resist!
The seminar saw the presentation of preliminary results from the ATLAS and CMS experiments regarding their search for the long sought after Higgs boson. CERN have put their press release up here.
In a nutshell, both experiments agreed that there is a new particle, most definitely a boson and it behaves as they predicted the Higgs boson would. Both experiments also agree that it would weigh in at around 125GeV, with a high degree of certainty. The consistency of results between the two experiments shows definite promise.
You could feel the atmosphere at the seminar seeping through the screen at points, especially during the loud and lengthy rounds of applause at the end of both presentations. My favourite moment was when the camera caught Peter Higgs, at the grand age of 83, reaching for a tissue to wipe his eyes. After many speeches and thank-yous Peter manages to say “For me it’s really an incredible thing that it’s happened in my lifetime.”
It is a great achievement for science; a world-wide, long-term collaboration has brought about a great discovery. Now comes the time of exploration, turning the data inside-out and upside-down to find out whether this boson is truly the Higgs everyone is looking for.