SMU postdoctoral researcher Aidan Randle-Conde, SMU Department of Physics, was quoted by the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. Randle-Conde was quoted for his commentary on the search for the fundamental particle the Higgs boson and the media frenzy sparked in the days leading up to CERN’s much-anticipated July 4 announcement of a new particle discovery.
Telegraph science reporter Anjana Ahuja quoted in the July 3 article “Cern announcement: after 50 years, the Higgs hunt could be over.”
Randle-Conde is part of the team of SMU researchers at Switzerland-based CERN, the largest high-energy physics experiment in the world. Physicists have been seeking the elusive fundamental particle the Higgs boson since it was theorized in the 1960s. The so-called “God” particle is believed to play a fundamental role in solving the important mystery of how matter acquires mass.
Thousands of scientists from around the world seek evidence of the Higgs particle through experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The researchers analyze a flood of electronic data streaming from the breakup of speeding protons colliding in the massive particle accelerator.
By Anjana Ahuja
Tomorrow could see one of the most anticipated moments in the history of modern science. In a packed auditorium, scientists at Cern, the European nuclear research institute which operates the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), will reveal the latest findings in their hunt for the Higgs boson.
If they really have found the Higgs, as rumours suggest, this would be a triumph for physics – not merely by providing a finishing touch to the Standard Model, which is the dominant theory of how the universe works at the subatomic level, but by solving the long-standing mystery of why objects have mass, and why some have more than others.
During the decades of Higgs hunting, there have been many false dawns. What makes tomorrow’s announcement different is primarily its timing. The seminar coincides with the opening of the 36th International Conference on High Energy Physics in Melbourne. This features updated results from two separate experiments at the LHC, which, in December, were showing tantalising glimpses of a Higgs-like particle. The Daily Telegraph has learnt that four out of the five surviving theorists involved in predicting the Higgs boson have chosen to attend the announcement, three in Geneva and one at an event in Westminster.[…] […] However, Dr Aidan Randle-Conde, a British physicist working on Atlas, argues that rushing things, while good for PR, makes for bad science: “This is the worst thing we could do… The Higgs field was postulated nearly 50 years ago, the LHC was proposed 30 years ago … and we’ve been taking data for about 18 months. We should resist the temptation to get an answer now.”
Another Cern scientist told me that he had seen “plenty of smiles on the faces of people who really need to sleep. People are very excited about what will happen in the Cern auditorium”. Some scientists have started saying, half-seriously, that they’ll need to camp outside the night before, to guarantee a seat. Significantly, Peter Higgs, the octogenarian University of Edinburgh physicist after whom the boson is named, is flying into Geneva. He had stated a wish to avoid publicity until the Higgs was found. The two theorists with whom Kibble worked, Gerald Guralnik and Carl Hagen, will also be present, the first time either has gone to the Swiss city for an update on LHC.
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