And after a long hiatus . . .

I hadn’t realized just how LONG it’s been since any of us posted in this blog. I blame it on two things: 1) we’re all really busy with the absolute flood of data that poured out of the Large Hadron Collider in 2011 and 2) there were other media opportunities that some of our more active communicators were offered.

Let’s focus on the second one for now. Aidan Randle-Conde was approached in 2011 about becoming a US LHC blogger. His blog is here:

In addition, Aidan has been busy working with CERN Communications during the very exciting twin Higgs seminars at CERN back in December. He produced two videos, one before and one after the event. Here they are:

The big event, as Aidan discusses above, was the pair of seminars from ATLAS and CMS regarding their full 2011 Higgs Boson search results. Assuming that the Higgs behaves as expected in the Standard Model of Particle Physics, it was clear from the beginning that the 5/fb data samples available to both ATLAS and CMS would not be enough to make a discovery. However, such a large sample of data is enough to begin to see promising hints of the Higgs, should it actually exist. This is basically what both experiments reported, and you can listen to the commentary in the second video above for some more information.

In addition, at SMU we met at 7am in Fondren Science Building and connected to the seminar video stream. The stream quality was QUITE poor, so in the end we connected to Aidan’s mobile phone using Skype (he was sitting in the CERN auditorium) and used the video from the stream to see the slides. Afterward, Prof. Stroynowski led a discussion of the results. The event at CERN and the SMU reaction to it was chronicled in an article produced on the SMU Research Blog [1].

Panorama of the SMU Special Higgs Seminar Viewing Party

Panorama of the SMU Special Higgs Seminar Viewing Party

The LHC won’t begin taking new data until March. We expect to at least triple the existing data sample by summer and at least quadruple it by winter. This will be more than enough to make a clear statement about the existence (or not) of the Standard Model Higgs Boson. Meanwhile, we’re not resting; whether the Higgs is there or not, there are other particles in nature that  have mass but which are NOT accommodated by the Standard Model. For instance, the existing evidence for dark matter points toward a massive, non-baryonic form of matter. It must obtain its mass from someplace. If the Higgs mechanism is the means by which particles acquire mass in nature, there must exist other Higgs bosons. I am very interested in seeing if they exist, too.

[1] “SMU physicists at CERN find hints of long sought after Higgs boson — dubbed the fundamental “God” particle”

About Stephen Sekula

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