The Sciences

4th of July Higgs Update

Cosmic VarianceBy Sean CarrollJun 22, 2012 1:46 PM

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That is to say, CERN is going to share with us what the most recent LHC data are saying about the Higgs (and whatever else might have popped up, I guess) in a seminar on July 4th at CERN itself, just before the ICHEP conference in Melbourne. Excerpt from the press release:

If and when a new particle is discovered, ATLAS and CMS will need time to ascertain whether it is the long sought Higgs boson, the last missing ingredient of the Standard Model of particle physics, or whether it is a more exotic form of the boson that could open the door to new physics. “It’s a bit like spotting a familiar face from afar,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer, “sometimes you need closer inspection to find out whether it’s really your best friend, or actually your best friend’s twin.”

Suggestive. There's been a lot of talking back and forth about the ethics of trafficking in rumors, and I don't mean the jokey kind. Personally I think it's pretty simple: if a collaboration of thousands of physicists wants to keep their results quiet until they are ready to announce them, that's completely their right. I'm not going to pass along anonymous tips -- if the tippers didn't understand that they were doing something wrong, they wouldn't stay anonymous. The rumors aren't part of keeping the public informed; there's plenty of time for that once the actual results are released. Which will happen very soon! Whatever the answers may be, it's a great accomplishment for the LHC folks to have come this far.

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