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CERN to Give Update on Higgs Search as Curtain Raiser to ICHEP Conference

CERN1 will hold a scientific seminar at 9:00CEST on 4 July to deliver the latest update in the search for the Higgs boson.

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CERN will hold a scientific seminar at 9:00CEST on 4 July to deliver the latest update in the search for the Higgs boson. At this seminar, coming on the eve of this year’s major particle physics conference, ICHEP, in Melbourne, the ATLAS and CMS experiments will deliver the preliminary results of their 2012 data analysis.

“Data taking for ICHEP concluded on Monday 18 June after a very successful first period of LHC running in 2012,” said CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology, Steve Myers. “I’m very much looking forward to seeing what the data reveals.”

The 2012 LHC run schedule was designed to deliver the maximum possible quantity of data to the experiments before the ICHEP conference, and with more data delivered between April and June 2012 than in the whole 2011 run, the strategy has been a success.

Proton-proton collision in the CMS experiment producing four high-energy muons (red lines). The event shows characteristics expected from the decay of a Higgs boson but it is also consistent with background Standard Model physics processes (Image: CMS). CERN

Furthermore, the experiments have been refining their analysis techniques to improve their efficiency in picking out Higgs-like events from the millions of collisions occurring every second. This means that their sensitivity to new phenomena has significantly increased for both years’ data sets. The crunching of all this data has been done by the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid, which has exceeded its design specifications to handle the unprecedented volume of data and computing.

“We now have more than double the data we had last year,” said CERN Director for Research and Computing, Sergio Bertolucci, “that should be enough to see whether the trends we were seeing in the 2011 data are still there, or whether they’ve gone away. It’s a very exciting time.”

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.”

The Standard Model gives an extraordinarily precise picture of the matter that makes up all the visible universe, and the forces that govern its behaviour, but there are good reasons to believe that this is not the end of the story. For example, we know from observation that the visible universe is just 4% of what seems to be out there.

Physicists from around the world gathering in Melbourne for the ICHEP conference will be able to join the seminar via a live two-way link. The seminar will be followed by a press conference at CERN. It will be available via webcast at http://webcast.cern.ch/, accompanied by plain language interpretations from physicists accessible in blogs and chats from the webcast site.