Scientists Behind the Higgs Boson Discovery
July 4, 2012 --
This morning, physicists from the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland, announced something as profound as it was historic. Scientists, engineers and journalists lined up for hours ahead of the meeting, expecting big news. At the CERN auditorium, the atmosphere was palpable before an obviously emotional and excited Joe Incandela, CMS lead scientist, took to the stage. He had something very important to say...
"New Boson" "We have observed a new boson," proclaimed Joe Incandela. "This is very preliminary result, but it's very strong." ATLAS lead scientist Fabiola Gianotti followed Incandela's presentation and went into great detail about the detection of a boson -- a subatomic exchange particle -- that is "consistent" with the Higgs boson, to a very high degree of statistical certainty. The CMS and ATLAS data appear to agree. This new boson has the predicted mass of a Higgs boson. Also, it is the most massive boson ever discovered, weighing in at over 130 times the mass of a proton. Although there is a very small chance that the results gathered by LHC physicists are caused by an unforeseen renegade particle, the likelihood is vanishingly small -- for all intents and purposes, the Higgs boson has been found, four years after the LHC began its quest.
With a huge round of applause when he arrived at the auditorium, Prof. Peter Higgs -- one of the theoretical physicists who constructed the theoretical framework around his namesake particle in the 1960s -- sat and watched Incandela and Gianotti describe their detections of a Higgs boson-like particle. "This is an important result and should earn Peter Higgs the Nobel Prize," physicist Stephen Hawking said in response to the discovery.
When Theory Meets Experiment Peter Higgs, a theoretical physicist who constructed the Higgs boson hypothesis, congratulates Gianotti, an experimental physicist who has been working tirelessly with her team to collect the data to ultimately prove Higgs' work.
Fist Pumping and Rapturous Applause On a number of occasions the auditorium erupted with standing ovations, an indicator that this isn't just a victory for physics; it's a very human quest for knowledge and discovery. In this photo, CERN scientific director Lyn Evans turns to the crowds, with a celebratory fist in the air, as he is applauded for his work overseeing the science behind the LHC.
Press Conference Once the presentations were over, the key players, including CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer (center), fielded questions from the media.
Thumbs Up Joe Incandela, CMS lead scientist, gives a very positive thumbs up in the wake of the Higgs boson announcement. MORE HIGGS BOSON NEWS:
ANALYSIS: Particle 'Consistent' With Higgs Boson Discovered
PHOTOS: When the World Went Higgs Boson Crazy
NEWS: Stephen Hawking Loses Higgs Boson Bet
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