Dec 13 2011

CERN live: Christmas in Geneva

And now I have to leave this exciting story and sign in to help people fix their damn computers over the phone … if anyone is seasonally inclined, contributions to my Paypal account, [email protected], might someday help free me of this dreary ball and chain.

BTW, we’re tweeting up a storm on this, I’m at SAndrewDKos. @CERN: Bottom line from #ATLAS: 2.3 sigma excess for a #Higgs mass at 126 GeV. More checks will come with 2012 data.

Via the Bad Astronomer: For clarity, 2.6 sigma = 99% confidence, 2.3 = 97%. Not bad, but not enough to make solid claims. It’ll be another year or so before we know for sure.

The most important insight into our entire cosmos is unfolding in the December afternoon, European time, and all my shitty cable news channels are babbling about is Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney vying to out know-nothing each other to win know-nothing votes. Churchill was right about democracy …

Word is the Higgs has been glimpsed … So far, eggheads are talking, the webcast is streaming. Still photos being posted here. The Guardian is live blogging updating text here:

2.19pm: From @stevengoldfarb, who is a physicist, outreach, education and communication co-ordinator on Atlas Experiment at Cern: “Looks like our colleagues from #CMS see similar excesses near 125 GeV. 2012 will be fun! #ATLAS #LHC #CERN #Higgs”

2.15pm: CMS has released an image of the results of a proton-proton collision (main pic above) in which you can see 4 high energy electrons (green lines and red towers). This shows the characteristics expected from the decay of a Higgs boson.

1.49pm: Fabiola Gianotti has finished her presentation. So far,we know that Atlas seems to have found evidence for a bump around 126GeV for something that looks like the Higgs.
Next up is Guido Tonelli, spokesperson for Cern’s other main detector, the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS). As @iansample says, “So. What we’re looking for now is whether CMS detector has seen Higgs-like signals around the same mass (126GeV).”
1.43pm: From Cern: “#ATLAS sees a small excess at a Higgs mass of 126 GeV coming from 3 channels. Local significance: 3.6 sigma but only 2.4 sigma globally”
That’s not enough for a “discovery” (which techically needs 5 sigma) but it is very interesting evidence for the Higgs.
Also: “#ATLAS excludes a #Higgs mass between 131 and 453 GeV at 95% confidence level at #CERN Higgs seminar”
1.33pm: Watching Fabiola’s presentation, particle physicist @TaraShears has tweeted: “So this channel excludes 114-115, and 135-136 GeV. #higgsupdate”
It’s worth following Tara (and our own @jonmbutterworth) if you want real-time updates on Twitter. Jon’s latest: “126 GeV… (probably) #higgsupdate”
Also from Jon: “That 126 GeV was where the ATLAS excess Fabiola just showed is. Not conclusive, but suggestive. ZZ and CMS to come…”


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  1. 1

    The BBC link goes to a static news story not to a live blog. Maybe the blog died too.

    Or of course the Higgs is gradually eliminating all witnesses :)

  2. 2
    Stephen "DarkSyde" Andrew

    Turns out the Higgs is pretty gangsta ;) I fixed it, btw i’m stealing your witness quip and tweeting it a smy own!

  3. 3

    Press release has been put out – http://press.web.cern.ch/press/pressreleases/Releases2011/PR25.11E.html

    Not too technical and not too long.

  4. 4

    Proud to have my words stolen, Andrew :) Sincerest form of flattery and all that.

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