This morning I woke up rather early in order to go to the CERN campus to see the announcement of the new particle for myself. First of all:
When Joe Incandela, the spokeperson for CMS, showed this plot everybody remained silent. He actually forgot to continue his speech for a few moments, sooo happy about being able to show such an insanely cool graph.
Obviously this is a great scientific discovery. Anyhow, it was not a surprise for most physicists, hence I will leave the discussion of the physics out of the way and focus on today’s event itself. (Just to be clear, this is indeed a new particle, however it is not know for sure whether it is the SM Higgs (I will be so happy if it is not (yes, click this link)))
Getting back to the event itself, the atmosphere was indeed great. The conference hall was too small for all the public to fit in, thus, in order to ensure that everybody is happy, CERN had the talks streamed to all meeting rooms on the campus. Regardless, there was a number of enthusiasts that slept in front of the doors to guarantee themselves a place in the main hall. Good for them as it seems that by already 5:30 am there were more than 150 people waiting in front of the hall (the seminar started at 9 o’clock).
After the presentations, the scientists that predicted the particle some 50 years ago were given the opportunity to say a few words. Gerald Guralnik’s comment was very appropriate:
It is wonderful to be at a physics event where there is applause like there is at at football game.
Peter Higgs had tears in his eyes when he said:
It is an incredible thing that it has happened in my lifetime.
In the spirit of these words, we should not forget all the people that were not as lucky and were not able to see the product of their work.
The CERN Director General Rolf Heuer closed the talks by saying:
As a laymen I would now say I think we have it. Do you agree?
And was greeted by ovations from the hall (and all the meeting rooms on campus). This person moderated the talks extremely well. Indeed, it was a pleasure to watch him and the two collaborations’ spokepeople answering the journalists’ questions during the press conference that followed.
Lastly, a few places to check for more information (there is a number of articles on each blog, so check the prev/next buttons):