The year of the Higgs

Things are looking good at Cern. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is back in business and for the first time, there is a real sense that major discoveries are within reach.

On the Higgs row and Nobel reform

“The goddess of learning is fabled to have sprung full-grown from the brain of Zeus, but it is seldom that a scientific conception is born in its final form, or owns a single parent.” George Paget Thomson, June 1938.

Speaking in his Nobel lecture, G. P. Thomson (son of J.J.) went on to lay out the history of physics behind the electron, but his comment could easily refer to the Higgs mechanism, which has a muddled parentage at best.

What's next for the Higgs hunters?

And so it goes on. The International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) in Paris came and went, but  the Higgs boson is still at large. As expected, rumours that the world's most elusive particle had shown up at the Tevatron collider at Fermilab near Chicago failed to materialise into anything more concrete. Nonetheless, there was good news.

Waiting for the Godot particle

To get to Fermilab from downtown Chicago, you find Lake Michigan and drive in the opposite direction. After about an hour on the freeway, the city shrinks to nothing in the rear-view mirror and you pick up an access road that turns into the 7,000 acre campus where the laboratory is based.



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Jan 2013               Jan 2013


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