CERN to present update on the Higgs boson on 4th July at CERN

CERN have issued a press release to announce that an update on the search for the Higgs boson will now be given at CERN on 4th July. This will come before the talks at the ICHEP conference in Melbourne begin. Presentations detailing the individual decay channel searches are scheduled for 7th July at the conference with the combinations detailed in plenary sessions on the 9th, but now it looks like any important news will be delivered before then.

The update is likely to be similar in format to the talks given in December when the spokespersons for ATLAS and CMS delivered there results in detail. On that occasion the CERN director warned that no big discovery was in the offing as press and blog speculation ran rife. This time round no such statements have been made which can only lead to even more intense speculation. Rumours have already been indicating that this years results that will be added to the data from 2011 have been confirming the apparent Higgs signal seen at 125 GeV in the diphoton decay channel. This could increase the level of certainty to the five sigma significance from each experiment as required for an official discovery. Further rumours have even been suggesting that the strength of the signal is more than predicted by the standard model. An announcement of the discovery of a new particle consistent with the standard model Higgs would be the biggest in particle physics for some time, but if it is significantly different from predictions it will have enormous implications for the future direction of the whole field.

A possible reason for conducting the update at CERN is that the director general Rolf Heuer has said that he wants the news of a discovery to take place at the centre in front of the dedicated staff who have worked so hard for this result. The need is made stronger because Australia is not a member state of CERN so to announce the discovery there would be inconvenient politics. Originally an announcement was scheduled a few days ago for the 6th July (You may have seen it added on our blogs calendar) but this has bow been brought forward. Presumably this is to avoid the conflict with talks that would be going on in Australia at that time.

The update will be webcast but from previous experience of these events the video stream is likely to be overloaded and very difficult to watch.

17 Responses to CERN to present update on the Higgs boson on 4th July at CERN

  1. Ervin Goldfain says:

    Perhaps July 4th 2012 will mark a milestone in the history of science and will revive HEP for a long time to come!

  2. Ralph says:

    Supposing that the diphoton signal measured is about twice the SM Higgs prediction, what sort of statistical significance do we expect on rejecting the hypothesis that the actual diphoton rate is the SM Higgs prediction?

    The diphoton channel relies on a relatively low number of events and good energy resolution, which presumably means that it is also quite susceptable to statistical fluctuations at this stage?

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      It depends on how much data they have used. Expected significance for each experiment could be 3 to 3.5 sigma in the diphoton channel so if the signal is twice as strong they will have 6 to 7 sigma significance for the overall Higgs signal and 3 to 3.5 for the BSM signal and that is without combining the two experiments.

      Twice as much may be too optimistic but we will see. It was more like 1.7 times with 2011 data

  3. carla says:

    Phil, I think the real reason for the 4th July announcement is to make an announcement on the results first before you do!

    It would make a lot of us laugh if they also used your applet to combine the results :)

    • Lubos Motl says:

      Dear Carla, I am rather willing to make a bet that during the CERN press conference on July 4th, they won’t show Phil’s excellent applet. -;)

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      To avoid the embarrassment of an unofficial discovery before the official one they either need to delay for more data or they need nature to give them a nice strong signal. It seems they are jumping in early so hopefully it is the latter.

      • Lubos Motl says:

        Oh, I see you have really replaced my avatar by a green environmentalist one. And I thought we were just joking! ;-)

        Yes, it’s more likely that they have enough for a 5-sigma discovery. One of the changes could be that they also have some of the other channels, like WW or bb or whatever has a chance to appear. It could have been an accident in the 2011 data that all those channels except for ZZ and gamma-gamma remained weak.

        There is no reason why one shouldn’t be able to accumulate a 5-sigma evidence for one detector by now.

        Thinking about the parties we wanted to make with a famous astrophysicist etc. But since December 2011, I learned to take the Higgs for granted so my excitement would be kind of fake and I would prefer not to celebrate just a bureaucratic formality – it’s not my style. Well, I will see how we feel on July 4th.

      • Philip Gibbs says:

        It will be good to see Hawking pay out his $100 bet at least.

      • Lubos Motl says:

        Right. John Ramsden will owe me $500. I am curious whether it will be paid.

      • Yes, It could have been an accident in the 2011 data that all those channels remained weak, or it could be not. It is the interesting thing to look at, during the 4th July seminar.

        My thinking is that if it is only an issue of playing with gluon fusion (the top yukawa coupling) and fermiophobic results (zero yukawa couplings for bottom, tau etc) it should still score as “the” Higgs, because the main characteristic is to be involved in electroweak SSB and the mass of W and Z.

  4. Ervin Goldfain says:

    Phil, Lubos:

    Speaking of bets: how about Veltman? Is he going to concede?

  5. Anon says:

    San Francisco Chronicle: James Gillies said the hunt for the presumed Higgs boson is advancing in great secrecy because as researchers pore over the data “it’s not yet clear exactly what they’re seeing in it.”

    hmmmm….maybe BSM. Or maybe SM Higgs and backgrd fluctuations?

  6. wl59 says:

    Probably it’s that the last false positives faded away now, so they can exclude it finally, better than 95% .

  7. PSTJ Editor says:

    PSTJ V3(8): The Eve of Exciting News in Particle Physics

  8. Charbax says:

    Why don’t they simply ask Google to re-broadcast the live stream on YouTube so unlimited numbers of people can tune in live?

  9. rXiv says:

    Interesting blog about Phil Gibbs:

    The Rebel

    Who: Philip Gibbs

    Credentials: Independent physicist in the UK

    Claim to Fame: In order to understand Gibbs, you have to remember that he’s the guy behind a rival site to For the scientific neophyte, arXiv turned 20 years old last August and it’s basically the archive of scientific preprints (drafts of unpublished work) — math, computer science, biology, physics you name it. But there was criticism that arXiv was blacklisting certain users. And that’s where Gibbs comes in. “Called, which is the reverse of arXiv, the rival server — unlike arXiv — places no restrictions on the sorts of papers that can be posted,” explained Physics World in 2009. “This is an experiment to find out what kind of stuff is not managing to get into the arXiv, as well as being a serious archive for people to put their research in,” said Gibbs.


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