Alice Bean
Physics and Astronomy

Media advisory: KU physicists with CERN available to comment on Higgs boson news

Tue, 07/03/2012

WHO: Alice Bean, professor of physics and astronomy, +41 77 464 1104)
Graham Wilson, associate professor of physics and astronomy, 785-550-0613

WHAT: Historic progress in the hunt for the Higgs boson depends in part on work from 29 physicists from the University of Kansas.

Highly anticipated results to be announced Wednesday, July 4, at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, based on data from the Compact Muon Solenoid — a colossal detector that KU researchers helped to design and operate.

WHEN: CERN will have a scientific seminar in Europe at 2 a.m. Central Daylight Time on Wednesday, July 4, to deliver the latest update in the search for the Higgs boson.

Alice Bean: "It is very exciting to be looking into the incredible data now available which can answer whether there is a Higgs boson, which is a necessary component of the Standard Model of Particle Physics. One of the most intoxicating aspects is working together in a big group to study complicated processes using well-defined scientific methods. Theorists have predicted a model for particle physics that tries to explain nature by seeking to find symmetries and generalizations. As we are humans, when we search, we have to be careful not to bias our results. The analysis uses a 'blinding' technique whereby you study all aspects of how your analysis works on calibrated and simulated signals before you look at the specific data for the Higgs search and understand them well. There are several different analysis channels, and it was tremendously exciting when the collaboration had the 'unblinding' session to see what nature really presented, as I want to know the answer. As there could be statistical fluctuations, the CMS collaboration has been very busy trying to understand what the data now says, which will be presented on July 4. Nature is very rich and hard to describe with theories, so we are humbled as we seek to interpret what we see. As one of our graduate students put it, will July 4 be 'Higgsdependence day?'"


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