Our Accelerating Future
A galactic center in infra red, an amazing sight from our amazing universe.
1:00 a.m July 4, 2012 Denver, Colorado, USA
As I write this personally amazing article, I am watching a gathering of some of the greatest minds in the world. CERN is currently having a video stream to the search for the Higgs boson particle, and it is live. I wish I could actually hear the conversation, mostly I have only heard the internationally recognized bonjour handily given from one physicist to another. CERN is located in France and Switzerland, but I understand french is spoken a lot of the time. I see glimpses of Melbourne as well, but of course, CERN’s main stage is given the most airtime. ICHER Melbourne is also on the video simulcast, so it is information released to both. I see nothing of austerity, instead, almost everyone is in a simple shirt, dress shirt with a tie, without a tie, polo’s, t-shirts, and there is one rather energetic white-haired man with a probably very important equation I can’t read in white on a black t-shirt, he looks dynamic and happy. Some people are even watching the live stream I am watching, and wave at the cam as it passes around the auditorium.
I like seeing the faces, the hair, the whole pensive energy that is going around the place. All ages are present, all sexes, and all nationalities are shown as well. There is a lot of happy chatter, and every now and again there is a volume test that lets me hear what it sounds like inside. It reminds me of when I was a kid, and the hall or auditorium would fill up for a choir or band performance, not the shrieks and yells of children, but the loud and constant murmuring of adults who were doing the special thing, right before something they wanted to remember would occur. I recognize various important faces from my research into CERN’s website and public presentations. Currently everyone is applauding three important scientists who just arrived. People are taking their seats, and it is apparent something is about to start.
I must admit, I love watching this pregame show, this is a moment for history, good or neutral, bad or impending, something true and real is about to happen. Mics are handed out, assistants running and ducking and walking fast to get to their spots. Sound guys are spot on, and mic checks are done, here we go!
There are two talks, one is solely presentation, the second will be Q and A. It is the first high energy physics meeting done on two continents. The status of the SM Higgs search is the first talk. 175 slides are prepared, but to keep the time down, we see about 100 slides in total. Probably one of my favorite slides is the party that the CMS researchers had last night, with 300-400 researchers and scientists present. Everyone has worked really hard, lots of sleepless nights for a lot of people, including the speaker. Another piece of information I gleaned and understood is that the LHC went to 8TeV this year. Before this presentation, he thought important to include the idea that the Standard Model could be abandoned, which means a few theorists probably grumbled a bit. There was much pre-talk about how the CMS is the main detector, a 66 million channel pixel detector. He discussed the current operational status is at 100%, with a +/- 0.2% resolution. There are 400 million events per month, creating a huge amount of statistical and multivariant data. Essentially, he goes on about how efficient and time-saving the whole process has become, as well as how accurate.
After going on for a good bit about how the stats that are used, and how they look for the Higgs, he shows the famous slide of the deviation. If you have been following the whole search for the Higgs boson, you probably have seen this slow angular curve with a bump in the middle of it. It is not something that can make much impact, unless you know how long and how hard we have searched for that bump. I almost cry, the slide made him pause as well, it clearly shows the Higgs as an existent signal, and it really means, although not perfect at this point, that we have the leash on the dog. He tears up, and thanks a man named Steve for the last month of running, after announcing a standard of 5 deviations to much applause. It is statistical result he reminds us constantly, and the multivariant data should be released over the next few weeks or months. He states at the end that they have indeed found a new boson, which is most probably the Higgs boson.
He gives acclaim to the theorists, all the groups from CMS groups, and everyone else involved in LHC. 3300 scientists have been involved, and the member states of CERN. Amazing, and satisfying. It is 2 a.m. Denver time, in the US, and I have just got the results of one of the greatest researches and voyages. It is preliminary, but it is factual, researched and verified. CERN does not let information loose lightly.
I have to pause and let the specialists discuss and debate, Q and A each other, for although I know the basics, I am just a layman. Right about now, I am proud to be human, as we discover and think and find ever more about our universe. I wait for my lovely Queen to message me, and to tell her what has happened. I smoke a single cigarette, and revel in my time on earth, as we move ever farther and further across the reaches of space and time, with our knowledge.
Notes for your research, discover one of the most amazing things in the world, the LHC :