Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What is the Higgs, and why is tomorrow's announcement important?

Although the title suggests this will be a long, detailed post full of explanations of particle physics, it actually won't. This is partly because I haven't the time or inspiration to write one, but mostly because it has been done much better elsewhere. Instead I'd like to draw your attention to a few excellent background pieces so that you can be well-prepared for what promises to be a very important press conference tomorrow (indeed Peter Woit now suggests that ATLAS and CMS will each present nearly-5-sigma evidence).

The first of these is a new post by Shaun at partner blog The Trenches of Discovery, which provides a nice layman-level overview of why discovering the Higgs would be cool, but theorists hope it isn't just the Higgs. A similar theme was discussed by Jester (Adam Falkowski) at Résonaances. He has also got a series of countdown posts, each explaining some aspect of Higgs physics, but these posts are all at a more technical level than Shaun's. At Cosmic Variance, John Conway has reprised an old Higgs overview post (from 2007) which is again aimed at the non-expert. There are other pieces I won't link to now, because these cover most of the bases for anyone interested.

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