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The Higgs Boson is pretty big news. It is now a cultural reference, popping up in the strangest places, including as the title of an EP by the York-based band RSJ.

Most famous (maybe) is Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have a song on their new album called “The Higgs Boson Blues”.

These are pictures from the Higgs Boson seminar that was held last July. There were 2 overflow rooms, which were just as packed. People had turned up hours in advance to get a seat at what promised to be a historical event. There was even a live stream organised with a major particle physics meeting in Melbourne, who were 10 hours ahead (last picture above).


All images are copyright/courtesy of CERN.

Where in the world?

So who builds a massive particle smasher, like the LHC in their backyard? CERN does!

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CERN’s first Director-General, laying CERN’s foundation stone on the 10 June 1955.

CERN* is the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Founded in 1954 it is located on the French/Swiss border near Geneva. With 20 member states (including the UK) its main function is to provide the infrastructure needed for research into the interactions between the fundamental particles that make up our universe. Part of this infrastructure is the LHC, the latest in a long line of particle accelerators that have been built at CERN. Some of the older ones still exist and actually are part of the system that takes the contents of a bottle of hydrogen and turns it in to particles travelling close to the speed of light in the LHC.

The entire campus is a massive scientific playground, with an interest in many different areas from basic blue skies research to computer science.

 *The abbreviation comes from CERN’s original name the European Council for Nuclear Research which in French is Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire.

Prof Peter Higgs giving his talk “My Life As A Boson”.

Back in 2010 Prof. Higgs was invited to give a talk at Kings College London during a day long event they were hosting on the Higgs Boson. However he could not make the event, the upside was he recorded his popular talk “My Life As A Boson” for the meeting and it’s now available for all to see on the web (another spinout from the LHC and CERN actually).

You can find the slides Prof. Higgs used and a transcript of the talk on the University of Edinburgh’s web pages dedicated to Prof. Higgs and the eponymous boson.

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