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First hints of the Higgs boson?

16 December 2011

Physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider have received an early Christmas present.

CMS
Physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider have received an early Christmas present.Using apparatus partly designed in Bristol, the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) collaboration has presented the first tentative evidence of the Higgs boson. The discovery of this new particle has been described as the holy grail of particle physics, and would confirm our understanding of the fundamental laws of nature.

The Large Hadron Collider is the world’s largest scientific instrument, and is sited at CERN, Geneva. It collides bunches of protons 40 million times per second, and with the highest energies yet achieved. CMS is one of two giant experiments which identify new particles produced in the collisions, and seeks to answer basic questions about matter, space and time.

The University of Bristol's Particle Physics group has been working since 1993 to construct and operate the CMS experiment. Dr Dave Newbold said "The LHC physics programme will continue for at least fifteen years, and the Bristol team are already involved in the design upgraded detectors to be used from 2017. The field of elementary particle physics is entering one of the most exciting phases in its history, with many long-standing questions due to be answered."