It’s Higgs week – and the world’s scientists are looking to Melbourne

High Energy Physics Conference, Media bulletins

Have we found the Higgs boson?

Find out if we have, and why it matters, this Wednesday at 6 pm in a joint press conference in Melbourne and Geneva.

There’s been international speculation about the result including articles in the New York Times, Guardian, SMH, Age, Fin Review, Herald Sun and others. And Australian scientists from Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide have played a role.

But no one knows the result until the black box is opened and the data from two huge experiments at the Large Hadron Collider are combined.

The $10 billion LHC is buried under the Swiss-French border. There scientists have been searching for a hypothetical subatomic particle, known as the Higgs boson, that is needed to complete the Standard Model of our Universe.

The timing of the announcement is:

  • At 11 am we’ll hold a live and online background briefing with the Australian Science Media Centre.
  • At 5 pm a joint scientific seminar will be held between Geneva and Melbourne which you can attend in Melbourne or watch online.
  • In the course of that lecture, informed bloggers will start to interpret the information
  • At 6 pm we’ll hold a joint press conference between Geneva and Melbourne and CERN will distribute its media release. There will be no embargoed distribution. Everyone has to wait until 6 pm.
  • As soon as practical after that the AusSMC will release reaction comments.
  • At 8.30 am Thursday morning we’ll hold a follow-up media briefing with scientists from Australia, CERN and Fermilab for further reaction.
  • Then the High Energy Physics Conference moves on to other things – neutrinos, super symmetry, telescopes made of ice and much more.

All sessions will be in Plenary 3 at the Melbourne Convention Centre at South Wharf and the media is welcome.

Journalists in Melbourne will have the opportunity to ask questions of scientists at CERN in Geneva and in Melbourne, and journalists elsewhere will be able to watch the webcast via the conference press website:

And we’ll have resources and people on hand to help you interpret the significance of the announcement.
There’s also lots of HD footage and photos available from CERN and mountains of background.

Here’s more information.

Wednesday 4 July – where and when can you hear about the Higgs?

Wed 4 July 11 am – AusSMC round-up on the search for the Higgs boson, briefing at the Melbourne Convention Centre, South Wharf, Melbourne, room number TBC.

Speakers from CERN, Fermilab and the ARC Centre of Excellence in High Energy Physics.

Later that day at 5pm CERN will announce their latest Higgs boson results in a joint seminar in Melbourne and Geneva, followed by a press conference.

This briefing will provide the background to the announcement. What is the Higgs boson? Why are we spending billions of dollars to find it? What’s Australia’s contribution? What are the possible announcements and what would they mean?

Wed 4 July 5 pm – scientific seminar, via two-way link with CERN, Plenary 3, Melbourne Convention Centre, South Wharf.

CERN will deliver the latest update in the search for the Higgs boson. Scientists from ATLAS and CMS, the two main experiments at the LHC, will deliver the preliminary results of their 2012 data analysis.

Physicists from around the world gathering in Melbourne for the ICHEP conference will be able to join the seminar via a live two-way link.

Please note the CERN media release will be available at 6 pm.

Wed 4 July 6 pm – press conference, via two-way link with CERN, Plenary 3, Melbourne Convention Centre, South Wharf

Scientists from CERN will be available for questions from journalists, via the two-way link and on the ground in Melbourne. We’ll have plain language interpretations of the results from physicists available to help you understand their significance.

Thursday 5 July 8 am – media briefing – reaction and conference overview

More at

Media contacts: Niall Byrne,, +61 (417) 131-977

AJ Epstein,, +61 (433) 339-141.

What’s happening the rest of the week?


We’ll have reaction to the Higgs boson data from CERN and Fermilab. What do the results mean? What are the next steps? Scientists will meet in sessions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to compare results.

But the Higgs boson isn’t the only interesting particle. There is a whole ecosystem of subatomic particles whose properties we’re just beginning to understand. To find them, scientists are recreating the Big Bang inside the LHC, smashing lead ions together to make Quark-Gluon Plasma – the primordial soup of the universe.

We’ve got serious talent: the directors of CERN and Fermilab, and Australian leaders in particle physics.

And we’ve got some fun people: like twin brothers who swore they’d both become particle physicists after a trip to CERN as kids; and “Evans the Atom”, the Welsh scientist who flipped the switch on the Large Hadron Collider back in 2008.


High energy physics isn’t just about underground atom-smashers. We can also look to space for clues about the fundamental particles which make up the universe by studying cosmic rays, neutrinos and dark matter and dark energy.

Particle physics also demands some unusual telescopes, and neutrino observatories are among the strangest: IceCube at the South Pole; ANTARES under the Mediterranean Sea; and ICARUS in Italian mountain caves.

Over the weekend

The next generation of particle accelerators are already being planned. The International Linear Collider will be able to search with more precision for the Higgs boson and other particles. Japan, Germany, Russia and America are vying to host it. Meanwhile, rival project the Compact Linear Collider is being planned at CERN.

And Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web at CERN in the 80s, and high energy physicists continue to push the limits of computing technology. Melbourne is a tier 2 hub of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid, which allows physicists to share information and spread the computing burden.

Where do I sign up?

Media registration for the conference is open already. Sign up for a media pass at

During the conference, we’ll host a media room upstairs and hold media briefings first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon in the plenary hall at the Melbourne Convention Centre.

For those of us without a higher degree in theoretical physics, we’ll have a crack team of friendly physicists with big brains and quick twitter fingers to answer your questions and help you understand the science.

The conference media website – – will have: photos and videos of the conference: abstracts and program timetables; background information on the key themes; and copies of any press releases and briefing materials we put out.

We’ll also be live-streaming all of our press briefings and some of the conference sessions if you can’t make it to the Melbourne Convention Centre. There’s no need to register for that – it will be freely available via the conference media website.

If you’d like to be included kept in the loop leading up to the conference and you’re not already subscribed to our bulletin, drop me an email on and we’ll add you.

We’re tweeting about the conference on @pressichep, and you can follow the hashtag #ICHEP2012.