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CERN detects new boson and uses Comic Sans to tell the world

Science provides the answers, Microsoft supplies the comedy
Wed Jul 04 2012, 15:07
Cern Control Centre building

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has announced that it has observed a never before detected particle in the 125GeV to 126GeV mass region with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

CERN had earlier said that it would issue an update on its search for the Higgs Boson at the International Conference on High Energy Physics, and while some fantasised that researchers would accurately pin-point the Higgs Boson, the reality was likely to be a bit more complicated. What was announced actually surpassed initial expectations, with CERN researchers from both the ATLAS and CMS experiments announcing, with five sigma certainty, that they had detected a yet undiscovered particle in the 125GeV to 126GeV mass region, adding that the particle is the heaviest boson ever detected.

CERN researchers didn't label the particle as the Higgs Boson and stressed that these are still preliminary results.

Fabiola Gianotti speaking on behalf of the ATLAS experiment said, "We observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of five sigma, in the mass region around 126 GeV. The outstanding performance of the LHC and ATLAS and the huge efforts of many people have brought us to this exciting stage," adding that "a little more time" is needed before the results can be published.

His counterpart on the rival CMS experiment, Joe Incandela said, "The results are preliminary but the five sigma signal at around 125 GeV we're seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it's the heaviest boson ever found. The implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks."

CERN said that the results presented were based on data collected in 2011 from the Large Hadron Collider and that the 2012 data is still undergoing analysis.

CERN's presentation became big news for its use of the oft-lamented MS Comic Sans font, which is probably the biggest contribution Microsoft has made to the project, since both CERN and Fermilab develop and use Scientific Linux.

CERN is expected to publish its analysis of the data at the end of July, but it said that more data will be required before a "more complete picture" of today's announcement can be presented. µ


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