What will happen if they don’t announce a strong Sigma on Wednesday? Probably not this, but you never know, editors need headlines.
You might recall we already went through a similar update back in December, but since then twice as much data has been collected (and you know the Higgs is just itching to be unsheathed). I’ll skip any explanation of what the Higgs and Sigma* signify--alright maybe a quickie: The Higgs field gives things mass so all particles aren’t just zipping around at the speed of light (except, well, light), and increasing level of sigma (1-5) indicates the decreasing chance of discovery results being a fluke. So one thing to look for during the conference on Wed. will be that sigma number. And forehead veins.
The amount of information they sift through every second during collisions at the LHC indicated in the comic is correct by the way. One million gigabytes, aka a petabyte, although of course, storing that much information would be impossible, so they have methods of weeding out the information that is irrelevant and keeping only that which matters. Which ends up boiling down to a CD’s** worth every couple seconds. Still a lot. Respect.
So should we know better by now than to speculate and hype before a press conference, or should we just ‘meh’ until an announcement is made? Personally I enjoy a good hype cycle. It builds tension, and tension is the meat of any good story. So in that spirit I built you all a clock counting down to the press conference.
It’s at 9am CEST which means 3am EST and can be watched here. So get excited and spread the hype because if they announce the Higgs Boson on the 4th of July, under international law that technically makes it an American discovery!
This post was brought to you by the Higgs FAQ. Explaining why there’s no real reason for the aggro- tension as depicted, and why if the Higgs Boson fails to show up, the search for the Higgs field will still be on!
Side note: ‘The God Particle’ is a very unfortunate nickname for the Higgs chosen purely for political and advertisement purposes.*
**CD is still a used technology right? I’m not too late with that one? –I can’t keep up anymore with these kids and their fancy flash-drives and pokemans.