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CERN calls press conference for 4 July…

By Hamish Johnston

We have heard from a reliable source that CERN will be holding a press conference on 4 July. This is the first day of the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Melbourne, Australia, where physicists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are expected to unveil the latest results in their search for the Higgs boson.

Earlier this week the Physics World editorial team played out a few scenarios regarding how CERN would deal with the possibly that data presented in Melbourne would tip 2011’s preliminary sighting of the Higgs to “discovery status”.

A big problem with an “official announcement” in Australia is that the country is a “non-member” of CERN – and therefore it seems very unlikely that the discovery would be unveiled in a country that hasn’t paid a significant chunk of the LHC’s price tag. Also, CERN’s PR guru James Gillies is on the record as saying that the Higgs announcement will be made in Geneva.

The only option, it seemed, was for CERN to organize a press conference in Geneva before or during the Melbourne conference to announce the discovery – and it looks like that’s what it has done.

But this introduces another problem. The press conference is scheduled for 09.00 Geneva time, presumably because this is 17.00 Melbourne time. However, this is 02.00 at Fermilab in Chicago – which is keen to emphasize the huge role that lab has played in the hunt for the Higgs. Oh, and 4 July is a national holiday in the US. Apparently, the Americans are not pleased!

Well, that’s enough speculation…I’ve got to get my ticket to Geneva booked!

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