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Higgs discovery helps make sense of matter

Long-sought boson completes standard model of physics

5:02pm, December 13, 2012


It’s hard enough to muster a standing-room-only crowd for a physics talk, let alone an overnight queue. But on the night of July 3, scientists sacrificed sleep to line up outside the main auditorium at CERN, the particle physics laboratory near Geneva. Their goal: get a seat to hear Joe Incandela. It wasn’t the laconic, gray-suited scientist they had lined up for, though. Incandela, a particle physicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was expected to be the first to unveil the biggest physics news in years.

At 9 o’clock the next morning, with the auditorium packed, Incandela launched into a flood of charts and graphs. Blips in the data represented what happened when proton beams slammed into one another in CERN’s

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