CMS spokesman: ‘We’ve observed a new particle’

CERN video confirms existence of a heavy boson, probably Higgs

Updated 1 p.m. EDT July 3

Joe Incandela, spokesman for the CMS experiment at CERN, confirms in a video posted online that the European physics laboratory has discovered a new particle. © 2012 CERN

A video that was briefly made public on the CERN website July 3 confirms that the European physics lab has discovered a new particle — most likely the long-sought Higgs boson.

“We’ve observed a new particle … we have quite strong evidence that there’s something there” with a mass roughly 130 times the mass of the proton, Joe Incandela, spokesman for the CMS experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, says in the video, which now resides in a password-protected part of the lab’s website. “This is the most massive such particle that exists, if we confirm all of this — which I think we will.”

CERN officials have scheduled a major announcement on July 4 that is increasingly expected to declare the search successful.

CERN spokeswoman Corinne Pralavorio says the video was one of several made to cover different possible scenarios of a Higgs announcement and was not supposed to have been posted online. “Even we in the press office do not know what they are going to announce tomorrow,” she said on July 3.

“It may in the end be one of the biggest discoveries, or observations, of any new phenomenon that we’ve had in our field in the last 30 or 40 years,” Incandela says in the video. “When we say we’ve observed a particle, it means we’ve just got enough data to say that it’s definitely there and it’s very unlikely to go away,” Incandela says. “We then need more data to start to ascertain its characteristics, what are its properties.”

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