Russell Brown on the Higgs

Media commentator Russell Brown reflects on the CERN Higgs announcement on his Hard News blog on the Public Address network.

An excerpt (read in full here):

Higgs Live!

I watched CERN’s webcast of the Higgs Boson announcement last night – not because I claimed to understand the detail of a presentation to what was, after all, an expert conference, but because it’s fun to watch history being made. I watched the webcast of the Large Hadron Collider’s first experiment for the same reason.

But also, it was interesting in a media sense. Everybody knew that CERN had a Higgs announcement of some kind and had been managing it towards the big reveal. How would they do that? How would it look, sound and feel? Set alongside the truth and trivia of Twitter, it turned out to be quite fun.

The tweets associated with various hashtags flashed by. There were physicists watching in pubs, lay people wondering what it was about and the likes of Professor Brian Cox and our own Science Media Centre doing their best to explain what was important in what was being said.

“5 standard deviations #higgsboson #moneyquote,” tweeted Auckland University head of physics Richard Easther as James Incandela spoke. I got that part. It meant “we are really quite certain about this”.

And then Richard said:

The #higgsboson is big news – on a par with Rutherford’s discovery of the nucleus, or JJ Thomson finding the electron.

I got that too.

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