Rumors are flying, ABC News reports, that scientists who operate the Large Hadron Collider will meet next week to discuss an "update" on the search for the Higgs boson, a particle that is part of the same field that gives mass matter. Even the attribution of the rumors (they aren't the first that the Higgs boson has been discovered) is deliciously nerdy.
According to PhysicsWorld.com, CERN's Scientific Policy Committee will be meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 13) to discuss, amongst other things, an update on the search for the Higgs boson. Teams from the LHC's ATLAS and CMS experiments will be in attendance.
Interestingly, as noted by the Guardian.co.uk's science correspondent Ian Sample, the head scientists of the two groups will be there to give the Higgs update. "That in itself is telling – usually more junior researchers present updates on the search for the missing particle," Sample pointed out in his Dec. 6 article.
The physics world is fired up about a suggestive meeting agenda.
The discovery would be a major breakthrough, though it wouldn't even be called a "discovery" without more concrete tests. The folks at CERN, which runs the Collider, have shifted into expectation management mode:
In an internal email, Rolf Heuer, director-general of CERN, attempted to manage the spiraling rumors:
"These results will be based on the analysis of considerably more data than those presented at the Summer conferences, sufficient to make significant progress in the search for the Higgs boson, but not enough to make any conclusive statement on the existence or non-existence of the Higgs."
So, though exciting, the possible announcement on Tuesday will allude to the fact CERN physicists are onto something, rather than any concrete evidence for the Higgs.