Update 3:35 p.m.: We've found the video, via The Telegraph:
What's one thing CERN scientists can do to pique interest in their maybe-spoiled, already-hotly anticipated Higgs boson announcement tomorrow? Leak a video possibly confirming discovery, then promptly take it away.
"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," writes the news team at Science News. The video, which is now password protected according to Science News, featured John Incandela, spokesman for the CMS experiment at CERN's Large Hardron Collider. We didn't get to see the video, but luckily a few devoted science bloggers did.
"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," said Incandela (as per Science News) "This is the most massive such particle that exists, if we confirm all of this — which I think we will," he adds. While physicist Philip Gibbs reports:
As predicted here he is being careful with his wording to say that they have discovered a new particle consistent with the Higgs boson but further observations are required to know more details. There is no talk of discovery here but he seems to believe that the results might indicate that new particles are within reach of the LHC.
As with any rumors, the reaction of CERN is also of note. Spokeswoman Corinne Prlavaorio told Science News that the video was one of several made to cover different scenarios--sounding not unlike what film companies do when trying to spin away spoilers. "Even we in the press office do not know what they are going to announce tomorrow," she said on July 3. But that isn't good enough for physicists and bloggers.
If throwing out multiple, alternative endings was their intention, why not leave them up? And just the act of taking the video away pumps up its value. David Bradley at the Science Base might have put it best: "If they didn’t want this on the internet, they shouldn’t have put it on the internet. CERN invented the web… so really, they should’ve known that someone would find the page and leak it before the 4th July press conference."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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