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Expert alert: The “God Particle” announcement

Physicists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who have collaborated in the hunt for the Higgs boson particle will be available to comment on the results set to be announced at CERN laboratory in Switzerland early July 4.

The Higgs boson is the central part of a hypothesis that could peel away the very fabric of the universe and influence the understanding of all matter. It could explain why some particles have mass and others do not.

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider has been generating high-energy collisions of protons in its search for the final piece of the theoretical framework, which is known as the Standard Model of particles and forces. Without the Higgs boson, however, the Standard Model can’t explain how most of these particles acquire their mass, a key ingredient in the formation of the universe.

For the past several years, nearly 1,700 scientists from around the world have been narrowing the search for the Higgs boson with the help of the LHC. About 15 UNL researchers and graduate students have been involved in this and other Higgs-hunting projects.

Starting at 2 a.m. CDT July 4, scientists will give statements at CERN about the latest development. After those conclude, UNL physicists will be available to comment:

— Gregory Snow, professor of physics and astronomy and associate dean for research in UNL’s College of Arts and Sciences. The founding member of UNL’s experimental high-energy physics group, Snow has aided in the search for the Higgs boson since the early 1990s. He has collaborated on UNL’s development of Large Hadron Collider detectors used in the Higgs search. Snow, who is currently in Lincoln, can be reached via email at gsnow1@unl.edu or by request on July 4. Contact Kelly Bartling, manager of news, (402) 366-4271 or Steve Smith, national news editor, at (402) 217-2774 after 7 a.m. CDT on July 4. Here’s a video featuring Snow from August 2011 about UNL’s role in the experiment.

– Aaron Dominguez, associate professor of physics and astronomy. Dominguez is a member of UNL’s experimental high-energy physics team, which played an important role in building the LHC detectors and analyzing the data that comes from the experiments. He can be reached at aarond@unl.edu or via telephone by request after 7 a.m. CDT on July 4. Here’s a 2011 video of Dominguez discussing his work with the CMS experiment and the hunt for the Higgs boson. Dominguez is at CERN with fellow team member Ilya Kravchenko of UNL.

– Ken Bloom, associate professor of physics and astronomy. Bloom is at the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Melbourne, Australia, where CERN researchers also plan to share their latest findings. Follow his live-blogging the ICHEP seminar on the Higgs boson developments at the physics blog Quantum Diaries at http://www.quantumdiaries.org.

– Dan Claes, chairman of the department of physics and astronomy. Claes, a member of the high-energy physics team, has collaborated in research and data analysis in the search for the Higgs boson in both in the U.S. and at CERN. He is in Lincoln on July 4 and can be reached by phone via request or via email at dclaes@unl.edu.

More on UNL’s experimental high-energy physics team can be found here.

Updated 7:17 a.m.: Here is UNL’s official news release regarding the university’s involvement in the search for the Higgs boson particle.

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