Champagne corks have been popping at CERN today, with news that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has glimpsed the elusive Higgs boson, or at least something that looks very like it. We’re hoping that one or two of the champagne bottles will find their way into the Science Museum’s collections. Bottles of bubbly might seem a rather strange addition to a museum physics collection, but they’re one way for us to capture news like this morning’s for posterity: ironically, sometimes ephemera are the best way of keeping a long-term material record.
The latest addition to our collections comes courtesy of a press conference run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council in London this morning, simultaneously with CERN. After a scramble for a printer and some hasty autograph-hunting, we now have a copy of the UK’s Higgs press release signed by this morning’s panel: STFC chief John Womersley, and Jim Virdee and Jon Butterworth who spoke on behalf of CMS and ATLAS, the two giant LHC detectors that have seen the Higgs.
The document will find its way into our Archives for safe keeping and might get an outing fairly soon as part of our major new exhibition on the LHC to open in Autumn 2013. And this week, you can keep up to date with the Higgs hunt via our Antenna Science News gallery. There’ll be a special news exhibition on display from tomorrow, and on Friday the Museum’s very own LHC physicist Harry Cliff will be discussing the news and its implications at a lunchtime event.