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Flip Tanedo | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

“The Night Before Higgsmas”

Visit from the Higgs

by Flip Tanedo (during a long post-dinner research break)

With apologies to Clement Moore, author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” aka “[Twas] The Night Before Christmas”. These verses contain little/no scientific content (no rumors, just rhymes) and are here just for some timely holiday silliness. For those who are confused about what’s going on, see Aidan’s liveblog.


‘Twas the night before Higgsmas, when all through the lab,
not a student was stirring—except some undergrad.
The data were analyzed with lots of great care
in hopes that the Higgs boson soon would be there.

The press corps were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of exclusion plots danced in their heads.
And theorists in the US, Asia, and Europe
dug up the models that they were so sure of.

When out from Geneve there arose such a clatter,
We sprung from our desks to see what was the matter.
Away to the webcast—I must install Flash,
Reloaded the webpage, I hope it didn’t crash.

The introduction recapped the latest CERN run,
and gave the impression of more fun to come.
When, what to my wondering eyes should I see,
but a miniature bump… in Higgs to ZZ?

And with all of the press and media bigwigs
I knew in a moment that it must be the Higgs.
From ATLAS and CMS the results were the same,
and we whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

Now Higgs! Now Englert! Now Guralnik and Hagen!
On Kibble! On Brout! On, Goldstone and Anderson!
To Stockholm in December, the Nobel prize,
But a prize that only three could realize.

We wondered about the “look elsewhere effect,”
But somewhere, someone just won their Higgs bet.
Not so fast, of course, it was only three sigma.
That’s okay—it could be a ‘discovery’ by summer.

Not so fine tuned, in fact still quite natural,
in spite of electroweak precision observables,
at least in the supersymmetric Standard Model.
There’s room for new physics, we can be hopeful!

The Higgs mass? A hint? A whisper, a whim?
Theory papers will fill arXiv up to its brim.
And with a white Santa-like beard, who is this?
Oh my, straight from CERN-TH—it’s really John Ellis!

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples—how merry!
He spoke many great things about supersymmetry.
I tried to refrain myself from asking if he knew
That he was still off by a factor of two.

But I really shouldn’t write that here on this blog
For soon I’ll be applying to be a postdoc.
I digress. The matter we should focus on
is what’s next in the search for the Higgs boson.

It is now up to ATLAS and CMS
To combine their data in a way that makes sense.
In maybe a month, maybe early next year,
We will have new significances to hear.

We gave up our breaks and went straight to our work,
Life as a grad student! But it sure has its perks.
What’s more exciting than the science frontier?
And by reading this blog, you can also be there!

We sprang to our desks, we downed our espressos,
All in the search for what new physics might show.
And John Ellis exclaimed, to the OPERA bambinos,
“Happy Higgsmas to all, and forget those neutrinos”.