Usually the welcome reception of a conference is a fairly low key affair. You register, you get your conference bag, you have a few drinks and nibbles while chatting to other conference participants. Not the ICHEP 2012 welcome reception though. This one included a broadcast of the LHC Higgs Seminar. This meant that people actually arrived before the reception and there was a fairly long line to register (though we didn’t have to wait as long as those at CERN). The main worry about the ICHEP broadcast was the connection to CERN. During the previous Higgs seminar in December, the webcast stopped working half way through. Luckily this time, everything went well, and we were able to listen and cheer at the announcements from CMS and ATLAS of the observation of a Higgs-like particle at 125-126 GeV.
It was a historic moment for particle physics, a triumph for the predictive power of the theory, not possible with without the hard work of many physicists, both on the LHC and the two experiments. Though, as was emphasised, this is only the beginning in Higgs boson studies. We now need to figure out what exactly this excess is… We certainly live in interesting times!