The Higgs seminar, by those who were there

If the Higgs boson was treated like a rock star by the international media, take a moment to imagine the ambiance that reigned at CERN - home to the beast... When Rolf Heuer, CERN Director-General, appeared in the first-floor corridor of the Main Building, at 7.15 a.m. on Wednesday 4 July, he was met with applause from a horde of Cernois. In that moment, there was no doubt: the day would be exceptional. And it was. For us at CERN more than any other. The proof? Hear it straight from the horse's mouth...


"One might have thought that being far from the Main Auditorium last Wednesday the atmosphere would be less electrified but actually this was not true: when the seminar started, sacred silence was kept, interrupted only by warm and loud applauses, big smiles, cheerful whistling, hand shaking… one could say there was really ‘something’ in the air. A mixture of scientific enthusiasm, joy, curiosity and big amounts of rocking excitement…

From the back seats of the filtration plant where I rushed after I saw the queue outside the Auditorium, I was able watch almost everyone’s reaction. After 11 years at CERN and having lived through big events in its history, I felt from the beginning there was something very particular about this seminar and we might be about to witness a big event. There were no complaints about the – sometimes unbearable – heat, people were standing stoically and listening, trying to make space for others who came in late, no jostle, no anger, no irritation…"

- an anonymous Cernois


"I was lucky enough to attend the Higgs Seminar last Wednesday.  My friends and I camped out from around 2 a.m., and were quite excited to be able to get in around 7.40 a. m.!"

- Kevin McDermott (PH-AIP-PAP), who blogged about his experience in the queue here


"You bet I’m proud to be at CERN! ;-)

The recent Higgs announcement has once again demonstrated the huge interest from the general public, but also the great challenge we face to communicate our work in an understandable manner. This is the kind of event that gives you the feeling your daily work is really part of the common goal we all share, even if it is only remotely linked to physics."

- François Briard (GS-AIS-HR)


"What a feeling of pride to be part of this human and scientific adventure! At the CERN Medical Service we are proud to be making our own modest contribution to helping the staff meet their objectives and stay in the best of health."

- Dr Eric Reymond (GS-ME)


"Wow, I felt again the full privilege of being part of it. This goes even much beyond the sensational observation of the boson: CERN is the living and lasting example of how mankind's global efforts can cope with the most tremendous challenges by sharing ideas and fostering enthusiasm. Thank you."

- Guido Sterbini (BE-ABP-LIS)


"My contribution to actually discovering the Higgs was precisely zero. Indeed, my understanding of the physics we are describing is sketchy at best. However, I do work here, so that’s got to count for something. Working in Knowledge Transfer means that I get to see the by-products of the huge efforts that go into making the experiments so successful disseminated to the wider world. That is where I see my sense of belonging to the process and the community of thousands, all striving towards the same goals."

- Alexander Brown (FP-KT-IP)