Sven Kreiss ←Articles

A Nobel Prize Party: Cheese, Bubbles, and a Boson - The New Yorker

A funny and only approximately accurate article about how we celebrated the Nobel Prize for Peter Higgs and François Englert at NYU in the New Yorker:

New Yorker article about the party at the NYU Physics Department

Sven Kreiss, Cranmer’s graduate student, was the first to see the statistical evidence needed to claim the discovery in, June, 2012. He told me in a strong German accent that they don’t host a lot of parties in the physics lounge. “We are very serious here,” he said.

Kreiss has a little goatee and was wearing a black T-shirt with an unzipped grey sweatshirt. He remained stoic as he recalled the moment, at CERN, the research center in Geneva, when he saw their research cross the finish line, confirming the particle’s existence. Kreiss was working on ATLAS (A Toroidal L.H.C. Apparatus), one of seven experiments being conducted at the Large Hadron Collider, and was on one of two detector teams going after the Higgs boson. “It’s a graph,” Kreiss said of what he saw at the time. “It has some lines. The line, it goes down like this”—he swooped his hand down—“and if the line goes down far enough, then you say you’ve discovered a new particle.” He shrugged.


Kreiss didn’t immediately think that the finding was Nobel-worthy. “It was combined with a lot of exhaustion,” he said. “You’re tired, you think about this, you go out and come back in. Actually, I had a good night’s sleep for the first time in a while. And then, in the morning, I came back and e-mailed this to my professor. It was his birthday, so I said, ‘Happy birthday.’ ” That was June 25, 2012. Cranmer can remember how excited he was to receive the note. “I wrote back, ‘Holy shit,’ ” he said. “But I misspelled ‘holy.’ Too many ‘L’s.”

The full story is here:

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