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Fireworks on the 4th of July

On July 4, 2012, the leaders of the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large hadron Collider were presenting their latest results on the search for the Higgs boson. Rumors were flying that they were going to report more than search results, but what was it?

Indeed, when the talks were presented, both experiments reported that they had evidence for a "Higgs-like" boson with a mass around 125 GeV. There was definitely a particle there, and if it wasn't the Higgs it was a very good mimic.

The evidence was far from weak; they were five sigma results, meaning less than one chance in a million of the data being only a statistical fluctuation.

Images of resulting "events" following collision of two protons in the ATLAS and CMS detectors. -- © CERN