American scientists, including many affiliated with the University of California, played a significant role in advancing the theory and in discovering the particle that proves the existence of the Higgs field, the Higgs boson.
In the 1960s, Higgs and Englert, along with other theorists, including Robert Brout, Tom Kibble and Americans Carl Hagen and Gerald Guralnik, published papers introducing key concepts in the theory of the Higgs field.
In 2012, scientists on the international ATLAS and CMS experiments, performed at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN laboratory in Europe, confirmed this theory when they announced the discovery of the Higgs boson.
University of California researchers are among the nearly 2,000 physicists from U.S. institutions — including 89 universities and seven Department of Energy laboratories — who participate in the ATLAS and CMS experiments, making up about 23 percent of the ATLAS collaboration and 33 percent of CMS at the time of the Higgs discovery.UC Santa Barbara professor of physics Joseph Incandela was the first U.S. scientist elected to lead the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. Last year, he and ATLAS experiment head Fabiola Gianotti made the historic announcement of the discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson.
"We were here waiting for the announcement in the five-story atrium of the famous ‘Building 40' of CERN where many of the physicists from ATLAS and CMS have their offices," Incandela said this morning. "There were several postponements, but then the time finally ticked down and the announcement was made. When they mentioned François Englert's name the whole place erupted in applause and shouts. The same was repeated when we heard ‘Peter Higgs' called out. We listened quietly to the speech of the committee and the talk explaining the physics but then everyone just wanted to celebrate. We popped champagne bottles and drank toasts and everyone congratulated everyone. I can safely say that this was a very happy day for the LHC program."