The 36th International Conference on High Energy Physics will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, from 4–11 July. 

Melbourne will host physics leaders from around the world, including the directors of the major particle accelerators in Europe, America and Asia.

Director General of CERN, Professor Rolf Heuer says “ICHEP is the most important conference in the particle physics calendar, and it's great that it's happening in Australia for the first time ‐ a sign of that country's growing stature in the field.” 

For any questions relating to the media program, contact Niall Byrne on or 03 9398 1416 or AJ Epstein on

Press briefing details and background information 
All our press briefings are in Plenary 3, at the Melbourne Convention Centre, South Wharf. We are also hosting a media room upstairs for accredited media.

Join the briefings, webcast via CERN, at on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday:
  • In Australia at 8 am AEST and 6 pm AEST (Melbourne time)
  • In America at 6 pm and 4 am on the East Coast
  • In Europe at 8 am and 10 pm UTC
For those of us without a higher degree in theoretical physics, we’ve got a crack team of friendly physicists to answer your questions and help you understand the science.

These press briefings and all of this week’s plenary sessions will be live-streamed at the conference press website if you can’t make it to the Melbourne Convention Centre. There’s no need to register for that – it will be freely available via the conference media website.

High res images online at

Webcasts online at
Issued on behalf of MCVB

The recent, ground-breaking Higgs boson discovery announced in Melbourne at the 36th International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP), has shed positive light on the city’s flourishing business events industry.

ICHEP, which has brought over 800 delegates to the city over an eight-day period and is expected to generate an estimated AUD $8 million in economic impact for the state, is the largest scientific gathering in the high energy physics community and was won after an intensive bidding process, facilitated by MCVB, dating back to 2005.

Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB), Karen Bolinger, said MCVB partnered with the University of Melbourne to bid for the 2012 Conference, with Professor Geoffrey Taylor, past Head of the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne as the representative local host.

“After a number of years of hard work in preparing Melbourne’s bid to bring the event to Victoria, Melbourne was announced as the successful bid city, fending off strong competition from Manchester, at the Philadelphia conference in 2008,” she said.

Although represented by a relatively small community in Australia (nationally the sector is dominated by Melbourne groups), high energy particle physics has always been at the forefront of technological development.

Melbourne University is a research powerhouse in the specialised areas of neurosciences, microbiology, pharmacology, and psychology/psychiatry and physics. The University is recognised as Australia’s leading institute in particle physics (both theoretical and experimental) and the intersection of particle physics with cosmology and high energy astrophysics.

Ms Bolinger said that as Australia’s knowledge, research and innovation capital, Melbourne was the obvious choice for hosting this event.

“MCVB specialises in bidding for major international conferences and conventions from the knowledge sectors.  There is strong competition from other conference cities when it comes to bidding for events of this calibre and a successful bid requires a combination of superior business events infrastructure and an innovative, knowledgeable and well-respected local industry, both areas of which our state excels.

“Over the next two and a half years, Melbourne will host seven of the world’s largest and most prestigious conferences including the World Diabetes Congress in 2013 and the World Congress of Cardiology and the International AIDS Conference in 2014, all of which have been secured by MCVB and are set to create long lasting legacies from almost every perspective.”

Ms Bolinger said there was still limited awareness of the beyond tourism benefits produced as a result of business events.

“Not only do business events generate economic wealth and export orders for the destination, they also: enhance industry sector profiles; encourage change and innovation; spark new research and technology; increase market intelligence; change perceptions of a city, a country or an industry; and assist in job creation.

“It is evident by the worldwide attention given to the Higgs boson breakthrough the significant impact these major events can have on a host city – history will always point to Melbourne as the city where this ground-breaking announcement took place.”

Ms Bolinger added that Melbourne is renowned for a strong culture of innovation through collaboration and it is this approach that continues to assist in winning major bids.

“The Victorian State Government is a strong advocate for the business events industry, facilitating its growth by providing support, and recognising the contribution that conferences make to furthering critical research on a global scale.

“The city’s commitment to attracting international conventions is also demonstrated by its Club Melbourne Ambassador (CMA) Program. This collaborative strategy, supported by the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, MCVB and the State Government of Victoria, brings together proud Melburnians in the fields of medicine, science, business and industry, who are passionate in their advocacy of Melbourne as an innovative ‘thinking’ city and desirable conference destination.”

The CMA program currently boasts 134 world leaders in their respective fields, including ICHEP Organising Committee Chair, Geoffrey Taylor.

“Without the support of local industry, groups and individuals such as our CMAs, we would not be equipped to achieve the level of success we currently do.

“Each year we look forward to welcoming our conference delegates to the city and watching as they showcase Melbourne’s expertise and help promote our wonderfully innovative and forward-thinking city to the world.”


Wednesday 11 July 

 The synchrotron’s intense electron beam contributes to the enhancement of the Large Hadron Collider and the design of future accelerators. The discovery of a Higgs boson-like particle will see the international research effort shift focus to study its unique characteristics - and it is here that Australia’s Synchrotron is playing a collaborative role with CERN.

Australia’s highest energy particle accelerator, which broke the world record for generating the ‘smallest, brightest, most intense electron beam’, is a test bed for the new technologies and techniques needed for the next phase of Higgs boson-related study.

One of CERN’s technology experts, Dr Ralph Steinhagen, has been working with researchers at the Synchrotron in Clayton over the past couple of weeks on studies aimed at increasing the precision of measurements and control of particle beams.

The work will inform the 2013/2014 enhancement of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

“We broke the world record for producing the smallest,  brightest, most intense beam of electrons—a billionth of a millimetre tall,” says Dr Mark Boland, Principal Scientist in Accelerator Physics at the Australian Synchrotron.

“It’s all a matter of control, and we are also working on developing new technology to make the beam as stable as we can.”

That is of interest to CERN, says Steinhagen, because the characteristics of light generated at the Australian Synchrotron are in many ways very similar to the LHC. “But it’s much more accessible,” he says. “So we are trying to pioneer future beam technology in Melbourne.”

Physicists say the recent announcement from CERN, that two independent experiments at the LHC near Geneva had verified the creation of a Higgs-like particle, will usher in decades of research to determine the particle’s characteristics.

Being able to generate a stable and reliable supply of Higgs boson-like particles is vital to this work.

Apart from creating Higgs bosons, the research is important to the development of more intense and compact X-ray beams for synchrotrons.  “These so-called 4th generation sources will allow us to take movies of chemical reactions and the processes of molecular biology,” Boland says.

As part of this research program by the Australian Collaboration for Accelerator Science (ACAS), the CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer and CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci visited the experiments at the Australian Synchrotron light source in Clayton yesterday.

Also today: What’s next for particle physics? IceCube and the CERN Director General closes the conference.

For further information: ·         Dr Ralph Steinhagen, CERN, +61 468 469 120

·         Dr Mark Boland, Principal Scientist, Accelerator Physics, Australian Synchrotron +61 401 994 876 or

Conference media contacts

·         Niall Byrne, 0432 974 400,

·        Caroline Hamilton 0478 402-765,

We’re tweeting on @pressichep, and you can follow the hashtag #ICHEP2012

Photo by Matthew Wootton
Higgsteria has gripped the nation – we’ve seen physics on the front pages of newspapers, on commercial TV and breakie radio. A conversation has continued in the letters pages and online. This weekend, columnists Annabel Crabb at Fairfax and Miranda Devine at News wrote about the Higgs.

But it’s not over yet. Now we’ve found the Higgs boson, what’s next?

The 36th International High Energy Physics conference opened on Wednesday night with the Higgs boson announcement.

On Monday the plenaries kick off with twice daily online press briefings courtesy of CERN. We’ll have more on the Higgs, on plans for the next particle accelerator, neutrinos, supersymmetry, dark energy and more.

At each briefing we’ll give an overview of the day and what’s coming up. It’s a quick way for you to identify the talent you want for the day’s stories.

Join the briefings, webcast via CERN, at 
  • In Australia at 8 am AEST and 6 pm AEST (Melbourne time)
  • In America at 6 pm and 4 am on the East Coast
  • In Europe at 8 am and 10 pm UTC

Professor Rolf Dieter Heuer, Director General of CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research, has received the University of Melbourne’s highest honour, the Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) in recognition of his outstanding international contribution to science, at a special conferring ceremony at the University today.  

Appointed Director General of CERN in 2009, Professor Heuer was given the task of bringing the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) into operation, in its quest to recreate the events at the beginnings of the universe. The international science experiment has since surpassed expectations with the announcement of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson made this week. 

Saturday, 7th July | 12:00 – 13:00 Melbourne time 

The world has changed. We know more. Not just about ourselves. Or our immediate surroundings. Not just about our country, our continent or even our planet. Not just about the solar system or the Milky-Way galaxy in which it resides. We know more about the Universe. About what it is and how it came to be. About why it is the way it is. And about how it will evolve.

Look around you. At the people, the buildings, the cars, the trees, the animals. Look up at the sky. At the air itself. At the clouds, the sun. The stars. Everything is the way it is because of physics. Because of the tiniest building-blocks of the Universe and the way they interact with each other. Because of the Higgs “field” giving mass to some of these building-blocks and not to others. Until 4th July 2012 this field was just a theory. Seeing signs of the Higgs boson means this field is real. We know more. You know more.

Issued on behalf of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

2012 Geneva, 4 July 2012. At a seminar held at CERN today as a curtain raiser to the year’s major particle physics conference, ICHEP2012 in Melbourne, the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented their latest preliminary results in the search fo  r the long sought Higgs particle. Both experiments observe a new particle in the mass region around 125-126 GeV.

The detection of a Higgs boson-like particle represents a major advance in our understanding of the laws which govern the universe, says Professor Geoff Taylor.

“This is a very exciting time for physicists,” says Professor Taylor, who is chair of the 36th International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP 2012) underway in Melbourne.

In a joint seminar today at CERN and the “ICHEP 2012” conference[1] in Melbourne, researchers of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) presented their preliminary results on the search for the standard model (SM) Higgs boson in their data recorded up to June 2012.

CMS observes an excess of events at a mass of approximately 125 GeV[2] with a statistical significance of five standard deviations (5 sigma)[3] above background expectations. The probability of the background alone fluctuating up by this amount or more is about one in three million. The evidence is strongest in the two final states with the best mass resolution: first the two-photon final state and second the final state with two pairs of charged leptons (electrons or muons). We interpret this to be due to the production of a previously unobserved particle with a mass of around 125 GeV.

The CMS data also rule out the existence of the SM Higgs boson in the ranges 110-122.5 GeV and 127-600 GeV with 95% confidence level[4] – lower masses were already excluded by CERN’s LEP collider at the same confidence level.
Within the statistical and systematic uncertainties, results obtained in the various search channels are consistent with the expectations for the SM Higgs boson. However, more data are needed to establish whether this new particle has all the properties of the SM Higgs boson or whether some do not match, implying new physics beyond the standard model.

The LHC continues to deliver new data at an impressive rate. By the end of 2012, CMS hopes to have more than triple its total current data sample. These data will enable CMS to elucidate further the nature of this newly observed particle. They will also allow CMS to extend the reach of their many other searches for new physics.


    Media contacts:

    Media director: 
    Niall Byrne
    +61 (417) 131-977

    Communications and Outreach, ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale Caroline Hamilton
    +61 (478) 402-765    


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