A major HEP conference, ICHEP 2008, is taking place in Philadelphia at the moment, and many of the talks are already available online here. This is mostly a conference devoted to experimental HEP, and the big news is the joint announcement by CDF and D0 that they are just barely able to exclude, at 95% confidence level, the possibility of a Higgs with mass of 170 GeV. This is the first new information about (ignoring neutrinos…) the one remaining parameter of the Standard Model since LEP showed that the Higgs mass can’t be below 115 Gev. For more about this, see Sunday’s ICHEP plenary talk by Matthew Herndon.
Also announced at ICHEP and providing constraints on the possible Higgs mass are new fits using precision electroweak measurements. Tommaso Dorigo has a nice explanation of this story in a new posting here. Don’t miss the comment section, which has a hilarious exchange between Lubos and an anonymous physicist who can’t believe what is going on, asking Tommaso to check IP addresses to see if someone is impersonating Lubos. The point of physics being discussed is an extremely interesting one, but the mode of discussion ensures that enlightenment will not result.
Lyn Evans of the LHC gave a report on its progress. They expect to first try to inject a beam about a month from now, with first collisions and data maybe two months later, at 10 GeV center of mass energy. Evans is guessing that luminosity in 2008 will be about 10 pb-1.
This morning, Joe Polchinski will give the plenary talk on “Recent Progress in Formal Theory”, and Witten gave a public lecture Monday night. Nima Arkani-Hamed was supposed to give a “Concluding Inspirational Talk”, but that appears to have been canceled.
Update: It’s worth noting that the Higgs mass getting excluded is right in the middle of where Alain Connes’s prediction from his NCG model comes in. Connes has a new blog posting about this here, where he admirably notes how discouraging this is for his model. Jacques Distler has a quite good new posting about the NCG model here.
More about this from Gordon Watts here.