how the Higgs particle was found

The-Large-Hadron-Collider-012Graham Farmelo at The Guardian:

To find the Higgs – or to rule out its existence – was one of the aims of the Large Hadron Collider, a huge machine that accelerates protons (sub-nuclear particles) to within a squillionth of the speed of light before smashing them together (hence the book's title). If the particle existed, it should have quickly fallen apart into other particles in ways that experimenters could study. This is much easier said than done: as Butterworth explains, it was always going to be extremely difficult to pin down the particle, as the evidence was expected to be largely – but not completely – obscured by huge numbers of tracks due to other subatomic processes. Several months after the collider was switched on, there was no clear sign of the particle, leading some theoreticians to get cold feet and even to doubt its existence.

Butterworth tells the story of how the particle was eventually tracked down, making clear the extent of the challenge. He is an engaging guide, generous to all his colleagues, especially in the media – “We should be more forgiving of some of the excitable headlines” – but is sometimes a tad harsh on theoreticians.

more here.