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Higgs at Collider exhibition launch

God particle scientist Professor Peter Higgs makes a rare public appearance at London's Science Museum today to celebrate the launch of a new "Collider" exhibition.

The £1 million exhibition is devoted to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the giant atom-smashing machine near Geneva where scientists hunted down the elusive subatomic particle that bears the Edinburgh professor's name.

Prof Higgs predicted the existence of the Higgs boson, which is believed to give other particles mass, in 1964. Because of its fundamental importance it was dubbed the "God particle".

A particle confirmed as being a type of Higgs boson was finally detected at the LHC last year, earning the professor a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

At a preview of the new exhibition, Prof Higgs will take a tour and answer questions from journalists. Later, he will take part in a private discussion about the story of the discovery with an invited audience of schoolchildren.

In the afternoon the museum hosts a sold-out double bill event featuring leading cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking and novelist Ian McEwan.

Prof Hawking will give a talk on his life, fundamental physics, and understanding the universe, while Mr McEwan explores the differences and links between science and art with top theoretical physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed.

The exhibition, which opens to the public on Wednesday, employs an immersive blend of theatre, video and sound art to provide a behind-the-scenes look at the Cern particle physics laboratory in Geneva.

Visitors will be transported to the heart of the LHC and can follow the journey taken by particles as they fly close to the speed of light around the machine's 27 kilometre beam tunnels.

Real LHC artefacts, including the 15-metre long magnets that steer the particle beams, will also be on show.

Alison Boyle, the Science Museum's curator of modern physics, said: "I've been lucky enough to visit Cern and see inside the LHC - it's an unforgettable experience.

"Particle physics is a challenging topic for an exhibition, but it's also a compelling one. We want to give our visitors a tangible sense of the extraordinary ambitions of the LHC and the excitement of working on the project. Collaborating with Cern and our talented creative team, we're really looking forward to recreating this experience for our visitors."

Cern director general Rolf Heuer, who will also attend the preview, said: "I'm very much looking forward to seeing the Science Museum's new LHC exhibition when it opens. I particularly like the fresh, theatrical approach the museum is taking to bringing the drama and excitement of cutting-edge science to the public."


From Belfast Telegraph