Media Advisory: May 3 public talk by Fabiola Gianotti, co-discoverer of Higgs boson

ATTENTION: Reporters & editors covering science

WHAT: Physicist Fabiola Gianotti, co-discoverer of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, will deliver a free public lecture, “The Higgs Boson and Our Life.” The talk is part of a three-day celebration of the work of University of California, Berkeley, physicist Bruno Zumino, who is one of the founders of the theory of supersymmetry that has emerged as a possible explanation for a variety of mysterious properties of fundamental particles seen in nature.

WHEN: Friday, May 3, 5-6 p.m.

WHERE: Chevron Auditorium, International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave, Berkeley (see map)

Physicist Fabiola Gianotti

Physicist Fabiola Gianotti next to the ATLAS experiment at CERN. Claudia Marcelloni photo, courtesy of CERN (2011).

WHO: Fabiola Gianotti, a research physicist with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and former spokesperson for the ATLAS experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

DETAILS: As spokesperson for the ATLAS collaboration at CERN, Gianotti announced to the world on July 4, 2012, that her team had found “clear signs of a new particle” – what has since then been hailed as the long-sought Higgs boson. That discovery, confirmed by the competing CMS experiment, was hailed around the world as a triumph of international cooperation to tackle a fundamental research question: What gives mass to all the matter we see around us?

In the talk, organized by UC Berkeley’s physics department, Gianotti will describe the unprecedented instruments and challenges that led to the Higgs boson discovery, its meaning and relevance, and its implications for day-to-day life.

The ATLAS experiment is now looking for many other new phenomena, including new particles predicted by supersymmetry, a theory co-invented by Bruno Zumino, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of physics, and his late collaborator Julius Wess in 1974 when they both worked at CERN. The theory may be able to explain the relatively light masses of fundamental particles and the relations among the strengths of the forces they exert on each other.

Gianotti and other world-renowned physicists, including Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg of the University of Texas, Austin, will discuss the Higgs boson and supersymmetry at a three-day “BrunoFest,” May 2-4, in honor of Zumino.

Gianotti, who received her PhD from the University of Milan in 1989, worked on searches for supersymmetry before joining CERN in 1996 as a research physicist. She has been involved in the ATLAS experiment since its inception in 1990, working on detector development, design and construction, and became physics coordinator in 1999, deputy spokesperson in 2004 and spokesperson from March 2009 to March 2013. Since the discovery of Higgs boson, Gianotti has shared the Milner Foundation’s Fundamental Physics Prize with her collaborators for their work on the Higgs. She was elected to the Italian Academy of Sciences (“Accademia dei Lincei”) and was named runner-up to Time magazine’s person of the year in 2012.

Note: Reporters interested in attending the talk or the BrunoFest, which is not open to the public, can contact Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley Media Relations, to reserve a seat.