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CERN spokesman James Gillies said Monday, however, that he would be “very cautious” about unofficial combinations of ATLAS and CMS data. “Combining the data from two experiments is a complex task, which is why it takes time, and why no combination will be presented on Wednesday,” he told AP.

But if the calculations are indeed correct, said John Guinon, a longtime physics professor at the University of California at Davis and author of the book “The Higgs Hunter’s Guide,” then it is fair to say that “in some sense we have reached the mountaintop.”

Sean M. Carroll, a California Institute of Technology physicist flying to Geneva for the July 4th announcement, said that if both ATLAS and CMS have independently reached these high thresholds on the Higgs boson, then “only the most curmudgeonly will not believe that they have found it.”


Borenstein reported from Washington.