Newswise — November 8, 2017 (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) – How have you benefited from the discovery of the Higgs boson? In more ways than you might guess.

In a live webcast talk, physicist Pauline Gagnon will discuss the many ways that “useless” discoveries – those fundamental physics breakthroughs without immediate practical applications – have changed our lives. In the process, she’ll also examine the many improbable achievements that led to the Higgs boson discovery, from massive collaborations to intricate and expensive experimental technologies.

The talk, titled “Improbable feats and useless discoveries,” is part of the Perimeter Institute Public Lecture Series. The talk will be webcast live on and via partner organizations on Wednesday November 8 at 7PM ET.

Now retired from active research, Gagnon searched for dark matter as a Senior Research Scientist at Indiana University working at CERN. She is now dedicated to inspiring other curious minds of all ages to ponder the kinds of big questions that fascinate her. Gagnon has delivered nearly 100 presentations to audiences in nine countries on three continents, and is the author of a popular science book, Who Cares about Particle Physics? Making Sense of the Higgs Boson, the Large Hadron Collider and CERN.

Following the talk, Gagnon will answer questions from the online and in-house audience – including questions submitted prior to and during the talk via Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtag #piLIVE). Questions are welcomed from everyone – aspiring scientific explorers, school classes, physics buffs, and general math and science enthusiasts.

View past PI Public Lectures and events, and find further details about PI’s research, training, and outreach activities at



Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement.