"In Search of the Higgs boson"

By UM Alumni Association

"In Search of the Higgs boson"

By UM Alumni Association
The University of Miami Alumni Association and The Museum at Prairiefire will host an exclusive exhibition of alumnus Xavier Cortada’s artwork.

The UM Alumni Association and Noreen and Darren Dupriest, B.B.A. ’91, invite you to an evening of art and science on Wednesday, September 12th from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

The exhibit, “In Search of the Higgs boson,” is by world renowned artist, three-time UM alumnus, and Alumni Board member, Xavier Cortada, A.B. ’86, M.P.A. ’91, J.D. ’91 at the Museum at Prairiefire in Kansas City.

About the Show

On September 13th, world-renowned artist Xavier Cortada will open an exhibition of his famed banners, which depict the five experiments used to make the Nobel prize-winning discovery of the Higgs boson particle. Cortada’s exhibition will open at the Museum at Prairiefire’s Sprint Gallery at 10 a.m. September 13th and remain on display through the end of year.

Nicknamed “the God particle,” the Higgs boson imbues all other particles with mass. Its discovery in mid-2012, half a century after it was first hypothesized, culminated the work of 182 universities and institutes in 42 countries and helped confirm the Standard Model of Physics. Identifying the Higgs required the most complex machine ever built, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Cortada’s five original banners, created digitally, are permanently installed at CERN, the world’s largest particle physics research center, in Geneva, Switzerland. They hang below ground, directly above the LHC where the Higgs boson particle was found. The prints that will be on display at the Museum at Prairiefire help connect visitors to the place and time of the particle’s discovery.

Working with Cortada, the Museum at Prairiefire is adding scientific content to the banner exhibition and developing an exhibit that will travel to public venues in other cities. The exhibition represents the Museum’s recent foray into creating its own content. Development of other traveling exhibitions are in the works, as well.

“Science is my muse,” Cortada said. “The detection of the Higgs boson was intricate and multilayered, and so are the artworks I created. Stained glass references the LHC as a modern-day cathedral that helps us understand the universe and shape our new world view."

The oil painting technique honors those who came before us, the repetition of motifs across the five works celebrates internationalism and rendering the work as ‘banners’ marks this as a monumental event.

“Most importantly, the background for the banners honors the scientific collaboration. It is composed of words from the pages of 383 joint publications and the names of more than 4,000 scientists, engineers and technicians. With this piece, I wanted to create art from the very words, charts, graphs and ideas of this coalition of thinkers. It is my hope these banners will inspire future generations of physicists to continue to move humanity forward.” 

Read the full press release issued by Museum at Prairefire and RSVP for the event.

For additional information about the gallery, the public may call (913) 333-3500 or visit the Museum’s website at