Updates tagged: “Higgs boson”
The latest update of the ATLAS searches for the Standard Model Higgs boson was presented at a CERN seminar on December 13, 2011. As stated in the CERN press release, the new ATLAS and CMS results are "sufficient to make significant progress in the search for the Higgs boson, but not enough to make any conclusive statement on the existence or non-existence of the elusive Higgs. Tantalising hints have been seen by both experiments in the same mass region, but these are not yet strong enough to claim a discovery."
The Higgs Boson is the only missing piece in the Standard Model of particle physics and its search is undoubtedly one of the most important searches in the history of physics. The Higgs boson is the generator of all elementary particle masses in nature. The mass of the Higgs boson itself is unknown, and before the LHC it was searched for in previous experiments but not found. LHC experiments have produced excellent results since the start of the data taking. In ATLAS and CMS a discussion was initiated about a year ago to combine the Higgs search results from both experiments. The framework and the procedure to combine results had to be defined and agreed upon before the combined analysis could proceed.
Physicists are confident they will soon be able to answer a fundamental question at the LHC: how do particles acquire mass? The simplest answer, the one given in the Standard Model of the fundamental particles, is that a single particle, the Higgs boson, endows the other particles and itself with mass. The Higgs boson does this by means of the "Higgs mechanism", which involves breaking a symmetry that would leave all Standard Model particles massless if it were not broken. However the Higgs boson is not the only way the Higgs mechanism might work.
Today we witnessed a landmark LHC first: At the HCP conference in Paris, friendly rivals, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations, came together to present a joint result! This ATLAS-CMS combined Higgs search was motivated by the fact that pooling the dataset increases our chances of excluding or finding the Higgs boson over those of a single experiment. This is the first example of this kind of scientific collaboration at the LHC, and the success of the whole endeavor hinged on a whole host of thorny issues being tackled…
Perhaps the most anticipated result of the LHC involves the search for the Higgs boson, the only particle predicted by the Standard Model (SM) that has not yet been seen by experiments. The Higgs boson helps explain how elementary particles acquire mass. If the SM Higgs boson exists it will be produced at the LHC and swiftly decay into various known and well-studied particles, with the dominant decay products depending on the actual Higgs mass. ATLAS and CMS search for the SM Higgs boson using a range of decay products: two photons; two tau leptons; two b quarks; two W bosons; and two Z bosons. Analysing all these channels ensures that the search is sensitive to observing the Higgs irrespective of its mass.
The Lepton Photon 2011 conference began on Monday in Mumbai, India. Over 400 physicists from all over the world (including me!) gathered to hear the latest results. One result in particular -- news on the search for the Higgs boson -- was foremost in people's minds, and rather than prolong the suspense further, the talks on the Higgs were scheduled right after the welcoming speeches.
The ATLAS experiment has continued to record data and to refine the analyses in the search for the Higgs boson and many other exciting signatures of new physics. The latest results are being presented at the Lepton Photon 2011 symposium in Mumbai, India, 22-27 August 2011. Since the previous meeting (the European Physical Society — EPS, Grenoble, France, 21-27 July 2011), the LHC has almost doubled the data provided to ATLAS.
Well it's been a few days since the Higgs presentations at EPS, and I'm just recovering from the lack of sleep. It's ironic that I have a newborn daughter, and my sleep deprivation is due to work.